Streamline your BPM initiatives: 5 quick tips

Editor's Note: In "Keep it simple: Cut the complexity out of BPM," ebizQ contributor Alan Earls discusses strategies for keeping BPM projects from mushrooming out of control. Here, he offers additional advice for simplifying BPM initiatives—and improving your chances for success.

1. Let business lead the charge. The best BPM initiatives are process-driven, with business taking the leading role, says Craig Le Clair, a Forrester Research vice president and principal analyst. If business doesn't engage and shape the project from the get-go, it's likely to result in false starts and changes in direction.

2. Provide the right environment. Be sure your organization has the right level of process maturity and a culture of change that will support successful BPM simplification, says Le Clair. "Process maturity will help identify the best processes to focus on and the right way to do it—and thus make it simpler to implement BPM," he says.

3. Keep stakeholders smiling. If those involved don't feel good about the effort, that can complicate matters as well. Proper change management—for instance, clearly communicating how a process change will affect participants' work lives—will go a long way toward ensuring positive attitudes and removing possible barriers.

4. Be flexible, but have a plan. BPM is naturally agile. It lends itself to a spiral project approach, where you do a bit, then validate, and then do a bit more. But if you do that without a framework and an idea of the end state, according to Nathaniel Palmer of the Workflow Management Coalition, "scope creep becomes inevitable—and also hard to identify until it's too late."

5. Create a common language. Among the most basic issues for controlling a BPM project is coming up with an agreement about terminology. Taking that step ensures that you're describing things not only in a consistent way but with consistent meaning. It's easy—and all too common—for organizations to think they're moving toward a common goal, only to discover fundamentally different points of view that can send them all the way back to the drawing board.

About the Author

Alan Earls, a journalist who specializes in writing about technology and business, is based in the Boston area.

More by Alan Earls, ebizQ Contributor