BPM from a Business Point of View

Scott Cleveland

Thanksgiving & Process Management

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It is the week of Thanksgiving, so many of us are spending a lot of time planning the Thanksgiving meal. Once the menu has been decided, the rest is about process.

When mapping a business process, you should discover the following:

-- Determine the activities that are to be performed

-- Determine who will be performing each activity

-- Determine what information they need to perform the activity

-- Determine what information they will create as a result of that activity, and

-- Identify where that information will be stored.

So  let's look at the Thanksgiving meal from a process management point of view.

Activities to be performed might include: 

-- Choose the menu/entrees

-- Choose the recipes that will be followed

-- Purchase the ingredients

-- Create a plan that includes the time to start cooking, the cooking order of the entrees, scheduling in time for the football game and determine who will cook which item

-- Gather ingredients for each dish and place at "stations"

-- Prepare and cook entrées

-- Serve entrées

-- Give thanks. 

Next, identify who will perform each activity. Gather what they will need to perform their activity (recipe, ingredients, station). Their output is an entrée, rather than information, and that output will be gratefully consumed.

Not only does this make preparing a Thanksgiving meal look complex, in fact, it is complex.  Complex and fattening...

This is a perfect example of a manual process.  Since you do this once or twice a year, it doesn't make sense to automate anything.  Certainly, you wouldn't buy software for this, but maybe you could buy a pumpkin pie or Paul Prudhomme's sweet potato pecan pie...

Happy Thanksgiving!

1 Comment

This is a great example of how the overhead of creating a business process can cost more than the value you get from it. It would be ridiculous to use BPM to automate your turkey day dinner.

You called it a "manual process." Indeed it is, but if you look closer, you will see that is it not completely without planning. When the cook puts the turkey in the oven, plans are made AT THAT TIME to do various activities, as well as a planed time to take it out. As the food cooks, a thermometer tells you if it one track or not, and many other cues (like color, crispness) that are hard to quantify, and would be impossible to write clear rules about, also effect the evolving plan.

This is a classic case of an emergent process, also known as an unpredictable process. The difference between this and a manual process is the difference between a good cook and poor cook. I hope that you, and everyone reading, had the experience of the good cook!

Scott Cleveland blogs about BPM from a business point of view.

Scott Cleveland

Scott Cleveland is a technical, innovative and creative marketing manager with more than 25 years of experience in marketing, marketing management, sales, sales management and business process consulting aimed at high-tech companies. His areas of expertise include: product marketing, solutions marketing, solution selling, sales maangement, business process management, business process improvement and process optimization. Reach him at RScottCleveland[at]gmail.com.

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