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Thought this Scott Francis quote from John Reynolds at IBM Impact was interesting:
Your ability to change your process to respond to change is limited by your ability to change user interface
So in your opinion, what are the biggest barriers to changing processes in an enterprise?
Thursday, May 01 2014, 10:00 AM
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Responses (13)
  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, May 01 2014, 10:17 AM - #Permalink
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    I think it is still the good old fact that 'organizations have processes, but people have jobs' And it's just human behavior that you act according to what you get paid or (not) punished for. And if people are still managed by hierarchy and targets, do you think they care about real processes or the improvement of them? I don't think so. So the biggest barrier? Hierarchy, targets and fear. mmmm.....still that after 50 years of BPM?
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, May 01 2014, 10:22 AM - #Permalink
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    Emile, I like your second statement so much that I believe that the biggest barrier to changing processes, or anything else for that matter, is people's behavior. If you can change the way people behave, the opportunity for change in other realms is virtually unlimited.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, May 01 2014, 10:42 AM - #Permalink
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    This quote suggests the ridiculous notion that process flexibility is tied to interface design -- talk about the wrong end of the dog doing the wagging! Process change is all about people, as Emiel and Faun have said. While it is certainly true that a better interface can help lower users' resistance to change, it is patently false to tie the ability to modify a process to how easy it is to modify the display screen. Put it this way: I can redesign my house to improve the flow of guests through it without ever touching my front door -- even as I know that installing a wider door will help!
    • Scott Francis
      more than a month ago
      doors and houses are not user interfaces. A user interface isn't the front door or the facade - it is how your process works *for the people using it* ... user interface is all about the people as well, Steve. If you're changing process in a way that doesn't affect user interface, then you're likely changing it in a way that doesn't affect people...
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, May 01 2014, 11:08 AM - #Permalink
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    There are many obstacles for change – administrative, interpersonal ("political"), cultural, technological, etc. In each particular case it is a different mixture. What is common is that initially there are four groups of people – supporters (20 %), indifferent (50 %), opposition of this change (25 %) and opposition for any change (5 %). (Note, percentage is approximate). The trick is to be able to explain to everyone (especially non-supporters) how BPM will address their concerns and will improve their working habits thus to change the initial distribution. The beauty of BPM is that we can make everything explicit by prototyping and simulation of business processes. This helps to demonstrate to various people that their concerns will be really addressed. Thanks, AS
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, May 01 2014, 11:21 AM - #Permalink
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    To be clear, I wasn't advocating that UI is the biggest barrier - BPM efforts are, in some ways like buses. You can get stopped by people waiting at the stop, at the light, or people who pull the bus brake :) But, having said that, we were having a discussion of UI in which it made sense, because some people were advocating for an approach that might yield great UIs, but they would be more difficult to change and maintain in sync with their processes...
    • E Scott Menter
      more than a month ago
      Right on. There are many drivers of BPM success in an organization, but nothing puts the brakes on faster than slow adoption, and nothing slows adoption more than an inflexible or poorly designed UI.
    • Scott Francis
      more than a month ago
      I think it is important to think about adoption beyond version 1, and flexibility beyond version 1. Even a version 1 interface well-received will age badly (green screens!) if not flexible enough to adapt over time...
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, May 01 2014, 11:22 AM - #Permalink
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    4 votes
    IBM has a vested interest in trying to tie process to interface, Steve. But they have a point. What sets BPM apart from Lean and Six Sigma in my view is that can turbocharge process using technology. Suddenly people can't ignore the directives from the Lean guru and create their own systems, hierarchies and empires. It is easier to simply login in the morning and follow the process. But anyone who has used Sharepoint knows the problems. Awful interfaces (where do I click), bugs which don't let you do what you want (its greyed out) and never quite the right choices in the menus. Mobiles have shown us the power of ease of use in driving uptake and driving behaviour. It matters. A lot. I won't come to your house if I have problems getting in the door. There is a solution to this. Get the lunatics to design the asylum. If you involve everyone in collaborative design of the process, the system through which it operates and the user interfaces, they have lots of great ideas that you wouldn't have thought of. And if you throw away the "fixed term project" mentality, the "no-one is allowed to talk to the developers except me" mentality and the "when the docket is signed to say it works, that's us out of here" and make it iterative, people engage, improve and refine it continually, especially if they are empowered by real data on what works and what doesn't. The biggest barrier to changing process in an enterprise is those three old-fashioned mindsets in the people running the improvement. They are hangovers of an older era which should be laid to rest.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Mike Reale
    Mike Reale
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    Thursday, May 01 2014, 11:47 AM - #Permalink
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    There is no question that human behavior, insecurity, and poor business perception are the barriers to changing a business process. The lack of understand of the true process objective and how it relates to the business is a key barrier. Hugging that same process tree has always been safer than changing for most employees.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, May 01 2014, 12:12 PM - #Permalink
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    3 votes
    Everybody wants change, but nobody wants to change. Why is that? Everyone fears the process of change and fears the results might not be what is best for us. Also we, as experts of the current process, know how to work the process in force to get results for both the organization and ourselves. It takes a bold and secure person to embrace change and these kind of folks are pretty rare. Managers need to address these fear issues by communicating with more sensitivity and allowing people to try out the change without consequences. Refer to the following posts on change more detail:
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, May 01 2014, 12:14 PM - #Permalink
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    Points taken. And I have to say, I LOVE your statement, Peter, "Get the lunatics to design the asylum." I've also long preached that particular gospel, but never in that way. So brilliant that I may steal it!
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  • Accepted Answer

    BPM Mentor
    BPM Mentor
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    Friday, May 02 2014, 04:43 AM - #Permalink
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    In my opinion, the biggest barrier to process change is related to management support. Without it, nothing will happen. With it, chances are increasing if people are given tasks and deadlines to move the things forward.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Friday, May 02 2014, 04:50 AM - #Permalink
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    There are two aspects to the barriers people and technology. Both are challenges that with the right management philosophy and supporting BPM software can be addressed to allow a change culture to used to the advantage of all. I agree with the comments people generally do not like change but this is very often where it is forced upon them and let’s face it business has had to mould to early iterations of silo based IT now called “legacy”. As a result most businesses have a “command and control” style of management which can stifle good ideas from the frontline. Indeed a gap has emerged between people and such “systems” and can result inefficiencies and abuse as holes in knowledge can be “exploited”. There is now growing recognition that empowering people in their job is how to overcome the negatives mentioned. This requires knowledge of the people processes with real time feed back which can identify issues that need to be addressed efficiently. This where the people directly involved can be encouraged to think of better ways to work and their ideas are quickly digitised. Once people see their ideas working and that they can be actively involved in the transparent build direct in their language and that change is readily supported then a now door opens to a culture that welcomes change. As indicated in the title of this booklet such transformation starts with management? http://www.transformationforum.org/pdfs/managing_transformation_means_transforming_management_sopk2.pdf Management having confidence in the supporting BPM software will help with their transformation? How that happens is another subject....?
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, May 06 2014, 07:11 AM - #Permalink
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    LOL...Management! From the top to the bottom that goes viral. That is the user interface. ;)
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, May 27 2014, 01:31 AM - #Permalink
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    Lack of executive sponsorship and not enough employee empowerment have to be the basic reasons that prevent process optimization.
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