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  1. Peter Schooff
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  3. Tuesday, November 01 2016, 09:42 AM
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As per the link that Emiel Kelly left to this article, in your opinion why is it so hard to get rid of inefficient processes?






Walter Bril Accepted Answer

Why is it hard to get rid of say, certain (bad) habits? Why do we allways choose the same route to our office? Because we're human. And our survival instinct basically drives where we sit, meet, how we act. Change is scary. And man, getting rid of something where we invested in hundreds of thousands... you better have a rock solid business case. But honestly, even if such a business case including all calculated risks etc. exists, it still will be hard to get rid of it. Not because it's difficult, costs too much. But because we're humans...
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For me, absence of changes or preventing them is scary.
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 1 month ago
Haha, nope Alexander! But that's only because I know what first class means :-). If I don't know (enough), change is scary wouldn't you agree?
  1. Walter Bril
  2. 1 month ago
RE "Change is scary." Would you appreciate a free upgrade of your economy class sit to a first class sit at you next transatlantic flight? Is this change scary?
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
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Anatoly Belaychuk Accepted Answer
Blog Writer

There is no inefficient neither efficient processes per se. What one may consider as inefficient may be very much efficient for some stakeholders ;)
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@Scott, your comment is well taken. And your point here and below concerning the effects of technology is very important. Concerning enterprise, work and process, I note the horrific aphorism attributed, apparently in error, to Stalin, to wit that "you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs". There are always those for whom the omelette is justification . . .
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 month ago
I don't forget guys who murdered 20 million people, even if it was before my time. But in any event I think Anatoly's point might be similar to the one I make below: what's efficient for the company may not turn out too well for the humans who work there. We can't (and shouldn't) pretend the tech doesn't exist, and we can't (and shouldn't) regulate it out of existence. But we also can't ignore the problem. (My theme for today, apparently. Sorry; I'll try to hide the soapbox better in the future.)
  1. E Scott Menter
  2. 1 month ago
I don't remember because it was 1953.
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 month ago
At his time it was only one opinion, do you remember?
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 1 month ago
Stalin is dead, do you know this?
  1. Anatoly Belaychuk
  2. 1 month ago
Are talking a "politburo" or an enterprise?
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 1 month ago
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Emiel Kelly Accepted Answer

Agree with both Walter and Anatoly. Humans vs different perspectives.


One thing I always keep in mind is that organizations have processes and people have jobs, which leads to the fact that one man's process improvement result (getting rid of innefficiency) is another man's salary.






Common Sensei at Procesje.nl
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  1. more than a month ago
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Jonathan Yarmis Accepted Answer

When it comes to automating processes, I have long observed that we go through two steps. The first step is automating what was previously a manual and/or inefficient process. The second step is much harder: asking what can we do now that we couldn't do before. That requires someone to step away from "but we've always done it that way" kind of thinking. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.


Plus, you know how we justify the new process. "It's going to save us millions, make us more nimble and competitive." Yeah, like that always happens.


And risk/reward. Get it right, someone else steals the credit. Get it wrong, it's your head. It's a wonder we're still not using punch cards!
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Speaking of automobiles, physical technology has its own evolution. Where cars are concerned, they are now (a) amazingly more reliable than in previous generations, but (b) completely unrepairable by almost all owners.

At the beginning of my sales career I sold VAX (i.e. sophisticated DEC multi-user user systems) third-party maintenance services. SMB VAX owners could save a bundle. And our service engineers were amazing.

But systems engineering proceeded apace, and costs to maintain a given amount of computing power (MIPS) were dropping maybe 13% per year, year after year. So whereas you could save a bundle on going with our service provider, by the mid- to late-90's the business case for upgrading to a newer system was overwhelming (even factoring in switching from VMS to some flavour of UNIX or Windows Server).

And whereas previously service and maintenance required a skilled service engineer, the new systems only required module swappers. Thus de-skilling and lower pay. A challenge to an entire generation of dedicated and knowledgeable field engineers. And a loss of good-paying occupations for a new generation.

This is of course all well known, and more reliable machinery is a good thing. And savvy technicians find something new to do. But not always. And there are lots of people left behind in globalization.
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 month ago
You will change your car when the ownership experience (in its various customer journeys - driving, social recognition, maintenance, insurance etc) is deteriorated to the point it outweighs the increased costs of replacing it.

So it is the broken ownership experience that leads to fixing it, not the car itself :-)
  1. Bogdan Nafornita
  2. 1 month ago
RE " If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Will you change your car only when it is completely broken?
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 1 month ago
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All processes that are not periodically subjected to analysis/improvement are at risk of becoming inefficient as things around them change.


The problem becomes one of prioritization and we can use the same methodology that strategic planners use to prioritize initiatives competing for scarce resources.


a) which processes contribute the most to competitive advantage?, make sure these are in good shape;


b) next, go to the bottom of the heap and eliminate any that do not contribute;


c) for the remainder, evolve an approach that follows some logical set of rules ("low hanging fruit", large contribution/small contribution. etc. )


Above all, build and have ready for use, a "process asset inventory" that allows planners to exercise oversight over all processes. Without this, you won't be able to do a), b) or c)
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Agree.. This is not something you do once and file. The process of examining/analyzing/improving has to be dynamic.
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 1 month ago
And such a prioritization must be carried out after any change.
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
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John Morris Accepted Answer

@Emiel's original article reference is absolutely worth reading. I tweeted it as follows:


[url="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BPM?src=hash"]#BPM[/url] evangelism! [url="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Anthropology?src=hash"]#Anthropology[/url] of [url="https://twitter.com/hashtag/process?src=hash"]#process[/url] dysfunction - @LeandroEHererro on ritual vs efficency - [url="https://t.co/WFW2Vnhjwh"]http://bit.ly/2emzsaa[/url]- Tx [url="https://twitter.com/Procesje"]@Procesje[/url]


And insofar as "change" is a sales issue, everything we know about

[u]selling change[/u]
(and BPM software and BPM consulting) is relevant here. The issues have been nicely captured above; I emphasize (a)
[u]front-line staff cost-of-change[/u]
and (b)
[u]executive/managerial cost-of-change[/u]
. So who has the big picture in mind? And is also willing to open up the
[u]black box of process,[/u]
in order to take responsibility for how things are done? The easy route is to just outsource it - which is fine for non-core activities.
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  1. more than a month ago
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Actually, there is no problem with “a scary change”, but with the fact that in any change somebody benefits, somebody pays and somebody loses. Analysing the stakeholders and their concerns will help to see the hidden forces.


Thus, "the architect" of that change must be able to explain to all people involved how their concerns will be addressed and how their current working practices will be changed for the better.


Thanks,


AS



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  1. more than a month ago
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Bogdan Nafornita Accepted Answer

Very little to add to the article of Leandro Herrero.


I'll just say that humans don't have a problem with change per se, but with the psychological transition usually associated to significant change.


The unfamiliar, the anxiety, the insecurity - they hurt and people actively avoid pain (well, most of them!).
Managing Founder, profluo.com
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Here is the actual reference, direct as a PDF (copy the URL; the way it shows up in the comment isn't correct...)

http://www.yorku.ca/mar/Hirsh%20et%20al%20in%20press_PsychRev_Entropy%20Model%20of%20Uncertainty.pdf
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 month ago
It has been my observation that some simply resist change, not bothering to find out the extent to which a particular change may impact them.
  1. karl walter keirstead
  2. 1 month ago
Speaking of the costs of psychological transitions, here is an article that I've come across recently:

Psychological Entropy: A Framework for Understanding Uncertainty-Related Anxiety

Hirsh, J. B., Mar, R. A., & Peterson, J. B. (2012, January 16). Psychological Entropy: A Framework for Understanding Uncertainty-Related Anxiety. Psychological Review. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0026767

Just reading the abstract and first page (the whole article is available) is quite exciting -- and can be used to make explicit the kinds of costs that are associated with poor process and poor organization.
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 month ago
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E Scott Menter Accepted Answer
Blog Writer

Fear of change is an obvious, and not incorrect, answer.


But it's worth noting that, for many, the fear is well-founded. One characteristic of inefficient process is that they tend to involve too many humans [url="https://www.amazon.com/Ideas-Information-Managing-High-Tech-World/dp/0393333213"]running errands[/url] for their computers. These errand-runners may or may not love their jobs, but they are kind of partial to the food and shelter their paycheck provides. And they're well aware that these types of changes often involve (indeed, may be targeted specifically towards) staff reductions.


I note again in this forum that we can expect large-scale disruption of the workforce for precisely this reason. Eventually, a rising tide may float all boats, but if it rises really, really fast, a few of the more vulnerable ones might just get swamped and sink first. As technologists, as humans, it's up to us to consider the externalities, the social wounds inflicted by our innovations.
http://www.bplogix.com/images/icon-x-medium.png Scott
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And also big data analyzes itself. And shows how to get a defensible competitive edge.
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 month ago
Ha ha Bogdan, can't stop laughing.
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 1 month ago
"these types of changes often involve [...] staff reductions"

WHAAAT! You mean RPA and AI aren't supposed to liberate us humans from robotic, boring, tasks and have us focused on learning, aspiring, dreaming, enlightening, curing death and outright filling the remainder of the Universe (starting with Mars) to the brim with unconditional love?

Oh, noes, was it all a lie?
  1. Bogdan Nafornita
  2. 1 month ago
Considering that any enterprise is a socio-technical system then changes in an enterprise may have some social effects. Thus it is necessary to consider at the scale of society (or country) the effect of liberating some workforce because of automation and "our innovations". Initiatives like “minimal revenue” are trying to address this problem, but they are not based on a solid systems approach. For example, a similar initiative was rejected this year in Switzerland because (in my understanding) it didn’t cover all spectrum of necessary changes in social support, healthcare, etc.

As far as I noticed, the various social effects of modern technologies are already known, but I am not sure that there is a planet-wide political will to accept them and act accordingly.
  1. Dr Alexander Samarin
  2. 1 month ago
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David Chassels Accepted Answer

Human nature on a number of fronts. Fear of change has place near top but perhaps.controlling management who put self interest first are often biggest challenge. Another real example we had where the compliance officer wanted greater accountability and knowledge over a critical process. After going through the extraction of basic process the people suddenly recognised that their domain knowledge was going to be "shared" and withdrew their cooperation and the project was abandoned....that was as much learning curve for us as the owners...!


Sadly over the past decades "IT" has been the biggest barrier to see process inefficiency eliminated. With new emerging adaptive capabilities there is a big opportunity to tackle this problem bringing all on side to see continuous improvement as the norm......Just a question of time.....
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  1. more than a month ago
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Stuart Chandler Accepted Answer
Blog Writer

Quite simply- The cost of change or cost of efficiency is not great enough to overcome the cost of the inefficiency thus there are far more inefficiencies that stick around than are eliminated.

 

Agree with others talking about fear of change, Maslow's hierarchyof needs etc.... this all goes into to the cost factors and the willingness to change. In addition, the complicated nature of orgizational culture, behaviour compounds the ability to change and desire to wipe out process inefficiencies.
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Worth mentioning that cost never is the sole decision criteria.

We also have risk, and that comes in the form of

a) time risk (i.e. risk that things will change on a long initiative such that the calculated ROIs never materialize)

b) destabilization risk (i.e. some changes disrupt operations to the point where re-stabilization eliminates all of the anticipated savings).

c) complexity risk

d) technical risk

Many times, the organization never gets to where it has to worry about marginal initiatives - because there are so many promising initiatives that obviously take priority.

Since resources are limited, the iffy changes never come into focus.

It used to be that decisions re initiatives were made solely on the basis of ROIs. Then along came SROIs.

Today, people have a much better understanding of how to build and test risk/reward matrices but that rarely gets done in Finance/Accounting or in IT, leaving it up to functional units to do the heavy lifting.

Management, in turn, has to take on the task of learning how to interpret risk/reward matrices.

The Rand Corp did some really important work in this area in the 1960s - I had a copy at one stage but cannot find it.
  1. karl walter keirstead
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