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The Recipe for a Successful BPM Project
Jacqi Levy 270003E0DF JALEVY@US.IBM.COM | | Tags:  project requirements implementation business_process_manageme... bpm
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After getting a couple of BPM projects under my belt, I started to wonder if I had come closer to devising the recipe for a successful BPM project. The recipe that I have come up with may not perfect, but I think I am approximating closer to a palatable one, and also, to identifying the ingredients that if omitted, can make it all go wrong.
The key ingredients: BPM project essentials
Product is of course a key ingredient. Pick a market leader, but keep in mind that product is just one of many important elements. The success of your final solution will be just as dependent upon the product as on how you use it. The analogy is that you are buying a factory that manufactures cars; the quality of the car it produces does not depend on the equipment alone. There are other variables, including the employees and the specifications for the car, at play.
Requirements. Most requirements have a process, but not every process is suitable for BPM. For example, an eCommerce process which involves adding items for purchase to a basket and paying for them is a process, but it is not a suitable process for BPM. In contrast, the process for returning and sending back purchased items, receiving them, verifying them, and approving refunds to the customer, is.
BPM is suitable for stringing together multiple transactions across system and human actors, to complete a long running process. For each transaction there may be a specialist system best suited to complete that transaction. BPM does not replace these specialist systems, it merely ties them together. Do not succumb to pressure to have BPM do what it should not be doing, just because it seems it can.
Mindset. Know what you expect to get out of your BPM project. BPM is about process optimization and improvement, but it works only if you have the mindset to accept and apply the rigor and discipline that comes with it. You must be prepared to subject your processes to a fine grained visibility of performance.
Top Down Buy-In. Your project will not succeed if the vision at the executive level is unclear at operations level. When that happens, your BPM project will struggle and the benefits will lag the investments. The people on the ground who will be using BPM must buy into the rationale for BPM. Don't mass produce before they have.
The recipe: Bake it all together, or struggle to blend later
BPM requirements constitute:
As with many a recipe, the timing at which the ingredients are added can be critical. Unless all of the elements of your BPM project are defined at the outset, you can end up playing catchup, or worse, derailing the entire project. Addressing the requirements will involve stakeholders from different parts of the organization, including IT and line of business. It is critical that these stakeholders are on board and engaged throughout the project.
The executive chef: Find your BPM champion
SMEs who understand process improvement are MANDATORY. Having bright business analysts and architects trained on BPM helps scale, but not deliver. Having a consulting or delivery partner can help you bring thought leadership to the table and drive the BPM mindset with stakeholders. Otherwise, you may get started down the road towards a grand vision but wind up in a place that looks pretty much like the as-is.
The test batch: Cook a few tasters before you feed the party
It is important to have a few use cases exploring the idea of BPM from end to end built early on. Demonstrators can be a powerful means of proving, influencing and getting buy in from those who may be skeptical about your project.
Do you agree? What is your recipe for a successful BPM project?