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How would you improve BPM standards?

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An issue that came up in last week's forum, What is the biggest challenge facing BPM? where Theo Priestly said, "BPM doesn't even have a de-facto standard or methodology yet," while David Bressler stated, "If anything, there's a challenge that there are too many standards BECAUSE there are too many audiences."  So how would you improve BPM standards?

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  • Simple. Stop being divisive and start being collaborative.

    I tried to tie a couple of vendors who run their own BPM University offerings with so-called independent BPM Councils in an attempt to blend practitioner theory and hard practice with tools so there was representation from both sides, and people could learn how the business and technology aspects of BPM can both work together and independently for organisational improvement and strategy.

    Sadly it was the practitioner end who were the resistant party to the table.

    I'm still willing to tie this together if it helps create a common message for BPM and methodology.

    The gauntlet has been thrown.....

  • The methodology or standard needs to appeal to the audience, and that's BPM's biggest challenge. The way a mechanic looks at a car is far different from how a driver looks at it, and for good reasons. The mechanic has information that would confuse and turn off those who don't need the same level of detail. BPM is such a broad topic that the audience ends up being...everyone. To meet the usability requirement there needs to be multiple ways of seeing business outcomes.

    There's another whole message around the outcome needed by each member of the audience: It isn't the same. That's another story for another question.

  • Why have "BPM standards"? A "standard" like BPMN could apply in some scenarios but it certainly shouldn't be a standard for any process. Provide options. Are we telling business users with their process requirements that there is really only one standard way to approach their process requirements? There isn't and they don't have to. If there is any "BPM standard", it should be simplicity. One size does not fit all...

  • If we mean Business Process Modeling, I would work along three main directions:
    - removing implicitness in modeling languages
    - removing any possible subjective interpretation of modeling artefacts and patterns (first step: try to avoid multiple variants of notation for defining the same thing)
    - removing any possible variability in generation of interchange formats (think to XPDL and all the dialects that different producers use)

  • It's almost as if a non-profit entity with no real skin in the game is needed to define and develop some standards based on actual research and finding out what works best.

    I may know someone... Theo, let's connect. I'll reach out directly. (Gauntlet caught.)

  • I think we need at least three standards there: the process design language, the process execution engine API and the human task engine API.

    I think BPMN is good enough for vendors to drop XPDL and their own languages in the next-gen of their products. I also think OMG is a good home for such an important standard.

    The APIs are in a much worse shape.


  • Peter, Thanks for the quote ;-)

    Everyone,

    Good conversation, as always. I'd like just +1 what Chris Taylor said above.

    I will say, again, as a vendor, if I hear someone talking about BPMN as "the" BPM standard, my "attitude" and approach will be to think of that person as technical, and unaware of the business side of things (or how the business needs to view the world). That doesn't mean, of course, that the person has no business sense! It does mean that they don't have an appreciation for how little technical knowledge non-techies have, and how quickly technical-speak turns off those same people.

    There is a very big gap between "us" and "them" (categorize yourselves appropriately!).

    I do think, however, that there's an opportunity with the right underlying infrastructure around Business Processes, to simply have a good presentation on the data for the appropriate audience.

    The challenge is that different standards have different "requirements", so a person building a model in EPC format, for example, won't necessarily be able to enter all the information to successfully turn that into a syntactically correct BPMN model. So, you'd want both governance and workflow as part of the underlying infrastructure to ensure completeness and collaboration. In my opinion, of course.

    What I really think would be valuable, would be actual university training along these lines. Frankly, I've not looked, but I did see ads recently for a "business intelligence degree" at Steven's Institute of Technology (Hoboken, NJ, USA) which I thought was a sign that BI is really developing as a discipline. The same should happen for Business Processes, in a way that combines a technical understanding along with a business understanding so that someone from a project office, can actively guide their organization to make it (more) process-centric.

  • I have to agree with Theo, collaboration is key and should be standard, and also concur with Dave's idea that simplicity needs to be a standard as well. I did see a short discussion on Twitter however that simplicity is not a standard, but an attribute. Either way, I think it needs to become a "standard" ie requirement of BPM.

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