Process 2.0 – Collaborative and Adhoc

Most Business Analysts have a reasonable idea about how to develop a Business Process. We don’t all do it the same way (far from it), however the general approach is usually much the same, it goes something like this…

  1. Gather requirements from the business
  2. Design and validate a process model
  3. Implement the new process with the business
  4. Move on ..

What will this look like in the world of Process 2.0?

I recently asked the BPM Collaboration community about Process and Google Wave (check out the forum thread to follow the discussion). Bernie Clark provided me with a link to a great YouTube video prepared by the SAP Research centre, it is titled “Gravity, the best example of Google Wave”. This is well worth 7 minutes. Well done to the research team for a quality presentation.

Using this kind of collaborative process development, the Business Analyst becomes more of a facilitator and educator about the way to build processes, without needing to get too involved in the business. With this kind of approach, an organisation would be capable of developing and deploying Business Processes in record time!

Add to this, adhoc process modelling. This concept, introduced to me as a new feature in the webMethods 8 product suite, provides the ability for knowledge workers to model processes as they are being executed. Generally there is marginal value in mapping a complex process that is not executed regularly, especially where human judgment is involved!

However, if you can capture the process as it is completed, then you can measure what has been done and learn from the experience in the future.

My first reaction to adhoc processes was, “It is hard enough to get people to map processes and execute them, what incentives would be needed to encourage adhoc mapping?”.

What if we mixed both collaborative and adhoc process modelling?

Free BPM?

A post on the BPM Insights Blog listing Free BPM Modelling Tools recently caught my eye.

Firstly I thought it would be good to have a simple list of all of the available tools, so I have compiled a list, see the Process Tools (Free) category on my Process on the Web page.

Secondly, it would also be good to compile reviews of these tools, as I have found it difficult to assess the value that I am going to receive using one of these tools. Therefore, I will be looking for existing reviews, or to review some of the tools myself, in upcoming posts.

Do you know of any free tools that I should add to the list?  Or do you have any good reviews (maybe one you wrote yourself) of a free Process Tool?

Back to Feed

After my recent hiatus I am planning a comeback!  I had not been involved in the BPM community over the last few months as I had heavy work commitments, that were not really BPM related (it was more like being a Systems Analyst).

However I have recently said goodbye to BHPBilliton to take up a BPM Consultant role at APA Group. This means that I will be back to thinking process. The better for you!

During the last few months I found it very difficult to keep track of all the different BPM postings across the internet. Jamie at BPM Collaboration had a great idea to create a page that displayed a summary of BPM blog sites; however you have to open his page directly to read it. I was looking for an aggregated source that could be accessed easily during my day, on the train, on my phone!

So I created BPMBlogs. BPMBlogs is a Twitter account that provides a summary of BPM blogs postings. You can follow this account on Twitter and see what is being posted to the BPM Blog space as part your regular reading.

You can also access the combined BPM Blogs as a Yahoo Pipes Feed, if you want to read the entries directly or import the feed into your own RSS reader.

Check it out!  It is still a work in progress, so let me know what you think – What sites should I add to the list?

note: I did have to remove some sites that I originally wanted to add as their RSS feeds were not compatible with Yahoo Pipes!

Process Days Conference Program available

Get Set!  The program for Leonardo Process Days 2009, August 3-6, in Sydney Australia, has been released. Check it out!

I am really looking forward to this conference and I would love to share a drink and a story with you. You can register now on the Leonardo website. Let me know if you are going; as I would like to share our thoughts and expectations leading up to, and after the event.

Are you going?  Add a comment to let me know what you would like to get out of the conference or why you may not be attending this year?

Where’s the Customer?

How is process demonstrated in Real-Life?  In a good way – a magnificent moment, or more commonly like this…

Last week I had my first “And they call that a process!” moment since I started this blog, it has only taken a few weeks for this to happen.

There I was, minding my own business, doing my daily check of my Post Office Box. One of the contents was a non-descript – window faced envelope. Thinking it was a bill, or boring government mail I did not open it and left it for later processing. (Coincidentally I also dropped into the bank that day to deposit a cheque, something that I don’t do very often – why is this relevant? You will see)

Later that night I opened the letter to find a Remittance Advice and attached cheque for $3.70. It was from the South Australian Government, Motor Registration Office (note that the last time we paid car registration was over 6 months ago).

There was no letter explaining the remittance, the description did not tell me anything, it just said “Other”.

My question for you (especially if you work in a process area at Motor Registration) is, Where is the customer in this process? Why did you send me a cheque for such a small amount, putting me through the effort to bank it and the associated intrigue, definitely reducing the value that I get from your processes?

The unfortunate part is that no-one will probably be very surprised by this example. Do you have a similar story to share?

What should come first, AS-IS or TO-BE?

Most process modelling methods start with analysis of the existing processes, an as-is model.  One of the challenges with as-is modelling is deciding how much work to do.  Very detailed as-is models can be time consuming (costly) and may drain the organisations tolerance for Process Management activities very quickly.

As-is modelling can also be quite hit-and-miss as the analysts try to decipher what the current process actually looks like, this can often be because there is not a single as-is process, there are many.

The main purpose of an as-is model is to give a Process Project the information it needs to work out where improvements are needed and what is the starting point for change?

On the other hand, to-be modelling is a description of future desired processes. To-be modelling requires analysts to be creative in solving problems and designing processes to achieve business outcomes, often with not so perfect information about what the organisation wants to achieve.

I find it fascinating to sit in a room and watch a selection of staff have a to-be model presented to them, you can see the defences rise – and everyone thinks it is not going to work – for different reasons.

So it doesn’t sound like either will work? not true.

My approach is to start with high-level to-be modelling. This often involves developing a future state, Process Architecture – aligning the organisations strategic goals with it’s process management goals. Further detail can be added about key processes in the form of IGOE Process Scope models  (more on these in future posts).

When agreement has been reached on the future state, then we can go back and look at the as-is. This is limited to the processes that will transition into the new architecture and only to the level of detail required to find the areas of process improvement and develop the change plan to implement the new to-be models.

With this approach there are plenty of stops along the way to make sure that everyone is in agreement.

When you do Process Modelling, which type of analysis do you do first? How effective is it?