1. Peter Schooff
  2. Sherlock Holmes
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  4. Thursday, 29 September 2016
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As John Morris wrote in the last discussion, "Peter Drucker said 'Who is our customer?' is one of the five important questions of business." So what do you think are the most important questions of BPM?

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There is only one question: Who is your audience?

Get this wrong, and anything else will probably not get the results you want.
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: "what form of business value does my process promise to my customer?"

: "how do I deliver that business value through my process?"

: "what business architecture should I employ to consistently deliver 1/ and 2/?"
CEO, Co-founder, Profluo
'Twould that those questions were asked of primary stakeholders and sponsors each and every single time in ADVANCE of kicking off an initiative.
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Something like bogdan:

- What problems do we wanna solve for our customers?

- What process results do we need for that?

- What are the needed characteristics of the process to deliver that process result?

And that 3rd question will have a lot of sub question like;

- What is the worflow of the process and how do we manage it (strict, goal driven, etc)

- What kind of people are needed

- What information is needed (on execution, cases, process and interprocess level) more about that [url=https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/does-new-gold-work-your-processes-emiel-kelly?trk=mp-reader-card]here[/url]

- What kind of supporting tools are needed

- What are external factiors (law, compliance) we have to be aware of

- etc

In short; BPM fundamentals. At least there is some fun in that ;-)

Sharing my adventures in Process World via Procesje.nl
@Bogdan's questions would be step 1, these would be step 2. Process landscape and process discovery.
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Patrick Lujan
Blog Writer
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Too high-level. Too abstract.
"Who gets it next?"
"And then what happens?"
"Who's paying for this?"
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 3 years ago
  3. #2565
That's only the workflow of a process.

But indeed, a little more detail :-)
and, in real life:
7. "Why not?"
8. "Why, why not?"
9. "Who??"
10. "Not me!"
@Bogdan, pretty much.
Spot the implementer!
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The simple answer to this question might be "just apply Peter Drucker's five questions directly to BPM"! (The five questions concern "mission", "customer", "customer value", "results" and "plan".) Here's a book that covers the material:


[url=http://www.amazon.com/Important-Questions-Organization-Institute-Foundation-ebook/dp/B004J4VVLU]The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization[/url]


But per the question let's go deeper regarding BPM specifically.


What are key questions that an executive might ask when embarking on a new BPM programme?


[b]What business are we in? Who are our customers? [/b]
This is the economic/strategic view (per Coase, Porter etc) definining the limit of our activites, our borders and our alliances.


[b]What work do we do to generate value for our customers? [/b]
Given our customers and our boundaries, what is our
-that-provides-customer-value that involves repetitive activites? (i.e. not projects). BPM concerns repetition.


[b]How do we improve? [/b]
What is our programme to get better and better at repetitive activities? Includes change and measurement.
[u]This is where we "get to live another day"[/u]


[b][quote][i]BPM is central to answering Peter Drucker's questions. [/i]


[u]Business necessarily involves repetitive work[/u]
, because of economics. And BPM is
technology of automation of repetitive work (and I include in this case work too). To only focus on the customer and what the customer needs is to fail; a business exists because it succeeds -- better than substitutes -- in
[u]executing the work necessary to satisfy customer needs[/u]
. You could say that the "journey" from business process to customer satisfaction and back is a
[u]virtuous round trip[/u]
, or a systems
[u]feedback loop[/u]
In my next life I want you to write all my school essays.
Great answer John! I particularly like the "How do we improve?"
I wouldn't say it’s the most important question to start with but it’s certainly one of the most important to follow up with. If you invest in automating a repetitive business activity and don't have a way of measuring the improvement, is it really an improvement?

I have a sad, but recent real world example for you. A technology company brought up concerns with size of investment they were making in manually "testing" changes to one of their products. The solution they had come up with was to automate the testing. I provided my feedback based on my experience, and that lead to me asking LOTS of questions about the testing process and the metrics that were available to them to support their initial concerns. Rather than getting into the details, they had already decided to purchase a 3rd party product and this was going to "solve their problems" by automating tests.

A year later I check-in out of curiosity to see how the automation was working and asked for metrics on the improvement.

The response I got was almost as if I had asked for their first born.
"Well..... (awkward pause) we don't have any metrics"
Long story short, come to find out they were no longer reporting hours against "manual testing" instead they had split how they reported their hours into "new automation tests" and "maintenance of automation tests". When you combine (License to 3rd party Product + new automation tests + maintenance of automation tests) = TotalCost. Total cost of the new approach was greater than total cost of "manual testing" but on the reports to the business those 3 individual line items were less than the previous 1 line item.

The theory being it would get cheaper over time.

Neat thing about the difference between theory and practice. In theory there is no difference. In practice there is.

All that to say, the right questions were not asked up front in this example AND no one thought about how to measure improvement.
  1. John Morris
  2. 3 years ago
  3. #2584
Terrific story Vernon on automating a process (in this case a testing process). And the "automated process was more expensive than the manual process" -- but with a lower testing volume I think? Perhaps the embedded or tacit knowledge of staff couldn't be ignored or automated quite so easily . . .
@Patrick LOL +1
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As the previous answers already covered “BPM as a discipline” related questions, I will list some questions about BPM-suite tool (also an integral part of BPM :).

- Do you possess a vendor-independent understanding of the BPM discipline, tools, practices and architecture?

- Do you understand how BPM helps to achieve organisational goals?

- Do you have an objective evaluation of the nature of your organisation’s business processes?

- Can you share the selection context?

- Do you have an explicit justification of the required BPM-suite characteristics?

- What is your selection funnel?

- Do you have some practical examples that can be implemented as proofs of concepts?

- Did you already plan the operationalisation of the selected BPM-suite?


And these questions would go betwixt Bogdan's and Emiel's. They'd be asked of the steering committee or (hopefully) PMO up front. But nay-nay I say.
@Patrick, I thought those questions are for architects ;)
  1. John Morris
  2. 3 years ago
  3. #2573
Last two items especially:

* "Practical examples for use cases" (which drive all-important "decision criteria" -- this is a particular interest of mine btw) and

* "Operationalization", i.e. are you committing resources and non-trivial management engagement?, because otherwise the programme will fail -- BPM and process MUST have management engagement, beyond mere "support".
@Patrick: there's a reason why these questions don't get asked upfront - they chase away the customers.

A far more effective sales pitch is to claim your technology can cure any illness they might have. That's what they want to hear. Oh and if you could do that great, highly rehearsed pin-up show of your colorful forms, you're done. Screw the implementation - leave it to them, because your tech is so powerful... it basically teaches them autonomously.
Hey Doc, yes they are, but they're in the room as the primary participants to the demand management pursuit and are the primary influencers on the criteria, drafting and subsequent weighting of those questions.
.@Bogdan, so I see you too have been in the room with the vendor. ;)
yes, as the customer! too many times!
I am with @John. " . . .committing resources and non-trivial management engagement" because, after all, the end game is

objectives -> strategy ->implementation on initiatives -> operations level decision support/tracking -> consolidation of run time data to KPIs/executive dashboards -> fine tuning of strategy.

Without "non-trivial management engagement", consolidated run-time data just sits there.
RE “* "Practical examples for use cases"” - This is very client-dependent issue (thus a good consultancy).

RE ” * "Operationalization” – even a better consultancy ;)
A classic IT department must be seriously “massaged” to realise the power of a BPM-suite tool. Practically all the IT functions must be “adjusted”.

- TCO calculation procedure
- Ecosystem policy
- Key technology partners policy
- Process-based security policy
Enterprise Architecture
- CUBE platform policy
- CUBE platform components policies
Business Service/Relations Managers
- “Management by processes” policy for the business
- Digitalisation strategy for each business unit
Business Analysts
- “Process first” analysis procedure
- Process-centric project management procedure
Application Architecture
- Microservice architecture
- API policies
- Identity services
- Authorization services
- Logging services
- Notification services
- Unique portal for process-centric solutions
Information management
- data re-use policy
User Experience
- Graphic chart policy
Application support
- 3rd parties clouds management
- troubleshooting for process-centric solutions
@Bogdan, RE "There's a reason why these questions don't get asked upfront - they chase away the customers." - what customer would you prefer: a) one which chased away because you told them all the complexity or b) one whcih tried and failed? (you may add other options of course)
@Alex: trick question :). Of course I'd work (and already have and do) with the ones who tried and failed. Shying away from complexity (or pretending to hide it under the magic wand of technology) does not make it go away. If anything it makes it harder to address.
@Bogdan, sure! The best client is whose who tried and failed by themselves or with another consultant.
@Patrick "the primary influencers on the criteria, drafting and subsequent weighting of those questions" - yes because, unfortunately, vendors avoid those questions. I usually infuse those questions into an BPM-suite selection RFP to see the bidder's answers and compare those answers with that the client needs.
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Me: Do you want to improve without changing?

Client: Yes

Me: [Run]
Great answer, Sandeep!
  1. Emiel Kelly
  2. 3 years ago
  3. #2588
And for $ 0,00, please
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Questions relating to the possible adoption of BPM?

Questions relating to the implementation of BPM?

Questions relating to ongoing use of BPM?

Questions relating to the effectiveness / impact of BPM?
I had a prof at uni who when asked "will the questions on the exam be the same as last year?
responded as follows.

"Yes, same questions, different answers"
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It's important to remember that business processes are a part of a larger business strategy and that as part of this strategy we need to see how they fit in with the bigger picture. BPM is part of well, a process, too. So we need to see how integrate our business processes into the larger business strategy and how we derive insights from the processes we manage and implement them to facilitate business growth.

So I guess the question is how do specific processes affect business growth?
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The CEO: Is this really going to deliver what I need to improve the over all performance of the business and support any operational changes that are needed?

The CFO: OK I get it but what is the cost and is the business really going to own its processes and not be locked into the complexity and cost of IT?

The Compliance Officer: Are you really telling me that I can rely on any compliance requirement being monitored real time with any report any time that I need to satisfy external regulators?

The Auditor: So you are going to be able to show me exactly how information is created in a model that you say is the actual application unlike the 70s where it was a flowchart where we just thought it reflected what was happening?

The “user”: Yea sure…. you expect me to believe that I can actually have a say in how I work and interact with “IT” systems?

As reassurance is given to all they look at each other and say "Why would you do it any other way"?

""Why would you do it any other way"?"


There are not any real options other that BPM if you are seeking efficiency and effectiveness - basically It's all about being able to do the right things, the right way, at the right time, using the right resources.

The problem is with the methods - they are not always user-friendly and each method, to an extent, does what it does well, but fitting all of the pieces together is a problem.

Problematic areas are

how do you formulate strategies (within the mission, how can do you make best use of corporate assets?);

how do you pick what appear to be the more promising initiatives when many initiatives are competing for scarce resources?;

how do you monitor progress toward operational goals/objectives?;

how do you consolidate run-time data to KPIs/dashboards so that you can challenge the data to make sure you are focusing on the right KPIs?;

when/how should you tweak your strategies?
I will answer your very relevant points in context of what I know how software can work to support people.

Fitting all pieces together requires clever in built orchestration which include people their roles linked to the tasks, use of legacy and the most important dynamic creation of the UI. All driven by a process engine.

Thinking BPM should not be restricted to the "departmental" mind set and so any corporate asset that is needed should be recognised and set up to be used. This might include what we call a value network crossings silo structures and may include informal work which should be supported. If choices need to be made just recognise and might even be able to apply rules for creation of an intelligent process.

Monitoring should be with real time reports which can readily support user or management decisions including ability reallocate work escalate etc if problems spotted.

All operational data created should be available real time to be presented in any format including linking to KPIs again where meaningful variations emerge apply rules to escalate etc

As for tweaking strategies probably only after operation trends or problems are investigated and reviewed
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Do we have the creativity and flexibility to learn a new way to solve problems?

What's our strategy for driving adoption?

...and, finally, and most importantly:

Can we do it without flowcharts?

Scott's opinions only. Logo provided for identification purposes only.
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1.What process is at hand and what does it achieve?

2.Who are the participants in the process and what are their roles? these are few questions that are important for BPM

  1. https://www.docup.in/
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