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  3. Thursday, October 13 2016, 09:48 AM
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From K. Walter Keirstead: Consultants and customers need to know what phases of the BPM methodology are easy and what phases are not and make sure the right resources are in place to increase success with BPM. What do you think?

Amit Kothari Accepted Answer

To me, it starts with agreeing what "BPM methodology" means in today's age of phones, chat, gen X and Y workers feeling empowered at work and better ways to build culture and engagement without legacy BPM methods (as documented elsewhere).


Ultimately, the endgame here is that people will do BPM without knowing they are doing BPM - or even caring about what BPM means.


How we get there is what we're thinking hard about.
Comment
Feeling empowered, for sure, so BPM needs to be seamless

People come in, they have two, and only two, ways to productively spend their day

a) taking note of their fixed time commitments

in between these

b) advancing the status of various floating-time tasks such as case files; hosting or participating in ad hoc collaborative encounters. .etc etc.

They don't want to be herded by protocols (i.e. next, next, next).

They don't want to be burdened with admin telling others what they have done, asking when they will get what they need to do some activity.

They do want to micro-schedule their work, they do want to be able to skip protocol , insert ad hoc tasks [this is why we have governance] to accommodate backoff from rigid protocol.

They do accept the fact that supervisors need/want to be able to level and balance workload across workers.
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 1 month ago
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 1
Keith Swenson Accepted Answer

Here is your easy button:
[b]stop thinking about a business process as something that transforms inputs into outputs. Instead, think of it as a collaboration with many people doing many independent things that need to be coordinated.[/b]

References
  1. https://social-biz.org/2013/10/25/do-management-gurus-encourage-process-enforcement/
Comment
Both independent and interdependent, a good example being healthcare where 2nd opinions are frequently solicited
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 1 month ago
RE "with many people doing many independent things " why independent? maybe interdependent?
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 1 month ago
RE "Shouldn't it start with "what problem are we solving" ?. " yes, we did - we solve problem of coordination which raised as the results of specialization and division of labour since Adam Smith.
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 1 month ago
It is certainly convenient to think of a process as you would a chemical or manufacturing process which takes in raw materials and produces physical products out of them. It is convenient, but a big problem.

For example, when a Judge hands down a decision on a court trial, you can, if you really want, see this as a process which "consumed" a bunch of court testimony, and transformed it into a judgement. But that way of viewing it is more of a barrier than an aid, because people then focus too much on the artifacts of the case, to the exclusion of the education and predispositions of all the participants. I am suggesting to abandon that entire mind set in order to see what is really happening.
  1. Keith Swenson
  2. 1 month ago
Can we do both? Supporting collaboration is good. But corporations exist to transform inputs into outputs. This is the "work of business". Unlinking goal from process is likely to cause problems . . .
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 month ago
Agree for some types of processes but processes just come in many types. Some indeed like you describe, others like straight through production like. And many types in between.

Shouldn't it start with "what problem are we solving" ?. And then think how to organize/coordinate that?

Not sure if it's an easy or difficult button. But to me it would be a satisfying button; knowing you are working on solving problems that are useful to solve.

And indeed "Solving global warming" needs slightly different processes than "my printer doesn't work"
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 1 month ago
Agree it is "a collaboration with many people doing many independent things" but there are dependencies, so for the structured part of work at a Case, it remains convenient IMO to talk about outputs from one actor as inputs for other actors.

No problem calling this "coordination".

We could have the same discussion re decision-making being the process of transforming information into action.
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 1 month ago
Alexander,

I didn't mean what problems the BPM community is solving, but the real companies in our world.

They treat patients, repair cars, provide insurance, build houses, grow food. Those kind of problems.
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 1 month ago
@Alexander...

In medicine, the interdependent actions are usually "optionally interdependent"

The more difficult the case, the more likely the attending will want a 2nd opinion.

Relatives of the patient often ask/demand 2nd opinions.

I don't encourage customers to hard-code 2nd opinions in their "best practices" at assessment/diagnosis or when treatment plans are being evolved/reviewed because skipping over such steps could easily lead to legal action.

A run-time environment that accommodates ad hoc insertions makes it unnecessary to project an expectation of a 2nd opinion.
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 1 month ago
RE " good example being healthcare where 2nd opinions are frequently solicited" I still think that 2nd opinions are interdependent activities as they are are initiated for some purposes of a process to bring value, reduce risk, etc.) which must be carried out independently.
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 1 month ago
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 2
Patrick Lujan Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
In the cubicles on the floors with the people doing it. Get them in a room empowered to speak to functionality by leadership and they know all the problems and bugs, all the quick hits and easy button wins.
Comment
So many implications of Dr. Samarin's aphorism.
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 month ago
Sounds like that trees know all the problems of the forest...although maybe they know only obvious problems.
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 1 month ago
Thus the "everyone in the same room at the same time" part. While you're doing the process landscape discovery, they're learning and informing each other and you as well. More than one time I've seen the light bulbs go off as they start acquiring that bigger picture part by osmosis simply by being in that room.
  1. Patrick Lujan
  2. 1 month ago
Patrick, my comments are based on my experience of visiting "people in the cubicles" each day (they called it "milking tour"). Those people knew a lot but not everything about their processes.
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 1 month ago
@samarin, they do if you go broad and wide enough. For overall, most comprehensive picture - macro and micro both - I still get my best bang for the buck on a multi-day JAD with all business unit participants to an application in the same room at the same time.
  1. Patrick Lujan
  2. 1 month ago
Not all closely located trees form a forest.
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 1 month ago
Without the trees there is no forest.
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 1 month ago
@Patrick, @Alexander

To save time, we ask our facilitators to lay down nodes/arcs in front of the stakeholders in real time.

It is critical that this happen as fast as the stakeholders say " . . and then we do this".. otherwise you lose their attention.

The facilitator needs to have built, in advance, an inventory of fake forms or images of real forms. so these can be dragged and dropped onto nodes.

We ask that they avoid trying to build rule sets on the fly. A complex rule set can take 1 hour, a serious distraction.

We want the entire "mapping/rollout/piano-play/update/rollout" session to be over in 1 hour if the facilitation is being done via GoToMeeting, especially in industries like healthcare where the staff only earn money when they are seeing clients/patients..

What this translates to is having the stakeholders come in at 0730 hrs instead of 0830 hrs.

After the session, admin snapshots the map, adds a progress note/action list , sends this out via e-mail and asks the stakeholders to re-convene the next day or the following day. .

As for role assignments at nodes, we put them all to "top" so that as we roll out the map as a template, we don't have to have as many workstations as there are roles.

With the map, fake forms, no rules at decision boxes, and roles set to "top", the facilitator can roll out the map as a template and stakeholders can immediately piano-play their workflow.

Arguing about which steps are missing, unneeded, improperly connected, which forms are not right, tends to be lively.

The facilitator takes running notes so make it easy for him/her to make changes and roll out an updated version.

Real form building (typically 1 hour per form), rule set building (varies) and role assignments (always skill classes never individual user names) gets done off line.

Compare this protocol with mapping on whiteboards with markers/ post- its or drawing on butcher paper and you get IMO at least a tenfold improvement in productivity.

There was a discussion at LinkedIn a while back 'Post-Its” versus “e-mapping” for Process Mapping Initiatives'

http://wp.me/pzzpB-od

The only conclusion is people find it difficult to move away from old ways of doing things.
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 1 month ago
“learning and informing each other and you as well” and “acquiring that bigger picture part” is necessary but not sufficient to effectively make explicit the logic explaining WHY their business processes are as people see & do them. It is also known as “The 5 monkey syndrome”.
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 1 month ago
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 3
John Morris Accepted Answer

There are no "Easy Buttons" on the road to BPM. Just as there were no Easy Buttons on the road to
[u]current accounting practices[/u]
and technologies. And from an economic point of view, Easy-Buttons-as-competitive-edge should be
[u]selected out by competition[/u]
. The history of BPM technology is proof of these assertions.
Comment
Ok, but some aspects are more difficult than others so if easy, moderate, difficult does not suit, then we can have difficult, really difficult and extremely difficult.

Reminds me of a Japanese partner who frequently used "much"; "many much"; "very many much" and "too many much" - once we figured it out, we understood what he was talking about most of the time.

Soon as everyone has had their kick at the can, I will remove the password on my blog post to show 19 "phases" of BPM which anyone can rank.

I expect complaints that xx is not part of BPM plus complaints that yy is part of BPM but not showing in the list.

What we are likely to discover is disagreement over what is easier/what is not.

Remember Senor Wences ? "easy for you, difficult for me"

". . .Spanish born ventriloquist Senor Wences, one of the highest paid vaudeville acts in the world. Hugely popular with American TV audiences"
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 1 month ago
LOL Karl, we are both in agreement then!
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 month ago
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  3. # 4
Bogdan Nafornita Accepted Answer

I haven't found any easy buttons in BPM implementations (granted, I never knew I was supposed to look for any).


BPM means constant change and change management is difficult - regardless of technology, methodology, consultants, management, industry. Trillions have been burnt into useless research, marketing and tech just to get back to square one: people seek and find comfort in predictable, past, patterns - it takes hardened skill (and will) to lead them out of those patterns and into new ones.


So, I agree with John and Patrick, with the comment to Patrick that his recommendation (which I absolutely love) is not really "easy" :-)
Managing Founder, profluo.com
Comment
An almost poetic, and rueful, comment on BPM technology. I think lurking here is the question of "modernity" itself. Do we "enterprise" or not? Or do we build walls behind which we can enjoy a comfortable life, collecting rent, and not risking? BPM is not "just another technology".
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 month ago
Well, yes and no on the "easy" part. I've had the great fortune, benefit of learning at the knees of the best on JAD facilitation. Writing use cases or user stories, drafting and timeboxing agenda, up-front preparations can be substantial work on the front-end, but when executed right (I'm three for four in the past eleven years), the harder you work to make it "easy" for the JAD participants the easier it is to get that bang for the buck on the back-end.
  1. Patrick Lujan
  2. 1 month ago
You're right, Patrick, I was referring to the "get them in the same room and empowered by management" as being the difficult part.
  1. Bogdan Nafornita
  2. 1 month ago
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 5

Considering that BPM is about better management of the business, BPM is similar to managing personal health. Thus it is easy to talk about BPM than difficult actually doing it (compare “I will jog 60 mins each day” vs actually do it).


Fortunately, BPM is able to convert a complex problem of “better management of the business” in a complex one “better management of the business by processes”. In accordance with CYNEFIN, a complex problem is addressed with trial and error way and a complicated problem is addressed with good practices.


Thus, BPM is actually the “Easy Button” for solving your current and future business problems.  Is it easy? Technically yes, socially - all depends.


Thanks,


AS
Comment
The origin of the question was to end up with a ranking of "easy", "moderately difficult" and "difficult" against a list of the phases of BPM, i.e. mapping, improving, monitoring of mapped/improved process, consolidating run-time data etc.

I had prepared a list of 19 different phases but have held them back to avoid dragging the discussion one way or another.

"Soon as everyone has had their kick at the can, I will remove the password on my blog post to show 19 "phases" of BPM "
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 1 month ago
BPM is a mandatory step to software-defined enterprises. Of course, it is necessary to have also machine-executable business architecture, microservice-based application architecture, blockchain-based data architecture, cloud-based infrastructure architecture, etc.
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 1 month ago
Bravo! BPM itself as the Easy Button!

And why? Because BPM is the technology of the work of business, and in BPM by definition concepts of work are first class citizens of the technology. So when you use BPM, you get where you want to go faster! Every other technology requires you to build those concepts from lower order technical tools, i.e. "from code".

Maybe it would be more accurate to call it the "Easiest Button". Because you still have lots of work to do . . .
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 month ago
@Alexander . ..

Good point "all depends" - different consultants have different pitches, a pitch that works well for one customer may not work for another owing to different customer cultures, the tools the consultant or the customer has vary, type and amount of training.

Agree with you on the approaches needed for dealing with "complex" and "complicated".
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 1 month ago
Karl, waiting for your list. From my experience, all depends, some BPM-related activities are easy at some clients and impossible at others.
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 1 month ago
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 6
Rick Willis Accepted Answer

From the aspect of a more people focused process, the "easy button" is creating an abstraction for the users. The users of the process should be given an interface that let's them perform their work within the guidelines set by the administrator. The trick is to have all of the boundries the user will run into on the process feel natural.


An even more advanced form of this would be to allow for some users to dynamically define what the process is. Start with a process with the most common tasks and sequence flows, then let users define new sequence flows to existing/new tasks when exceptions arrise. This would allow the people doing the work to define the process that makes sense. Not just a couple people in a board room designing some "perfect process" that fails when implemented.


You would need to pick the knowledge workers that know how the business works and not the brain dead office monkeys. The system would need to provide analytics on processes to help identify superfelous tasks.


Of course there is more to this story, but that's my version of an "easy button" in action.
Comment
Re ". . . .allow for some users to dynamically define what the process is."


Is this not what Adaptive Case is all about?

i.e. the ability to accommodate any mix of structured and unstructured work
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 1 month ago
  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 7

Day 2 for this topic / . 7 responses, so best I publish my 19 phases of BPM to hopefully get more responses today and over the weekend.


Here is the link
References
  1. http://wp.me/pzzpB-Oi
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 8

I can see the value of a separate discussion on each of the 19 topics


e.g.


[b]1. mapping out processes (concept level);[/b]



do we map using whiteboards/markers; post-its; e-mapping with BPMN; e-mapping not with BPMN?


do we do the mapping on-site or via a series of GoToMeetings?


are short, say, 1 hour sessions better? (hard to do on-site, easy to do via GoToMeeting)


do we use a BA/BI, or a facilitator, or make the customer build their own maps?


do you publish on a wall, on paper or electroncally?


 
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 9
David Chassels Accepted Answer

The "easy" button is now the click from the model useing MDE no/low code that can build the required application ready to run...!
Comment
yeah, but clicks and requirements are SO legacy!

let's invent a chatty bot that can extract the right features of the application from our drunken mumblings. Everybody wins!
  1. Bogdan Nafornita
  2. 1 month ago
Karl. Yes all business logic links etc pre coded with inbuilt rules capability....just configure specific business needs etc in the graphical designer and with click the Map becomes the App. Uses declarative technique to data base and builds in "minutes"; challenge is knowing what you want!
  1. David Chassels
  2. 1 month ago
@David .. is your reference to "build the required application" related to a statement you made a while back "the map is the app"?
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 1 month ago
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 10
David Chassels Accepted Answer

Hmm... but this new way never becomes "legacy" as it readily supports constant change and as for requirements no need for final spec just build direct from users input in recognition first cut will likely be changed with user feed back.
Comment
Agree... not much to become "legacy" when one realizes that in ACM (with background BPM). users can, for the most part, engage/manage all processing from one split screen that has to-do's on one side and a calendar for fixed-time tasks on the other side.

- users can micro-schedule with the result they feel empowered;

- users can, within reason, do what they like (follow the template, somewhat follow, not follow) because we have background governance at the Case to "rein in" extreme, unwanted behavior;

- supers can level and balance workload across cases/workers (i.e. Resource :Allocation, Leveling and Balancing)

- there is at each Case a non-subjective means of assessing progress toward Case objectives (FOMM).

What is missing is how to extract, say, an order, from it's template instance, roll out a new template, start up an instance for the new template and position the order at the right nodes on the new template\instance.

The example I keep referring to that highlights the problem is a workflow . . .

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8

where we make a change at 3 that impacts 7

The three scenarios are:

instance is at or before 3
instance is at one of 4-5-6-7 (problematic)
instance is at 8

The scenario in the middle is the problem - we might for example add a new data element at 3 that is needed at an algorithm at 7 so if you are at 4-5-6-7 you will not have picked up a value at 3 so you either fail at 7 or have to loop back (read re-work in manufacturing) to 3 and take another run.

Embedding CEM in an ACM or BPMs environment is important but is no picnic from an implementation perspective - anyone cares about security will not want customers/contractors/patients to be able log in to your back end and establish a cursor position.

We solved this problem by posting events to calendars. On posting a portal line item goes to a portal app and the portal app has no clue what physical record the line item came from nor can they do other than "submit" which causes the response to go back to its source, which remains equally unknown.

The portal users are totally at-arms-length because there is an engine in between the portal and the back end dbms.

I suppose there are many other ways to accommodate "casual" users.
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 1 month ago
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 11

Here is the list of 19 "phases" of BPM


It would be nice to get an indication from commenters on which ones are recognized as being part of BPM, which ones are implemented at customer sites and what the E-M-D ranking is.


E=Easy M=Moderate, D=Difficult

[list="1"]
[*]
mapping out processes (concept level);
[*]
transitioning concept maps to production-level detail;
[*]
improving processes prior to rollout;
[*]
selecting an appropriate run-time environment (i.e. Case, unless you can suggest something better);
[*]
rollout of improved processes to the run-time environment (compiling graphic maps to run-time templates);
[*]
setting up Case-level governance;
[*]
setting Case objectives;
[*]
streaming Case records onto instances of run-time templates;
[*]
threading together process fragments;
[*]
managing workflow at Cases (skill performance roles);
[*]
managing workload at Cases (users prioritizing tasks);
[*]
insertion of ad hoc steps (processes of one step, if you like);
[*]
interoperability (people, machines, software, at various places);
[*]
managing workload across Cases (by supervisors);
[*]
assessing progress toward meeting objectives at Cases;
[*]
consolidating Case data to KPIs;
[*]
challenging KPI trends, KPIs, initiatives, strategies;
[*]
real-time decision support at Cases;
[*]
data mining for the purpose of auto-improvement of processes.
[/list]
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 12

I like the comment of Alexander : "BPM is better management of the business by processes". In this highly IT and gadget driven world is getting people to think processes, the most important game changer when you want to start improving your business.
Comment
Yes, but "people" don't think IT and gadgets. They think about what's easy and effective, and what they like using without help. Today's BPM is on a desert of it's own, and nothing can save it.
  1. Amit Kothari
  2. 1 month ago
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 13
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