10 Golden Rules for Management and BPM

The following factors are related to management and leadership perspective in Business Process Management (BPM). You can read this list through and think about how these matters are set up in your organization.

Managers place confidence between supervisors and their subordinates.

The middle management is in many organizations the biggest obstacle to success. Higher lever managers do not trust their middle management and middle management do not trust their subordinates. This causes several bottlenecks that hinder communication and cooperation. Confidence between these parties is crucial.

Managers share vision and information with their subordinates.

It is important for employees to know where organization is heading at. In old world hiding information was quite normal, but nowadays all the information is available for everyone anyway, so there is no reason for managers not to share information regarding organization with their employees.

Managers constructively use their subordinates’ ideas.

Those people who actually do the work are the ones that have good ideas how to improve the organization. Thus, managers should listen to their employees and use these ideas to improve the organization.

Top management frequently communicates with project team and users.

Managers who do not talk to their employees are bad managers. They should not sit in their ivory towers and give out orders, but rather they should participate and communicate with everyone in the organization. That helps the flow of  information and stops the bottlenecks even before they arise.

Top management generally has realistic expectation of the projects.

Many times top management is somewhat disconnected from realistic expectations. According to Bain & Co. 80% of CEOs think their organization is providing great customer experience, but only 8% of their customers agree. Top management should realistically understand expectations of the improvement projects the organization is performing.

Top management has sufficient knowledge about the projects.

Top management should know what kind of improvement projects is going on in the organization. This helps them to understand what is going on and how it fits the big picture. So, make sure that top management stays up to date about your improvement projects.

Top management generally supports changes in processes.

If there is no support for changes by the top management, those improvements will not have chance to realize. So, the organization should have culture of continuous improvement and all good changes should be supported by the top management.

The employees are empowered to make decisions.

Old fashioned way of managing thinks that managers know everything and tell employees what to do. However, we are all people capable of thinking and we should be allowed to use our brains for the benefits of the organization. Managers do not need to decide every little detail and employees should be empowered to make decisions that take the organization forward.

Organization has empowered process owners, who are responsible.

Someone should be responsible for the processes in your organization. That person needs to be empowered to optimize the process and he should also have appropriate education and knowledge to do that. As you well know, money usually dictates who can do what, so make sure that when process owners have responsibilities, they need to have resources also. If process owner cannot have those resources personally (money, people, etc.), then make sure that the co-operation between process owners and line managers works well.

The performance measurements adequately correspond to the processes and changes into them.

You get what you measure. Thus, your organization should only measure what is really important and when you get the results, you should do the changes they require. There is no point to measure, if you do not act. The customer experience is the process; the organization should carefully measure their performance based on factors related to that.


You can reflect these factors to your organization for example with the following questions:

  • Does your top management have realistic expectations on projects?
  • How open communication do you have in your organization?
  • Does your organization listen to ideas and actually implement them to improve organization?
  • Are your employees empowered to make decisions?
  • Does your top management support changes in processes?
  • Do you measure the right things and act based on the results?
  • Do you have confidence between your different management levels and subordinates?


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Nathaniel Palmer
Author: Nathaniel PalmerWebsite: http://bpm.com
VP and CTO
Rated as the #1 Most Influential Thought Leader in Business Process Management (BPM) by independent research, Nathaniel Palmer is recognized as one of the early originators of BPM, and has led the design for some of the industry’s largest-scale and most complex projects involving investments of $200 Million or more. Today he is the Editor-in-Chief of BPM.com, as well as the Executive Director of the Workflow Management Coalition, as well as VP and CTO of BPM, Inc. Previously he had been the BPM Practice Director of SRA International, and prior to that Director, Business Consulting for Perot Systems Corp, as well as spent over a decade with Delphi Group serving as VP and CTO. He frequently tops the lists of the most recognized names in his field, and was the first individual named as Laureate in Workflow. Nathaniel has authored or co-authored a dozen books on process innovation and business transformation, including “Intelligent BPM” (2013), “How Knowledge Workers Get Things Done” (2012), “Social BPM” (2011), “Mastering the Unpredictable” (2008) which reached #2 on the Amazon.com Best Seller’s List, “Excellence in Practice” (2007), “Encyclopedia of Database Systems” (2007) and “The X-Economy” (2001). He has been featured in numerous media ranging from Fortune to The New York Times to National Public Radio. Nathaniel holds a DISCO Secret Clearance as well as a Position of Trust with in the U.S. federal government.