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  1. Peter Schooff
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  3. Wednesday, September 03 2014, 09:47 AM
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It is often said that people are one of the key reasons a BPM project fails. So in your experience, what's the best way to manage employee resistance to BPM?
George Chast Accepted Answer
Simple! Include them! Whether you mean IT employees or Business folks, there is resistance to a new way of doing things. Contrary to most folks first thoughts, I do not believe it is fear of new ways or losing their job, I see that people naturally want to achieve their objectives and while they know they can doing it the old way, they are not sure they can be successful for the business the new way. This equally applies to IT folks who are used to coding and to business folks used to papers, folders & emails.

People want to be a part of expressing the areas of improvement in the current methods.
They want to be part of evaluating the alternatives.
They want to be a part of the adoption from the start.
And, they certainly want to be a part of improving things!

Most BPM methodologies include an agile approach to development, but how many include both groups from selection?
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  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 1
Max J. Pucher Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
If you encounter employee restistance then your project is already up on the wrong foot. If you deliver a solution that truly empowers people and simplifies their life without turning them into BPM- fools-with-tools then there won't be any resistance. If users can create their proceesses and adapt them easily to reach the well-defined goals, what would they resist against?
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  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 2
Tim Bryce Accepted Answer
Somehow Voltaire comes to mind:

"It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new ones."

- Machiavelli, "The Prince" (1513)

People naturally fear change. Therefore it is a matter of overcoming this fear whether by education, participation, but if push comes to shove, demand the change, but be ready for people to undermine you.
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  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 3
Tom Baeyens Accepted Answer
It's in some people's nature to resist to change. When doing BPM, you have to know what you want to accomplish and only push those changes that are necessary to reach the goal. Keep in mind that the less you change, the less resistence you'll encounter. The BPM software used should not add unnecessary changes.

For example, imagine people are used to filling in a pdf form as part of some process. Then it can make sense to keep the pdf form as part of the process, rather then replacing it with the BPM system's forms. People still keep their interface (pdf) and layout of the form as they are used to. Then can then upload filled in document in a form. That's one way I saw how people minimized change when converting an existing procedure to BPM software.
Tom Baeyens
Signavio.com
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  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 4
Scott Francis Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
I don't think employees resist BPM. they resist having bad applications thrust upon them. Build great user and customer experiences and there isn't much to resist.
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 5
It is necessary to explain to each group of stakeholders how their concerns will be addressed and how their current working practices will be changed for the better. This is a typical duty of the chief architect of the enterprise BPM system/solution.

Coherent and clear explanations in the business language are vital for the success of a BPM project. Success is not about saying “Yes” to all requests from the “more important” staff members; it is about building a common understanding and agreement between all stakeholders.

In any case 5% will be always against.

Thanks,
AS
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  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 6
Nigel Kilpatrick Accepted Answer
Whoever said that BPM projects don't fail are in complete denial - they fail all the time. The failure begins before the employees are engaged and they are the ones who need to use the process to improve their daily lives. They never get the processes in a format that they can understand or want. Resistance starts at the very beginning of the process project and it doesn't matter what process is being mapped and improved. People are sick and tired of the same old 'ordinary' way that process projects are undertaken - they are bored and put off by the traditional consultants who do process discovery on the 'as-is' with brown paper and post it notes and then going off and translating them into a Visio or PowerPoint. Even worse is that they try and make system design with a complicated notation and expect that the business will easily sign off. This has been described as like sticking pins in your eyes - it is so disengaging and unfulfilling and so much of the intellectual property is never captured anyway. What makes it worse is that after delays and poor change management, the processes are put into a Word document and then live in a portal, that no-one can find. I have known companies where employees booked days off on vacation just so that they didn't go to a process workshop! This is the day to day reality of the 'business' perspective of process projects. IT have a different view, of course, as they think process projects are BPM tools initiatives and not business outcomes. T

To get employees really highly engaged a completely different project methodology is required. The methodology and approach has a process platform at the heart of the engagement. The platform enables process discovery to capture to happen in real-time with instant and simple on-line collaboration. The main design principals are 100% focused on what business users want and that is rich in imagery and rich in detail with instant links to appropriate systems and content. With the focus being on what, and how people want interface with their processes then they engage right up-front and they take ownership.

It amazes me how many companies undertake a process automation project and never take the time and sense to map the entire business process end-to-end, so that a clear view of what activities really need to be automated can be agreed and that becomes the real business requirements. This helps the employees get what they expected as they are involved up-front. How many times have we all heard "all we have done is make a bad process quicker!" - all the time!!

I have recently written a paper called 'Process Transformation: Going Beyond the Ordinary'. Please contact me if you would like a copy.
Comment
Be kind and send the paper to feedback@discoverbpm.com. Thanks!
  1. BPM Mentor
  2. 2 years ago
Nigel, I would very much like to read your paper as well. Please send me a copy at: barry.pat@gmail.com. Thank you.
  1. Pat Barry
  2. 2 years ago
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 7
Patrick Lujan Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
They're called power users, early adopters. Open and receptive, interested in new things, want to, like to learn. Find 'em, engage 'em, get them involved early and often, let them be your evangelists back out into the organization. When the person(s) sitting next to them see them doing things quicker, faster, easier, being more excited and engaged in their job, that garners interest and participation, it spreads from there.

This is neither a BPM or IT problem, is a social, cultural, organizational one. The above formula has worked for me numerous times.

We'll talk "fools with tools" later.

Just my tuppence.
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  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 8
David Chassels Accepted Answer
Maybe start by not using an IT TLA "BPM"! Then say we want your ideas on how we can achieve a better way to work - forget "IT”. Human instinct for change is the initial resistance and IT has certainly encouraged that; so cynicism will understandably emerge. So plan to show their ideas in their language come to life in a first pass of a process build in hours not weeks and a not a "geek" in sight! Once they realise how this works and that they really can contribute to better ways to work, maybe even handle change themselves and feel empowerment is a reality, then resistance will quickly be history….. as will old “IT”.....
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  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 9
Pat Barry Accepted Answer
One of the things that I think creates resistance is the new measurements and goals that come with process improvement. That creates fear even beyond that that George noted.

The bottom line though, is as others have said, that the method of improving processes has to be driven by the users and change management has to be addressed right from the start.
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  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 10
Many BPM projects start with the promise or the goal of having a great Return of Investment for the organization.

I wonder how many start with the goal of giving the employees better tools to do their job, to do work that matters, and also to improve, somehow, their quality of life.

For example... if your BPM initiative includes the deployment of a new system and a new "improved" process how much do you think about the people you will affect? Changing a process in an organization literally affects the way people will work for years! That changes lives. Real people lives! Do you care about that?

Do you constantly think about that during the project? Do you worry about the immense power in your hands to inflict pain or pleasure to someone else's life? How are you measuring the impact of your solution on the employee?

There are no magic formulas to counter employee resistance. Everyone has a singular reason to resist change. But there's something you can do... and that is honestly being worried about that employee that will be filling, 10 times per day, a new form that you created.
Or that employee that will always have to submit a daily activity report just for the sake of keeping track of what is happening.
Or that employee that was doing quite ok for more than 10 years using paper and now he's using a high-performance system that he doesn't know how to use, and is always crashing because you don't have sufficient people to do maintenance and support.

There are a thousand of different techniques and tactics to assure smooth change in every kind of organizational initiative, and a lot of them have already been said. But for me, before all of that, you really need to be honestly empathic for the employees and users of your solution.

Caring, truly caring, is the best way to counter employee resistance to a BPM Initiative. If you don't care, every single technique you use will sound to the employee as only one thing: and that's bullsh*t!
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  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 11
John Morris Accepted Answer
Some savvy advice here, covering the bases. So, more for my own sake, and in the context of sales, here are my notes as to why "people" might be the "weakest link" in a BPM project. Well, actually I don't believe that "people" are the weakest link . . .

1. BP GOVERNANCE -- Is business process defined, owned and managed in the framework of normal business? Often not. And any attempt to bridge hidden fissures in the organization with BPM will expose organizational weakness. Which can often come out in analysis and be "blamed on people".

2. RATIONAL RESISTANCE -- However grumpily expressed, it is quite possible that resistance to an ill-conceived BP project is rational. The analysis sessions are seen as vacuum cleaners of the mind, without reward. Experienced staff may believe that the organization will be the worse for the project, especially as tacit knowledge may be ignored; of course staff may also fear for their jobs. Again, "people" get labeled as a "problem", when in fact they may be acting rationally, both on their own behalf, but also quite possibly on behalf of the organization.

3. UNDERSELLING BUSINESS PROCESS -- If business process is sold as just another kind of software (last week it was a JAD session, this week it's BPM), then an opportunity is missed. BPM.com exists for a reason, because of the central importance of business process. No one gainsays the effort required to master accounting, and that accounting is central to any organization, and especially that training and study and practice are required to master accounting. BP is still years away from definition and acceptance as a "profession" like accounting, if it ever achieves that status. Nevertheless consider what is expected of a business process project or program: that whole parts of a dynamic organization will be modeled and defined and evolved using the technology and principles of business process management. That's a tall order. For the team tasked with the work, it's "game on" and no half-measures. Some of the problems concerning BP governance and rational resistance to a BP initiative can be overcome if the team catches the excitement of what they are about to embark upon. Not all teams or organizations will be able to do this, for sure.
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 12
ross harling Accepted Answer
From a number of answers ‘employee resistance’ would seem, like death and taxes, to be unavoidable.
However anyone who wants to implement successful BPM initiatives, wherever people are involved should first equip themselves with the right tools for diagnosing change attitudes and assessing organisational culture.

Why? Because extensive research has shown that correctly addressing a relatively small number of factors makes the difference between implementing successful change projects and the 80% which fail to deliver their predicted results. Moreover, employee resistance cannot be treated as uniform & homogeneous across an enterprise and dealt with by a quick ‘sheep dip’ change program; peoples’ feelings and attitudes to change often vary widely by function, department or even employee grade, with each group requiring different treatment.

One of the most powerful and accessible diagnostic tools for organisational change has been Atticus ChangeAbility, now in an online version with a free pre-launch trial. Just click or cut and paste this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/atticus Based on the world’s longest running study of ‘real world’ change management practices, Atticus ChangeAbility generates easy-to-use analytics and benchmarks which pinpoint the precise factors requiring attention.

Finally ensuring that change is sustained for the time needed for benefits to materialise might seem like overkill for a “Here today, gone Tomorrow” BPM project team, but it is vital for the client. Deep rooted cultural traits and behaviours can undermine even the best implemented projects, just as the grass will inevitably grow back in the most urbanised environment.

The culture of any organisation can behave like a powerful magnetic force; a force can constrain or accelerate adaptation and innovation. Historically difficult to measure and analyse, your organisation's cultural strength and its aptitude for change can also be benchmarked in a new 2-minute assessment, again with a free trial at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/atticus3
References
  1. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/atticus
  2. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/atticus3
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 13
Peter Johnston Accepted Answer
Step 1:
Remove the “I’m a Black Belt and I know more than you” mentality in the person heading up the project. They believe that you can simply impose process improvement. That you can do it as a project and walk away. And that one person’s guess on what the process should be is good enough.

Step 2:
Replace the Lean/SixSigma person with someone who knows Lean Startup.
Take on the principle that process improvement is about creating a Minimal Viable Process to generate data and user feedback then working rapidly through multiple iterations until you get something which works (usually nothing like you originally envisaged). And then put in procedures so the people operating the process can continually monitor its performance and constantly realign it with changing customer needs.

Step 3:
Get the people involved in the process together and ask them to flesh out what they’d like to see. Rermove the fear of job losses, imposed change etc. Make the Lean Startup person their employee, not yours. Then ask them to their ideas and participation to create the MVP with his help. Then work closely with everyone to let the data do the rest.

Step 4:
Put in a system so they keep working on optimising the process, long after the “experts” have gone. That builds a team and interest in the process and how well it works – and that is vital to its success. And make it important to them that it works well – put it in performance appraisals, bonuses etc. If they know you see it as important then they will too. That way you don’t trap them on a burning platform next time with a process which has fallen behind and no-one allowed to change it.
Dynamic Process
Oxfordshire, UK
+44 (0) 1491 874368
+44 (0) 7590 677232
#dynamic_process
peter@dynamicprocess.uk
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  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 14
Bogdan Nafornita Accepted Answer
I am going to build a bit on what Tom Baeyens said.

People do not resist change, they just hate the psychological transition that usually accompanies change, because it is painful. I never met any new initiative that was embraced immediately by everybody on the rational ground that it will bring benefits into the future. People prefer comfort zones, which are defined by not being willing to change, despite any actual discomfort with the status quo.

Some advice has been covered already on how to navigate this transition: get them involved (in the decision making process), make the transition seamless (emulate old interfaces, trainings, constant communication), make the new status better in every way (new interface dramatically simpler and more useful) etc.

One should not aim to fully counter resistance, but to bring it to a manageable level so that the project ultimately succeeds.
Managing Founder, profluo.com
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