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Functional and Process Management: Tools Support

In the previous articles, we positioned Project Management and Process Management as systematic ways to compensate the issues of pure functional management: loss of control at handoffs, loss of focus on corporate goals, sub-optimization, etc. Let us now consider the tools (i.e. software) support for functional, project and process management.

Lots of folks are creating incredible Glass apps for physicians, especially to supplement, or even replace, EHR user interfaces. But no one, to my knowledge, is working on a Glass task management system for cleaning and stocking hospital rooms. While this aspect of environmental services has special wrinkles, such as dealing with isolation rooms where extraordinary measures must be taken, there’s also a lot to take for granted. Much patient experience depends on (at least) clean and well-stocked patient rooms. So I thought — patients checking in and out, peripatetic housekeepers, peripatetic supervisors, checklists — hey what about Glass!

Processes

In Process Management, sequence of work can vary from instance to instance: there are gateways, conditions; business rules etc. The key is predictability: no matter how many forks in the road, we know all of them in advance, and we understand the conditions for the process to take one route or another. If this condition is met, we are dealing with a process.

Adam Smith

It’s all because of Adam Smith! Wasn’t he the one who introduced the division of labor? What, he didn’t invent it but simply described it? Anyway, it’s the phenomenon that we are going to talk about, not the person.

Note: Here I am talking about BPM software as it exists today, *not* Business Process Management as a discipline.

Long live BPM! Business Process Management, BPM for short, is close to couple of decades old. I feel sad for the companies that make Business Process Management (BPM) Software. Reason? They have been fighting the perpetual battle of adapting to the change that has been plaguing this category.

BPM.com's Peter Schoof recently posed the question, "is zero code the future of BPM?" That got me thinking about the future of BPM itself. Over the past five years, new terms have emerged, each vying to be the "next big thing" after BPM. These terms often include words such as: Dynamic, Adaptive, Predictive, Case Management, Skins, Smart Processes, and the list continues.