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  3. Tuesday, 31 October 2017
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With the speed of business today, should end-to-end processes still be the goal for companies?
Karl Walter Keirstead Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
For most organizations (other than ones that only have end-to-end processes), the goal should be to develop and roll out "process fragments"

Old article (2012), but still valid

"Fixing BPM –in praise of process fragments"

https://wp.me/pzzpB-pR

The thing is there is NO difference between an end-to-end process and a set of "processes of one step each" that users, software or robots link together at run time.

With real-time analytics, the software can suggest the linking and do most of the heavy lifting.

Bottom line, you can, in a run-time Case Management environment that hosts BPM, handle any mix of structured vs unstructured work.

If your mindset is "end-to-end", you are painting yourself into a corner.
Comment
Emiel Kelly Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Processes (whether or not they have a useful end) are never a goal.

They are a means. A means to (hopefully) solve the problems of your customers.
Sharing my adventures in Process World via Procesje.nl
Comment

Precisely, but the temptation with end-do-end is to park a goal at the end node. This is understandably done plan site.

When transitioning to a "process fragment" mindset, there can be no plan-side goal (other than reaching the end node) so the disruptive but essential mindset shift is to define goals at Cases (run-time side) and track progress toward meeting these goals at the Case Level.

In an end-to-end process, we are "done" when we get to the last node/goal. In Case we are only done when the Case Manager says we are done ". . . .it ain't over till the fat lady sings"
  1. Karl Walter Keirstead
  2. 2 weeks ago
I can not think differently than cases have goals. Processes are just a means to get to that goals.
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 2 weeks ago
You are clearly on board and many of the players here at this forum also "get it", but take one step outside of the sandbox and many have no clue what the "new" BPM is or should be.
  1. Karl Walter Keirstead
  2. 2 weeks ago
John Reynolds Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
It's very hard to determine what the "ends" truly are, but there's still a crucial need to gauge whether or not your company's goals are being met, and if not where the problems really lie.
Proprietor and Product Craftsman at John Reynolds' Venture LLC
Comment

Ok, and there is a solution for that too. It's called FOMM (invented by Rand Corp). Basically, it's a non-subjective means of assessing progress toward meeting goals. It was first used to assess the relative merits of payload, range and accuracy on ballistic missiles. I spent 6 years researching this topic, wrote up an MSc thesis on it and have used it ever since.

See Adaptive Case Management - Earned Value Matrix Model

https://wp.me/pzzpB-iF

So easy to park a spreadsheet at each Case, set Case Objectives, do a bit of consolidation math and you have a means of assessing progress toward meeting the goals/objectives for any Case. (set of process fragments).
  1. Karl Walter Keirstead
  2. 2 weeks ago
The way to explain the link between Cases and Company Goals is you build strategy and authorize expenditure at Cases via annual budgeting for routine activity and via ROI papers for once-off or large-scale initiatives.

Anything that does not fit Company Goals does not get authorized.

On the way up, use of FOMM at Cases decreases the chances that work that does not contribute to or support Company Goals takes place.

Determining where the "ends" are is the job of Case Managers - their express purpose is to know when/how to close Cases.
  1. Karl Walter Keirstead
  2. 2 weeks ago
Bogdan Nafornita Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
End-to-end is a consulting paradigm. Looks good on paper, even fits onto a single one when everything is described at the highest possible level.

However, end-to-end is an implementation nightmare - wasted pharaonic efforts, "big change" indigestions, so many moving parts almost guarantee such implementations fail.

Breaking down the large "ends" into smaller "ends" and executing an incremental change strategy will almost always lead to much better results: quality of implementation, acceptance of change, smoother transition, higher satisfaction.

So, keep the end-to-end vision (to yourself) and implement it step by step. Every new extension of scope should be an exciting little surprise party for the team celebrating the closure of the previous step.

Yes, it is far less spectacular than "world-changing", "disruptive", "revolutionary", "making a killing", "explosive change", "radical" changes. But far more sustainable and, why not, rewarding - at the smaller, human scale.
Managing Founder, profluo.com
Comment
John Morris Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
@Bogdan's comment concerning end-to-end being a consulting paradigm -- and a nightmare -- is spot on. But at the same time, perhaps management has no choice but to pursue to the nightmare anyway. End-to-end merely implies governance on a broader scope. That is the only way that optimization can be achieved organizationally as opposed to partially ( i.e. "local minima or maxima" ). So competition is in part about whether management has the chops to slay their nightmares. The contradiction today is the idea of "emergent", as in "edge empowerment" and "edge intelligence", and the idea of emergent order. In such cases, end-to-end is effectively emergent. And the whole project of management is thrown into question. Is the role of management only to establish rules and then let autonomous agents and autonomous entities go to work? Process then becomes only de facto and not de jure. Process thinking is perhaps the most important aspect of management thinking, as process concerns the organization of work, which is the central purpose of management. Process is hard. Bureaucracy stultifies. But managers need to manage. Think big. Think end-to-end, however that is achieved. Do your job. Enlarge the scope of your process governance and control, incrementally. Optimize the big picture. Your stakeholders - who after all are concerned about the biggest picture, the whole "end"chilada if you will -- will thank you.
Comment

Nice analysis.

As you are no doubt aware, in once-through, CPM application developers long ago figured out how to present a project to any group stakeholders i.e. one summary activity (i.e. start , perform work, end), with an expansion to increasing level of detail, down to individual activities.

I agree with you/Bogdan that end-to-end is an implementation nightmare.

Remedy - don't try to do it to a full level of detail plan-side and the nightmare goes away. Simple as that.

Management needs to spend most of its time building Competitive Advantage. The way to do this is to make good decisions re the allocation of scarce resources and to refrain from authorizing work that does not contribute to sustaining CA or enhancing CA.

Operations has the methods/tools for efficient/effective management of initiatives. For obvious reasons, top management needs operations to periodically demonstrate progress toward Case Objectives as part of managing initiatives.

The competitive edge that we consultants have is to make difficult things easy.
  1. Karl Walter Keirstead
  2. 2 weeks ago
@Walter -- thanks for your comment! And as for consultants making "difficult things easy" -- the future looks bright! For both consultants and their clients . . . there's a world to win.
  1. John Morris
  2. 2 weeks ago
Juan J Moreno Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I really liked Bogdan Nafornita 's phrase:

So, keep the end-to-end vision (to yourself) and implement it step by step. Every new extension of scope should be an exciting little surprise party for the team celebrating the closure of the previous step.


I usually sell this phrase to customer who are evaluating big scope projects:

Take short and quick steps, instead of big jumps with a lot of risk


It's much better for the customer (they), the provider (us), and any stakeholder to implement a part of a big process, test it, improve it, test it again, and when it is done, move forward with the next part of the big process. Small steps, than would and should be quick, towards a long term objective.
CEO at Flokzu Cloud BPM Suite
Comment
Patrick Lujan Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Blog Writer
If the first and last (and every one in between) points are well defined and understood, and getting from the first to the last point achieves some tangible benefit, sure, why not? "End-to-end," "fragments," etc. - semantic gobbledygook, still just about a means to an end and how well that's defined, implemented and executed.
Comment
Patrick - hey sure there are lots of buzz words floating around. But I submit that the phrase "end-to-end" has meaning and utility. How many order-to-cash processes are a mish-mash of poorly functioning silos? With the result that cash flow is poorly managed? There's a reality to end-to-end cash management. And there are lots of examples of this. My point above is that management should be deliberately and systematically trying to increase the scope of process management, as such. The better to optimize -- especially optimize cash and customer satisfaction.
  1. John Morris
  2. 2 weeks ago
E Scott Menter Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Blog Writer
I'm not sure I understand what the alternative would be: processes that screech to a halt in media res?

Perhaps this is a problem of terminology. If you were to ask me if, say, Amazon operates on an end-to-end process basis, I'd respond: why yes, they do. From the moment I'm searching their inventory, I have visibility to how many items are left in stock, what my shipping options are (and the cost of each), etc. From point of sale, through delivery, and even returns and exchanges, I as a customer am engaged in comprehensive, transparent, end-to-end processes. Seems to be working out pretty well for Amazon.

Then again, if you think of end-to-end as an implementation concept, rather than a business concept, the answer is less clear—but also less interesting. Is the organization implementing processes as single-instance, IMAX-sized flowcharts? Of course not. Or, if they are, that's not a discussion about end-to-end processes, but rather about the merits of a linear, monolithic approach to solving business problems.
http://www.bplogix.com/images/icon-x-medium.png Scott
Comment
I have written concerning BPM technology that the concepts of work and process are in fact the "first-class citizens" or business concepts which are instantiated in BPM technology.

One doesn't have to stop though at BPM-technology-today. Customer journeys are all the rage now -- and they are business concepts (an example being the Amazon experience you have mentioned). There's every reason to expect that over time customer journeys will become instantiated technology (from modeling thru execution).

Who would have thought that 90's workflow would have turned into today's powerful BPMN tools? And tomorrow it's customer journeys and narrative and intelligent autonomous agents.
  1. John Morris
  2. 2 weeks ago
"Or, if they are, that's not a discussion about end-to-end processes, but rather about the merits of a linear, monolithic approach to solving business problems."

An excellent point!
  1. Bogdan Nafornita
  2. 2 weeks ago
David Chassels Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
A bigger question than it appears.....hmm sums up IT industry where the answers need to dig deep to understand.....something big suppliers and analysts rarely do!

First use of "goal" not a term business would use and likewise end to end process again what does that mean? All activity has beginning and end the question is the outcome reliable and reflect how operations are run. Sure it's is about people and process but is all activity linked to ensure efficient reliable results? When you look at the current mess of the silo legacy built over past 40+ years and the gap between these inside out systems and people then such a catch phrase gains attention but as ever the devil is in the detail.

What is a "Process" in this context and of course depends who you are. The CEO wants smooth running operation covering all departmental needs. The CFO wants to have assurance the process is properly monitored. The users including managers just see their activity as their responsibility. In context of any case management system it is an end to end process but within that will be many individual processes. A real example with one of our early adopters using the no code built in the graphical process map we have over 75 processes, over 500 UIs with some 2500 associated tasks. This is typical of end to end process the real need is to have all these working components working in sync and delivering individual and business outcomes that satisfy all. Is this how old legacy has delivered and of course recognising the need to support constant change? Sadly it has only been a dream but this must change as digital in business requires that joined up flexible collaboration in the end to end processes.

There is no doubt the current focus is how can this be achieved and yes the focus intuitively takes us to people and process and of course to the required BPM thinking. How next generation software delivers this end to end process flexibility is the real issue? Perhaps a "goal" would business being allowed to understand "how" ....? Businesses are cynical about vendor claims and easy marketing catch phrases; they want to be told in detail just how this will be delivered.
Comment
Boris Zinchenko Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Established process boundaries are mere an illusion. Real enterprise models always consist of large collections of processes running on multiple levels and in various sequences. Where one process ends and another begins is rather a convention and personal opinion of a modeler. Several processes can be always united into a bigger process or split into smaller sub-processes. In any case, split or merger is mere a question of agreement, convenience and individual taste, rather than rigorous and unique imperative. Not accidentally, there exist so many modeling notations, and every notation gives its own representation of the process, while all these representations still exhibit various projections of the single real process behind.

Case is often much better manifestation of process boundaries than simple bipolar start and end points. Even in this wider interpretation, case boundaries are subjective and conditional. Case boundaries adapt according to specific views of stakeholders or focused groups. This inherent variability of case delimitation is of the reasons behind difficulties with unanimous case interpretation by BPM practitioners.

Real processes are much more rich, flexible, vivid, dynamic, interlinked, volatile and mutually penetrating than rude end-to-end approximation can ever express. Blind adherence to end-to-end process modeling does not reflect an objective process agility, corrupts realistic perception of business realities, leads to poorly structured and artificially limited models.
References
  1. https://bpm.com/bpm-today/in-the-forum/4823-does-every-business-process-need-to-have-boundaries
Comment
Karl Walter Keirstead Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
@Boris . . . Excellent posting.

I like "Real processes are much more rich, flexible, vivid, dynamic, interlinked, volatile and mutually penetrating than rude end-to-end approximation can ever express"

Case really is much more than models.

Consider a plumber- you call, he comes to your house with a toolbox, he assesses the problem, decides what tools to use and how.

If a pipe-wrench is too bulky to fit in a small space, he may use a vice-grip with a brass pipe to get some leverage. The manuals for pipe-wrenches, vice-grips and pipes will have no protocol for such innovation.

I don't believe silos are a problem at all, providing you have IT or BAs to put in place continuity so that the output of one silo becomes the input of another.

As I have pointed out many times, "process fragment" thinking allows Case Managers/Case Workers to thread together structured sequences at run-time. It allows software to do the same and it allows robots to do the same.

I also like "Blind adherence to end-to-end process modeling does not reflect an objective process agility, corrupts realistic perception of business realities"

Models, as we all know, are just representations of real situations - during discussions with folks who think BPM ends with the publication of a model and that the model is sufficient to manage work/workload, I often ask them when was the last time they took a trip flying in a model airplane? (silly, I know).

Case Management is real, it is dynamic, it is highly focused on progress toward meeting Case objectives, not process objectives, not process fragment objectives.

In Case, if customers want re-usability, they only get to know what the "process" for a particular Case is/was at the time the Case Manager closes the Case.
References
  1. https://kwkeirstead.wordpress.com/
Comment
@Karl, thank you. Definitely, most of BPM vendors long ago understood these limitations. Not accidentally, all leading vendors offer pattern modeling and pattern libraries in their BPM suites. No doubt, silos processes to much extent appear rather in heads of end-to-end modelers. They often hide vital and productive agility of real process environments. Case is much more flexible paradigm to represent these.
  1. Boris Zinchenko
  2. 2 weeks ago
But, wait, isn't Case Management dead?

*hat tip @Patrick
*runs back into the woods

:-)
  1. Bogdan Nafornita
  2. 2 weeks ago
Alive and well in healthcare and in law enforcement - "major crimes case management", based on bpm, is a big area for my company.

In one application that has our focus, there are more than 100 best practice protocols x 20 steps - 20,000 users refer to these protocols as part of their daily work.
  1. Karl Walter Keirstead
  2. 2 weeks ago
LOL @Bogdan . . .
  1. John Morris
  2. 2 weeks ago
Kay Winkler Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Every company should maintain a strict end-to-end focus on all its business processes, on the level of BPM as a discipline, and implement the different solutions progressively with BPMS as a technology. Sadly, companies all too often fail to achieve the desired success with BPM, partially due to the lack of focus on the impacts these processes have on overall end-nodes of their value chain, therefore frequently omitting processes and pieces of the larger puzzle that too are catalysts for an improved outcome.
NSI Soluciones - ABPMP PTY
Comment
Dr Alexander Samarin Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Of course, perfect managing of the end-to-end processes is the eternal goal of any organisation. However, if you don’t have a proper architecture (unfortunately, it has not been mentioned yet) then “end-to-end is an implementation nightmare” (thanks @Bogdan). The main stumbling block is that it is not possible to draw an end-to-end process as a workflow. As @Karl said – consider process fragments. Another nuance - what do you include in your end-to-end business processes? Only internal activities or also activities from your customers and B2B partners?

At present, I work with a supply-chain department in an humanitarian organisation. As we all know, the supply-chain is just a few macro-processes in the end-to-end process: sourcing, procurement, conversion and logistics. But, in the reality of this organisation, there are about 20 variations of supply-chain with all of these macro-processes mixed-up and all of them must be executed at the same time for a particular humanitarian operation. Of course, a traditional BPMN diagram is impossible.

Another example – a point-of-care for humanitarian operations. Again, an end-to-end process is very simple: check-in, screening, doctor, pharmacy, physio, and check-out. But, actually, each patient has his/her own way. So, an BPMN-based presentation of this end-to-end process is about 10 A4 pages. Good for consulting, but useless in practice because only 1 out of 10 BPMN shapes is about value-added work.

So, a proper implementation of end-to-end processes is tricky, but may be mandatory in your business – imagine about 200 “consignments” (such as blankets, hygiene kits, food portions, etc.) are arriving each day for an operation to save lives.

Thanks,
AS
Comment
David Chassels Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
It appears some think that there are limitations as to what can be supported in any process. There should be no limitations as design and build of the Digital Process is undertaken. Yes there are points in any process that relies on people to undertake work using their knowledge and skills which sit out side the formal end to end process. We call that an informal process which can be recognised and supported by any required information and of course ready to receive whatever the achieved outcome was. Karl's example of the plumber is typical and another would be research where freedom is needed to think outside the box. The only monitoring might be time where say deadlines reached with no outcomes recorded and reminders escalation etc can be triggered. Such empowerment for people is important for efficiency, productivity and job satisfaction but where such empowerment given it is important there is real time monitoring otherwise chaos may emerge!

Boris is right "processes are much more rich, flexible, vivid, dynamic, interlinked, volatile and mutually penetrating" but wrong in his belief cannot be displayed in the " process model". With the right supporting Digital Process Platform all can be incorporated into the build and displayed in the visual graphical design and build environment. The "map is the app" and nothing is off the agenda as users come up with new ideas with users encouraged to do so as they realise change is readily supported. This graphical process designer effectively becomes the code and represents exactly how the end to end process delivers and will be the future and as this effectively a 6GL no /low code arrives as long overdue move in enterprise software.
Comment
Good point re "The only monitoring might be time where say deadlines reached with no outcomes recorded and reminders escalation etc can be triggered".

Under Case, particularly where the ratio of unstructured to structured is high, setting times at objectives often is the only way to monitor.

Case Managers typically have a good understanding of goals/objectives and can set countdown alarms. They track time-remaining to alarms and one easy way to set this up is to simply add a start/end process to your Case where "end" starts off with, say, 16 weeks and goes 15-14-13 , , , with an alarm when time remaining drops below say 5 weeks.

Case managers also have a good understanding of "S" curves where progress is very slow at the start, then goes at a fast clip, only to revert to slow at the last, say, 10%.

Predictive analytics are useful - in the construction business everyone has a good handle on durations. Project managers like to start with a few weeks of "float"


CPM does a good job highlighting potential problem areas but staff can be very innovative tripping up projections. We found that when float erodes and management complains, sfaff simply shorten the durations of tasks and the big picture immediately "improves".

Central project management teams are adept at trending out float erosion, highlighting unreasonable shortening of forward task times.

The PM teams take a lot of heat because they are support staff whereas project staff are the ones are actually on-site and manage day-to-day operations.
  1. Karl Walter Keirstead
  2. 2 weeks ago
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