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When should a process be abandoned?

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From Frank Michael Kraft's blog, Dead or Alive, where he says, "A process (model) is dead, or doomed to death, if the effort/cost to maintain it -- i.e. to incorporate ongoing changes and adaptation -- is higher than the benefit that results from the changes. What do you think?

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  • Maybe because I'm Dutch I don't understand it so well.

    What is he talking about. A proces, a process model or both?

  • When it becomes self-aware.

  • Simple Law of Diminishing Returns, you'll reach a point where continually tweaking a process will no longer reap the benefits you once perceived.

    Unfortunately Frank's statements aren't very clear, wander into BPMN and saying that a 'process is dead' is nonsensical. It's more to do with reengineering, continuous improvement and the ROI of that effort, not the process itself or indeed Case Management as he ultimately tries to make his point on.

    Do we really need this kind of writing to muddy the waters even more ?
    I suspect not.

  • It makes sense. As soon as the financial benefits or perceived financial benefits dont meet the financial cost of maintenance, then that process is dead.

    However, ask yourself, if a process is costing so much to maintain why is it? Is the process at fault, or is your implementation / software you use to implement that process at fault? After all adaptive capabilities are now a necessity in todays highly agile and ever changing world...

    If your process is cheap to maintain due to your software or implementation or the fact it never changes, then a process is only dead once it no longer serves a business need or meets a business goal. Thats very different...

  • A process is an input (or inputs), some action (or actions) and then an output (or series or outputs). In our experience, most process outputs are a necessary part of the business and most of our customers can clearly articulate what they want coming out as the desired output. If the output is not necessary then certainly it can be abandoned. However, if the output is necessary then the important question is: Can the process be improved to produce the desired output or does it need to be completely redefined and then automated? We rarely run into processes that are not capable and need to be redefined, mapped and implemented. The most common problems we see are processes that are not properly supported by technology. As a result the output is inconsistent which results in rework and stakeholder dissatisfaction. Process improvement is a science, it takes work, it takes time and commitment from all levels of the organization. Changing a process is much easier than building a new process from end to end. If your organization does not have the expertise to determine if a process is capable then bring in an expert. They will be able to make the determination and advise on the best possible approach.

  • Most systems have significant barriers to ongoing change and adaptation, meaning that cost of change is often higher than the benefit, especially as you get into smaller cycles of change. This is exactly why governance matters as much as content, but is too often not the focus.

    There are three major cycles to getting content in place...gathering BPM data, assigning ownership (creating governance) and deployment to the masses for education and feedback. Without all three, a system is static and quickly becomes uninteresting.

    Why does this happen? Several reasons:

    - BPM is not given appropriate funding and resources http://bpmforreal.com/2011/10/30/just-put-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other-bpm/

    - Efforts are not centralized and executive-endorsed, so they are 'under the radar'. Under the radar projects don't have ownership/governance.

    I recently wrote a tongue-in-cheek article about this and more challenges:



  • When adopting Adaptive Case Management you should stop thinking of superimposed models on frequently changing processes in the first place. In terms of ROI it must be said that according to a Forrester study more than two thirds of process-automation solutions cost at least twice as much annually just for applying ongoing changes than the initial installation:


    So are these processes dead? Are the models dead? Is the whole calculation dead? And what or who should actually be abandoned?

  • There are probably many valid resons for not have a formal process for something. However I would think once you have a formal process the reasons for it to be abandoned would be when it is replaced by a new process or the process itself no longer helps achieve a business goal. All processes should be aligned to a corporate goal and should always be helping the people to achieve those goals. So in short "why should a business process be abandoned? " When it no longer helps a company achieve its stated mission and or goals.

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