Kill Your Darlings

“You can dance in the storm. Don’t wait for the rain to be over because it might take too long. You can do it now. Wherever you are, right now, you can start, right now; This very moment”.
-Israelmore Ayivor

Starting a business Transformation process can be a giddy experience: it is for me. You’ve finally gotten buy in from the powers that be: you’ve brought in your data, and you’ve make your case, and people are finally listening. You have their attention, and they finally, finally see the value of Process.

Now, the burning question: where do we start? How do we start? How to quantify the value of your projects scientifically so you can continue to be accurate & create value? How do you call your shot, and how do you deliver?

In this three-part article, we’re going to delineate the right (accordingly to me) way to choose your project, how to measure it’s implementation, and how to qualify the end result.

You’ll never forget your first time: Choosing the first project.

In order to start, you need to map out your processes: of course you know this. You about listening the VOC and creating coherent map and getting buy-in from key stake holders. You know that you need heterogeneous systems that interact with multiple roles, and which add demonstrable value.

Flow Chart
Figure 1: BPM Fit For Purpose

But let’s round it out anyway, because selecting the right initial BPM projects is the single most important success factor for BPM benefit gain & adoption. The criteria used to select the best fit projects should be adjusted to fit the organization; however, it should be based on the following guidelines.

1. Heterogeneous Systems that interact with Multiple roles.

Identify processes that are currently manual and include multiple roles passing information between them. The benefit gained depends on how well the solution will reduce costs and increase throughput. Pragmatically, this value should be measureable before the project starts.

2. High Impact.

The potential results of improving the process must be high enough to be notable. If you think too small, you’ll get small results. Picking too small can deliver results that are perceived as meaningless. Pragmatically, this mean identifying the highest value/lowest Risk Activities of your process.

3. Goal Alignment.

The improvement gained must add value in key areas. The results should align with the stated goals of the organization. Are you shooting for modernization? Revenue generation? Stop Loss? Pragmatically, this means be explicit, and measure what you mean.

4. Low Process Maturity.

Don’t be too proud to reach for low hanging fruit. Manual processes can often show the greatest gains. Pragmatically, this means that improvement opportunities abound.

5. Low Complexity Level.

Limit the complexity scope of the initial projects to ensure success. Pragmatically, this often means limiting the number of integrations.

6. Ability to Measure.

Clear metrics show that the expected benefits have been realized. Pragmatically, this means call your shot.

7. Engaged Business Partner.

Leadership sets the pace for success, the road ahead will have twists and turns and a supportive business partner can smooth out a lot of bumps. Pragmatically, this means make sure you have buy-in up the leadership ladder, and allies all the way down.

Pick of the litter: I love all my processes? Which one should I love the most?

Once you’ve narrowed your list down to two of three processes, use the following table to rank them.

Figure 2: Picking your Favorite Child
Click on Image for Larger View

Once you’ve identified the projects that are thought to be the best fit, match them up against each other in a merciless Deathmatch using the Project Selection matrix above, and don’t be afraid to embrace the winner.

1. Select criteria to use.

Determine if all criteria are a good fit for your organization. It is fine to use all but also okay to remove one or two.

2. Weight criteria

10 – select the most important criteria and give it a weight of 10.

1-9 - for each remaining criteria, weight them based on your organization’s areas of focus

3. Rate each project

For each criteria, rate each project for it’s fit to the criteria from 1-5 (higher is a stronger fit)

It is best to do each criteria for all projects, so the rating is relative between projects

4. Score – Calculate the score for each project

Multiply each rating by the weight for that criteria

Add up all scores for each project, giving a total score

The project with the highest score is the best option for an initial BPM project

Do the scoring, get the buy in, and set a clear path for deliverables. Our next article will dig into the how to align those deliverable during implementation.

Max Young
Author: Max YoungWebsite: http://capbpm.com
Max Habibi is a Principal with Capital BPM. He previously ran large BPM/ODM practices for Avnet, Ascendant,and eBay.com. He is an alumni of Lombardi & Pega Systems, and specializes in helping organizations build better BPM& ODM practices. Max is a hands-on, working architect in the BPM/BRMS space, holds dual Master’s degrees from the Ohio State University in Abstract Mathematics and Computer Science, and is a Certified Six Sigma Black belt. He is the author our four books, including the best selling "Java Regular Expressions: Taming the java.util.regex Engine”.