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...
- Walter Bril
- 6 months ago
There is no inefficient neither efficient processes per se. What one may consider as inefficient may be very much efficient for some stakeholders ;)
- E Scott Menter
- 6 months ago
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.
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!
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.
So it is the broken ownership experience that leads to fixing it, not the car itself :-)
- Bogdan Nafornita
- 6 months ago
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)
@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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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?
- Bogdan Nafornita
- 6 months ago
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.
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.....
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.
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.
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