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  3. Tuesday, May 06 2014, 09:45 AM
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As Derek Miers wrote in this BPM forum:
Optimizing for the end-to-end is usually more expensive and often takes longer.
So with the speed of business today, does it still make sense to design processes end-to-end?
Theo Priestley Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
This is interesting because Gartner is pushing "Big Change", the opposite of what their kindred opposition is saying above.
In my experience Big Bang projects rarely succeed, they become unmanageably complex, requirements change constantly, the original goal is often forgotten as time passes, and the longer it drags on the more chance there is of a lack of momentum or consistency in resources to get to the finish line.

Even something that sounds simple like "streamline for cost efficiency" becomes clouded the more people have a vested interest and end to end processes tend to touch many users, owners and departments.

Start small, drop in, scale out.
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Peter Johnston Accepted Answer
Until you know the ends, you don't know where in the middle you fit. Or whether you should really be in there at all.

I watched the film Unknown yesterday. Asked his technique, the interrogator said "I keep asking questions. The people who are lying eventually change their story. The ones telling the truth can't change theirs."

Companies love to create tribes. Us and them. And within them, people create their own truth. The way we do things. You only expose this as wrong if you allow people to see it isn't a universal truth.

At Gluu.biz we are experimenting with an even bigger end-to-end. A process-based collaborative cloud based platform which allows people to include suppliers, freelancers, consultants, sales partners and even clients as stakeholders and inspiration to their process design. Collaboration helps everyone to understand the constraints and opportunities, exposes the slow, expensive and convoluted ways and drives both a better process and better understanding if anything goes wrong.

But I understand the other side of this question too. Too many people create one massive process which is unwieldy to work on, especially if you only collaborate in meetings. Too many process tools are linear and do not allow sub-processes to be created separately then clipped into the big picture when they are ready. It is a hangover from BigIT when the bigger the project, the more everyone made.

An artist draws a sketch. Puts a grid over it. Then draws each square, from the sketch, at the larger scale. That's the way to do big projects - a sub-process at a time, from the end-to-end sketch.
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Keith Swenson Accepted Answer
"Think Global, Act Local"

Your analysis of the situation should include as much of the picture as possible; end-to-end as we say.

Your improvement project should be focused on specific parts. Derek is right, big-bang projects are wasteful and expensive.

While keeping change and improvement focused, don't fall into the trap of optimizing locally. You should only consider how your local change is effecting the end-to-end process. If the customer experience is not being improved in any measurable way, don't make the change.
References
  1. http://social-biz.org/
Comment
I agree, as well, that big projects are "wasteful and expensive" to which I would add can often become self-licking ice cream cones (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-licking_ice_cream_cone), a term that is familiar in the federal government space (especially in the military). I think this is often because the goals to reach and the metrics for measuring progress are defined too big, which permit failure to be built in.

I would expand on the "think globally, act locally" aphorism. The risk of being too focused local goals is that these may be local optimums not global ones, while the risk of being too focused on global perspectives is that you may sacrifice valid gains that are local in vain pursuit of the bigger gains that are global. It is a balance. Think of it as a journey of linear programming. Start the journey with the appropriate parameters.

There is, however, a bigger problem with this end-to-end, which I'll get to in a different post.
  1. Lloyd Dugan
  2. 2 years ago
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Patrick Lujan Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
Only if the juice is worth the squeeze.
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Lloyd Dugan Accepted Answer
In some sense, most important business processes can be considered end-to-end, in that they are cross-functional and inter/intra-organizational as they execute operational behaviors that transform input(s) into output(s) and realize some kind of value(s) along the way. However, in practice, end-to-end processes are often understood as value streams or operational perspectives of capabilities, which, in my opinion, cloud the thinking of what to address in the process space and of how to go about fixing things. Or, the end-to-end are overly large expressions of such behaviors, which become wall-sized diagrams that have little explanatory power even if they are correct.

I would rather see the process, and its abstraction of the process model, be understood as expressions of operational behaviors that are not too big nor too small (i.e., they are in the Goldilocks zone). These can be mapped to other architectural concepts, such as value streams and capabilities, without having to force fit these things into a process form (with many of the semantics of the process modeling language being ignored or broken just so that it can be shown as a process model). Better heat maps can be constructed from such an approach, providing more targeted points of attack and more realizable but meaningful goals to achieve.

In the end, the "big project" should be thought of as a table top puzzle exercise. If success is defined as the picture on the box cover, then good luck with that approach and sustaining interest in such an outcome. On the other hand, if success is defined as finding the corner pieces, similarly shaped pieces, same-colored pieces, etc., then local progress accumulates to being global process pretty cleanly.
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Max J. Pucher Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
If the end-to-end process is enforced as a rigid process flow? Absolutely NOT. Trying to keep it in sync with the internal and external changes will be prohibitively expensive and difficult. TRUE: Optimizing for the end-to-end is usually more expensive and takes longer.

Is the end-to-end process composed of goal-oriented and adaptive segments? Then each segment is no more complex than a standalone one and different variants for different parts of the organisation can seamlessly interact.
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David Chassels Accepted Answer
Certainly should be capable of delivering ”end to end” Indeed I see important that the BPM Practice should be the driver to orchestrate information as required from any source and any good BPM Platform must be capable of delivering this. Whether you use for “end to end” depends upon needs.

So now to “cost” which has been raised here and as indicated in the forum on “demise of inside out”. First we are talking about projects that support people so by definition should not be “big” and thinking “inside out” puts “legacy silos” in their place as the “slave” to users. So with “agents” in the BPM software as described in the recent forum on agents then add the “almost 100% “zero code”, another topic debated, to build the people and systems orchestrator processes then such frightening big cost projects will become history.

In fact I believe this front end new build will be significantly cheaper than “messing around” to try and “fix” expensive legacy. Indeed it will be start of a 3 to 5 year program to retire old legacy as the one version of the operational truth is stored in the new “adaptive” BPM solutions which will readily support change as the business requires. As for estimates of cost to build our experience would be the number of UIs required in the process becomes the number of man days to build and end to end application might to longer if say a complex configurator in a CRM requiring “intelligence” or even shorter if simple such as a holiday application.

As a senior executive in a big consulting firm visualised it as wrapping a flexible green field around the brown field of legacy; but that “orchestration” is vital. Just picked up this interesting article in IT Business Edge http://linkis.com/shar.es/3ICWE on the subject of orchestration; common sense suggest that BPM has important role in this? Frankly without it being part of a BPM Platform “end to end” may be difficult and expensive as suggested?
Comment
One of the great things about BPM is that it can be wrapped round the legacy, and then the legacy surgically removed once people no longer depend on it (or think they do). Resistance to replacing one with another often holds up change.

But that shouldn't stop you creating the burning platform. Old Big IT systems are strangling so many companies.
  1. Peter Johnston
  2. 2 years ago
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E Scott Menter Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
The perfect is the enemy of the damned well good enough, as they say. An end-to-end process is a great goal, as long as you don't think you're getting there in one step. This is actually the essential beauty of BPM: unlike many other enterprise software solutions, BPM can be deployed tactically. A bite here, a bite there, and one day you wake up to say...

http://www.bplogix.com/images/icon-x-medium.png Scott
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  1. more than a month ago
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I like the previous comment “This is actually the essential beauty of BPM: unlike many other enterprise software solutions, BPM can be deployed tactically.” And I would like to re-phrase it a bit. Although it is completely true from the IT perspective, it may give a wrong impression from the business perspective. As an enterprise is a system of processes thus BPM (a trio of a discipline, architecture/practices and BPMS COTS products) is, by definition, strategic.

The essential beauty of BPM is that (unlike many other enterprise-wise software initiatives) BPM can improve the enterprise INCREMENTALLY with the pace of the business and in accordance with the business priorities.
• It is not mandatory to model ALL business processes up-front.
• Doing end-to-end (E2E) process does not imply one huge project – just proper governance (sorry, Theo).
• It is possible to start small and scale up (thank you, Theo).
• The next “place” to improve can be determined by the business.
• Each incremental improvement may combine business improvements and technological improvements.

Often, end-to-end business processes can NOT be done as a “normal” business process. It is actually, a group of processes which are coordinated by other than “classic” template techniques (e.g. event-based technique). To add this coordination technique with current BPMs, it is necessary to go to enterprise architecture level. This make E2E project difficult for “classic” BPM experts (as rules of the game are different – see http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.no/2014/03/enterprise-as-system-of-processes.html ).

Doing E2E business process implies: a) doing the overall architecture (give it to a proper entart) and b) doing several mini-projects (give them to “classic” BPMers).

With a proper governance, mini-projects can be done in parallel then the whole implementation can be shorter and smoother.

Thanks,
AS
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Anatoly Belaychuk Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
In addition to the rightful comments above, there is also a pure technical reason to think end-to-end: if you approach a process with a limited scope in mind then the process design would be bad and will require expensive rework rather soon. I've seen such attempts many times: BPMN diagrams with messages coming from nowhere, "processes" that are really subprocesess etc.

Another important aspect is choosing the right level of details. If we aim to cover a real-world process both end-to-end and top-to-bottom then it'd be a big bang project indeed. Better yet is to outline the end-to-end by top level subprocesses initially, then range subprocesses by priority and discover them one after another.
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Bogdan Nafornita Accepted Answer
It's okay to optimize locally but only if you work with an end-to-end understanding of your optimization effort.

Example: you may optimize your invoice approval process but it is an illusion if you don't also take into consideration that the invoice is just a subsequent status of the order. So you may be missing a key quality gateway of the P2P process (3-way matching) by ignoring end-to-end design.

I agree with the initial quote (end-to-end implementation costs more and takes longer), but frankly end-to-end design is part of proper design thinking. Yes, okay, you deploy BPM projects tactically, which is dribbling your project (ball) around organizational resistance and politics, but you should never lose sight of the goalpost.

End-to-end understanding and design is free and is a must. End-to-end implementation is a question of RoI (not necessarily in financial terms).
Managing Founder, profluo.com
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Jose Camacho Accepted Answer
The E2E concept is part of the definition of the business process, from the request of a customer (internal or external) until their total satisfaction.

Another distinctive thing is the optimization process (governance) of business processes, and in this perspective, I also share the view that we should start small and gradually progress to global optimization, while never losing sight of the whole process E2E .

Moreover, the scope of E2E process itself may vary depending on the external business cycles, and outputs of internal monitoring process, that can indicates the need of less or greater business control. I almost dare to say that during periods of economic greater expansion, the E2E processes tend to be shorter, whereas in more recessive periods tend to be larger, as obliges a greater control.
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