BPM success requires visibility

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To be successful, BPM interventions need to give clear and immediate feedback. This is according to Gordon Institute of Business Science senior lecturer, Dr Helena Barnard.

Barnard will be one of the speakers at the upcoming ITWeb BPM Summit, to be held at Vodaworld in Midrand on 14 and 15 September.

On the question of why many BPM initiatives fail, she says: “Many powerful organisational routines are not 'visible', in the sense that they represent the informal practices that people use to get the job done.

“When a BPM implementation process focuses only on the formal processes and not on these informal practices, it misses some of the most powerful organising mechanisms in the enterprise. The new BPM process is at risk of being ignored as much as the old formal process was ignored.

“People want to succeed at their work, and when a new BPM process is introduced, there is always the risk that people will be unable to perform according to the new expectations,” Barnard adds.

“Even when the purpose of a BPM intervention is to simplify life, people do not know it until they have tried it - and in trying, the risk is that they may not succeed. Therefore, successful BPM implementations are designed to make it easy for people to succeed.”

Barnard feels that good BPM interventions give very clear and immediate feedback to people about progress.

“The goal of the project is made clear upfront, and people can constantly track their own progress against that goal. This obviously means that the goals of the BPM intervention must be clear and measurable.”

While she concedes it is difficult to measure factors such as faster processing, Barnard says it is essential to have both a baseline measure and a target to ensure the hoped-for improvements take place. While less tangible outcomes, such as reduced frustration, can be mentioned in the overall project objectives, they are not measurable enough to be helpful during implementation.

Barnard concludes: “The feedback towards goals should not sit in the hands of a few key decision-makers, but should be accessible and visible to all stakeholders. People can self-manage and adapt if they can see the consequences of their actions. Building in such visibility into the BPM initiative is critical.”

Click here for more information about ITWeb's BPM Summit.

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