A great session on Lean Thinking?

In the previous post I referred to the Adelaide BPTrends Forum session that I attended, presented by Professor Peter Hines. I want to elaborate on what I got out of the session.

1. It is important to understand the fundamentals of the business and it’s strategy – common-sense management.

2. It is vital to understand how the business creates value for it’s customers. Customer surveys often focus on the products or services offered, not the experience that created the real value for the customer. Quite often organisations are not very clear about who their real customers are!

3. A good understanding of strategy and customer value leads to the ability to select to improve the processes that will be critical to achieving the organisations aims.

4. Detail this in a Purpose Statement, a practical communication about What we will do, How we will do it and What the outcome will be, including what the Critical Success Factors are and are we measuring the right metrics to achieve them?

Now the Process Improvement work can begin –

5. Understand the problem, what is the root cause and what opportunities exist to improve.

6. Ensure you have the right level of support. If Senior Managers are not behind the initiative and eager for success, then sucess is always going to be a big challenge.

Overall, a great session.

What has happened to common sense management?

Professor Peter Hines gave an excellent presentation on Lean Thinking to 30 BPM practitioners at the Adelaide BPTrends forum tonight.

Peter’s presentation covered a case study, demonstrating how a company used Lean Thinking to create a new strategic direction, execute organisational change and redesign their processes for greatly improved outcomes.

What struck me during the discussion was that the analysis and decision making techniques used were not ground-breaking, not proprietary and definitely not special. The techniques used were mainly common sense strategic management – understanding vision, setting goals, performing the analysis and executing change.

The only difference to what I got taught in the MBA unit on Strategic Management was to start the strategic process with obtaining a clear idea of how the organisation could create real value for their customers.

So the question for me was, has the wave of Process Management ideologies, tools and systems led senior managers to think they can achieve all the benefits of a Process Centric organisation without undertaking common sense strategic management?

Every Business Process Management project should be part of a Strategic Management initiative to assist the senior manager to change their organisation or business unit. The senior manager still needs to lead the development of strategy and execute organisational change, Process Improvement methods simply provide a new efficient and effective way to help achieve the desired outcomes.

Peter has setup a Lean Enterprise group on LinkedIn – “Lean Enterprise Australia & New Zealand”. I was very impressed with Peter’s presentation. Thanks to Ben Haigh (BPTrends Adelaide coordinator) and the University of South Australia for organising the event.

Australian BPM Community

We Australians are making a strong contribution to the Business Process Management body of knowledge, however I could be biased being an Aussie and in the field!

If you would like to learn more about the Australian BPM community, here is a summary of what is on offer. (I am sure that I will not cover everything here, please let me know if there are other items that can be added).

BPTrends Forums

A great place to start is your local BPTrends Forum. These user groups are a coming together of BPM practitioners, consultants and vendors to hear about and discuss BPM topics of interest. Generally each forum will meet bi-monthly and will include a presentation of a case study, research or concept, discussion on the topic and will usually round-off with refreshments and networking.

There are BPTrends forums in most capital cities (Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane), to find out about your local forum, contact the national coordinator, Imre Hegedus, or check out the events page on Imre’s website.

Other Forums

There are other forums that cover Business Process Management, such as the Australian Business Analysts Association (ABAA). I am not a member, and have not been to a meeting (although I hope to rectify this), so I will update you when I know a little more. (If you have your own review, send it to me and I will post it).

QUT and BPM Roundtable

A key contributor to the development of BPM in Australia is the Business Process Management group at QUT. There is a significant amount of research being done in the group and they collaborate well across the spectrum of the BPM community and a really good part of this is the BPM Roundtable for which they facilitate.

The BPM Roundtable has been bringing the leading BPM practitioners and thought leaders in Australia together on a quarterly basis for nearly 4 years. Through it’s invited membership, it maintains a high quality of interaction, sharing and collaboration on BPM. I personally have found it a very rewarding group to work with and it has opened the door to a higher level of knowledge about the practical application of BPM in Australian organisations.


To tie it all together, the bpm-collaboration.com website has been created. The objective of this site is to bring together the members of the Australian BPM Community to share knowledge and collaborate on BPM areas of interest. The “collaboration” aspect is the key component and members are expected to contribute to the development of content on BPM topics, as well as use the site as a reference and networking tool.

Accordingly bpm-collaboration.com contains a interactive knowledge base, areas to post questions and comments, video snapshots and information about presentations, articles and events. The initial work of the BPM Roundtable (a process framework called “The Process of Process Management”) has been moved to BPM collaborations for further development.

To access the site you need to be registered and you will need to be invited by a member of the community (send me an e-mail if you need an invitation).

BPM Networks

Finally, it will be great to meet up at the BPM forums or related conferences and maintain your relationships afterwards by keeping in contact and contributing to the groups and blogs available on-line. Besides my site, LinkedIn has a number of well connected BPM groups and the Question and Answer section is great for researching particular topics. Feel free to connect to me on LinkedIn to check out my groups and questions.
Let me know if this has been useful, I would like to hear about your experiences.

The Process Executive

I regularly have a conversation, either socially or professionally, that starts when the following questions is asked;

“Craig, what do you do?”, for which the answer is;

“I’m a Process Improvement Specialist”.

This is usually followed by a long pause, and then the inevitable, “What do they do?”

This is where I get to test my companions patience as I explain the various facets of Process Improvement and Business Process Management and how my role can be involved in improving the steps of a process all the way to leading organisational strategy.

Therefore the objective of this, and subsequent communications, is to better understand the roles around Business Process Management and allow me to better answer the above question and be invited back to more social gatherings.

So, how am I going to do this?

Well, I am glad you asked. The objectives of this site will be;

* To present commentary on BPM subjects that promote others to think and comment.
* To provide a summary of resources across the web, sites, blogs, articles, tools, groups and conferences.
* To link people who are thinkers in the field.

So, what are you going to do?

Join in!  Provide feedback, share your thoughts, comment, discuss or even write your own article – I’m more than happy to share all views!

If all goes well, I am also planning to produce a BPM Podcast series, interviewing leaders in the field to cover the topics that we are all interested in. If you would be interested in the podcast, let me know, especially if you have a suggestion for people to interview.

On with the show, as I get researching and writing, let me know about yourself

* Connect to me on LinkedIn
* Subscribe to this page
* Send me an e-mail to craig@processexecutive.com