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Should an enterprise ever consider having someone dedicated full-time to BPM?

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Noted by Sandy Kemsley at the recent Gartner BPM conference: "It's difficult to find BPM-skilled resources: there's a shortage of skills not just within some organizations, but in the market in general. In many cases, BPM is not a full-time job for someone within an organization, but a set of skills that they need to apply in the context of other work." So do you think an enterprise should ever consider having someone dedicated full-time to BPM?  If so, at what point does it make sense?

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  • Like I said in a recent post on BPMredux, "BPM is for every man", so in turn, it's not a case of having just one person dedicated full-time to BPM but educating the 100% of the organisation to think process 100% of the time.

    No need for a 'CoE' with just a few people dedicated when you can have a BPM 'EoE' (Enterprise of Excellence) with everyone involved.

  • BPM could become a full time job as part of larger and longer enterprise developments such as xSigma or EA. For the rest, a Business Analyst could do the job.

  • Two thoughts...there needs to a leader of any initiative. Those that are very strategic fall on the C-level, so in that sense, there needs to be someone who finds BPM to be critical to the organization, even if not full time.

    From a CoE perspective, I tend to agree: A BPM CoE with a few people dedicated can quickly becomes an island of process geek speak. There need to be dedicated BPM evangelists in the business. A network of excellence (NoE)?

  • Having attended the Gartner BPM Summit in Baltimore last week I paid particular attention to the success stories through a special lens. My lens was focused not on the technological aspects of the success but rather on the process behind implementing process.

    What I saw through that lens was a combination of all of the above in every successfully large-scale implementation. A key full-timer who fully engages the entire organization as contributed by Theo. A dedicated BPM project office (call it whatever you would like) where energized colleagues can go discuss and validate their needs and concepts. And total buy-in all the way from the shop floor to the boardroom.

    In all wildly successful BPM initiatives you will find these three ingredients as common denominators. While in each case there may be others that further fortify success no case examined was lacking any of these. Bottom line...tool platforms are wonderful but possessing the skilled and time-dedicated talent to implement is every bit as necessary.

  • I somewhat agree with Theo here on this one, but that is more of a longer term vision. I think you have to start somewhere, 1 person dedicated is a start. However that person needs to start to recruit others who can jump on the process bandwagon and really start to build out that momentum. Establishing a good Center of Excellence (COE) i think is that next step and is very important to also breed success and get that momentum built. So in short yes, I do think organization HAVE to start with dedicating someone to BPM

  • Yes. This person is the CEO. Also, this person should be the Chief Enterprise Architect. Right?

  • Minimum 1 full time evanlegelist to help champion the cause throughout the organization and help be a mentor and trusted advisor.

    Minimum 1 full time to monitor runtime processes to find opportunities for optimization and improvements.

  • My answer is emphatically Yes. There should not only be one but a full team of full-time people if you really want to be successful.

    Let me give you an example. A mid-sized insurance company has one full-time developer and one full-time business analyst. However, they did not have a full-time project manager who could help engage management to tie work to business objectives and get executive committment to push forward with automation. So even though there were talented people in place to do work there was a gap between executive management and team resources to move forward with application deployment and change management.

    BPM projects need the following team members:
    - Engineers/Developers
    - Business Analysts (analysts schooled in BPM methodologies as well as SME analysts should be added)
    - Project Managers
    - Executive Champion
    - Process owner

    Other roles include:
    - Solution architect
    - Visionary
    - Program Manager

  • An organization only needs full-time, dedicated BPM people/person if it wants to implement process change.
    Not only does an organization need the momentum it provides but equally as important is the standardization of the approach that becomes critical. In organizations where process improvement teams come and go with the start and completion of projects, the efforts are rarely permanently implemented and people within the organization will view process improvement/BPM as "just another initiative". Each project must start all over again with explaining process and the critical need for a process focus due to the fact that without constant focus on process, there isn't really a "process focus" and whatever work is done will fail to bring the kind of change possible if the organization were truly attempting to be a process centric organization. In addition, there is little hope of actually increasing the maturity level of an organizations processes without constant attention and a long range plan.

    Successfully implemented BPM is not an "initiative", it's a strategy. Any successful strategy requires a vision, mission, goals, objectives, tactics, etc. and these don’t happen if there isn’t a formal organization to implement and support them.

    Finally, I'm in total agreement with Theo, you "must" educate absolutely everyone about process.

  • Beware of the vendor that tells you you need a BPM team of over 8 members! Yikes.

    Yes, it's sometimes valuable to have a couple of full-time BPM folks. As Theo suggests, though, most people working with BPM should be out in the business units, where BPM is part, but not all, of their job. It's useful to have a bit of a central BPM resource in some enterprises, to help leverage the company's investment in BPM. But it's not required: each business unit can easily deploy and operate its own right-sized BPM solution without centralized resources.

    If I could suggest a follow-up question to this one, it would be: should BPM be deployed top-down or bottom-up? (Hmmm, we may have had that one in the past now that I'm thinking of it.) That decision will to some extent drive this one.

  • The kind of BPM that Gartner and Forrester now promote at their events and thus all vendors now 'have' or rather market is no longer the orthodox kind but rather enables the business to use social and mobile to participate in process creation. It sounds like what we started with ACM three years ago but is in most cases at best ad-hoc and not adaptive.

    This ACM kind of BPM must be defined top-down from the CEO and executives through explicit objectives, outside-in to target the explicit customer experience and outcomes, inside-out from the VPs to focus on KPIs, and bottom-up from process owners and performers to execute at will and turn that AS-IS into goal-oriented templates. By adapting these processes over time to improve the goals fulfillment the organisation itself optimizes and innovates. IT and programmers must only define the data backend once and supply the technology platform. They must not be involved in creating the processes. Process coaches are business people who have the responsibility to select from the real world execution the elements they want to reuse. They should report to the process owner.

    Centralizing always creates rigidity and bureaucracy and the same is true for BPM. Empowering people and decentralzing always creates dynamics. Now tell me what any business needs these days ... Not a process center of excellence. That name sounds as if it was invented by the communist party.

  • BPM is like a soccer. You need the complete team to create a (sustainable) successful result. Within the team you have different roles, but you all need them.

    Communication (about the process goals and everyones' role) is the most important for making it a succes. If a soccer team doesn't communicate it will not run that smooth. The trainer (process manager) can facilitate that.

    The owner of the soccerclub (the ceo) must be willing to invest in becoming a better soccerteam. Spend time on training, making clear the goals, etc)

    So please, don't make one person (or a team) responsible for BPM. They will end up as 'those annoying process guys in that room with all the process maps on the wall'

    Actually it is strange that we think in a way like you can implement BPM. Every company is already doing bpm. Maybe not that well, but teamwork and communication on the expectation and everyone's role, can make it better.

    No tool out of the MQ (read: expensive soccer gear) can do that for you ;-)

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