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Is developing a process mindset important for BPM success?

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Anne StuartA recent "pocket guide" from Harvard Business Review Press says "You and your team can create enormous value for your company by adopting a process mindset." Do you agree on the importance of a developing a process mindset? If so, what should that mindset be?

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  • Absolutely. No question. Opportunities for process innovation and automation abound in every organization. A process mind-set helps you to 1) spot the opportunities, 2) convince others they exist, 3) persuade executives to invest in change, and 4) manage the change. Executive committment is huge. If execs are not process-aware, then they are less likely to invest financially (getting and training the resources) and emotionally (making sure everyone is onboard). Change can happen at the grass-roots level (those guys slogging away on broken processes do have voices), but unless the grassroots yells loud enough or finds an upstart plebe with the guts to confront/convince management, opportunities for value creation rest on executive mindset. I hope that MBA programs are teaching BPM principles.

  • Seems like a no-brainer, Peter! Process mindset is, indeed, the key ingredient of BPM success - of organizational effectiveness.

    The Process mindset demands visibility into what's happening, is always looking for better ways to do things, asking questions on whether you're doing the right thing, and leveraging the organizational assets for the outcome intended.

    A must for any organization, whether in the garb of BPM, or not!

  • Absolutely - but it's a process improvement culture that delivers sustainable success.

    'Culture eats strategy for breakfast' - as someone tweeted from the Gartner Symposium yesterday.

    A handful of people with a process mindset can catalyse a culture change, but ultimately it won't go anywhere without exec leadership.

    Whereas a culture that is process mature and focussed on continuous improvement - and enabled by an enterprise-wide collaborative framework - can deliver strategy and sustainable benefits. Which is ultimately BPM success.


  • A process mindset is important, but businesses will get the most out of this mindset if they already have a handle on their "service mindset". Their business capabilities should be understood and represented as reusable services (whether they are done by people, applications, or people using applications). Once you have that, then a process mindset can be used to leverage those services to create processes that can be monitored and easily modified to improve efficiency or to take advantage of new business capabilities over time.

    Without a services mindset, newly created executable processes will be as frozen as any stove-pipe application that was not created using processes.

  • Not so long ago I would have said, yes, this is obvious...

    However, I am shifting my thoughts now to a more holeistic approach...I think process needs to only be something you think of after other things. So its more important to have a mindset of:

    1. End users and their actual tasks
    2. Empowering the end user
    3. Providing as much freedome to the user within the regulation of their tasks
    4. Engagement
    and 5. Process

    I think this mindset enables IT to deliver more value to the business and the users who use your solutions. However, is this part of BPM, or is BPM simply only a small part of this thinking...I think the later...

  • Of course a process mindset is critical to the success of any BPM project. The whole point of BPM is to create workflows by which companies can manage their internal business processes. One of the most difficult and necessary tasks in planning for BPM is identifying the tasks which can be automated and the steps that comprise each task in order to create a specific process.

    Maintaining a process-centric mindset will not only improve the chances of BPM success but will improve the business in general by helping employees understand how their organization functions, determine which processes have the most influence over others, and identify areas of resource waste.

  • A process mindset and culture is very important to the success of BPM.

    But the challenge is to make sure a process mindset is not a set of process-colored goggles. We see more and more that BPM projects are one offs because the BPM solution or project do not give management a cross-organization view of how key processes are related to the people, information, systems, and goals of the organization.

    Combining a process mindset with other disciplines, like business architecture, allow an organization to clearly see these relationships in a structured fashion. This visibility guides the process driven organization to focus on the processes that are most likely to add value or edge the organization closer to its goals.

  • Does a one-legged duck swim in circles?

  • Good points from Andrew and Greg about combining a process mindset with other disciplines. In some sense, this is similar to mastering a chess game, which requires an understanding of how to “play? all chess mates in the right direction and in the right sequence. The process mindset is the most powerful chess mate and often an inexperienced chess player (including me many years ago) is trying to play only the queen.

    My teaching of the process mindset is based on the following:
    - Make the coordination EXPLICIT
    - Organise business artefacts (rules, roles, data, documents, services, capabilities, etc.) around coordination
    - Use the same language to express coordination for communication with different people
    - Explain to them how coordination (together with other artefacts and “chess mates?) will address their concerns
    - Make the coordination EXECUTABLE


  • It depends on the level of maturity of both the organization and its "processes". If it is a new area, and everything is emerging - applying a process mindset too early will cause people to see and codify a process before it is really understood - an almost sure recipe for failure.

    For mature organizations and processes - sure.

    Jacob Ukelson- CTO ActionBase

  • Yes, developing a process is very important for BPM success. Managing your business processes is an ongoing activity. Change is the only constant - people leave their jobs, people transfer, and new people constantly come on board.

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