Time for another of those blogs, where I come across things in life which mirror my experiences with Business Process Management (BPM) – this may be because, either
- I have spent too much time in the BPM arena and have become increasingly delusional, or
- BPM is akin to life itself
Paraphrasing the titular character in “Life of Pi” – which version do you prefer? 🙂
In this case, it was a rather momentous event – a month ago, I became the proud father of a bouncing baby boy and since then my life has been turned upside down.
The massive changes, we have had to make as a family, reminded me of the way an organization has to adapt when adopting BPM:
- Shift in priorities: From focusing on my individual needs and needs of my partner and close relatives, all our effort is now focused on this bundle of joy, and his sleeping cycles, as well as his rather frequent bodily functions. Similarly in an organization, the introduction of BPM will mean that there has to be a change in priorities – departments will have to collaborate closer, and focus needs to be on the process as a whole and not specific tasks for a particular department
- Expectation Setting: Many of us expect a baby will be gurgling and laughing and doing baby talk from Day 1, instead most of their time is spent in sleeping and feeding (and the discharge of that feed) interspersed with bouts of crying. Like babies, BPM takes time to mature and develop. People often expect miracles from the initial phase itself, but often that is putting in the basics, and it takes time to mature in order to meet expectations (in many cases lofty and misplaced expectations which have been set by BPM vendors but that’s an issue for another blog)
- Unexpected Outcomes: You are often told about how babies will disrupt sleep patterns, but less about how you would rather spend time on weekends, with the baby rather than playing Grand Theft Auto IV – not possible to do both simultaneously based on my experience 🙂 In the same way, BPM may give many of the outcomes desired, but may lead to some other unexpected changes, for instance in one call centre implementation, average call handling times went up – since agents were resolving issues in one call and not requiring follow-up calls. Users may also find previous (non-compliant) shortcuts in the process are no longer possible, post-BPM, resulting in the process taking longer
So for organizations looking to implement BPM, be prepared for some major upheaval but along with that will come many positive changes.
And for the final word, will leave with a related pearl of wisdom, from a former manager of mine – whenever a BPM implementation was missing pre-planned timelines, and the first suggestion from others was to add more people in order to crunch the timelines – he used to exclaim “a 9 month pregnancy does not mean that if we add 9 women it will be done within a month!”