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Insights for a BPX! 



Keeping in view that BPM is about better interaction of people, process and technology, and assuming that understanding of process approach by people is critical to adoption of BPM in companies, this blog is about certain ways to engage people to enable them to know more in this direction.

Best description!

The best description of a process would come up spontaneously when someone is blamed for lack of results!

They would say, ‘It's not a magic. It is a prooocess!'

They would mean' It takes time. Because, it involves diverse entities. It involves interconnected activities.'

They would be right and their understanding may be appreciated and refined further there upon!

If opportunity is provided to learn...

People also describe their process well if they are provided with the new software for this purpose. They want to use it and show their competency! We used ‘FLOW' way back in 1997 and it was very encouraging to allow the departmental personnel to learn the software as well as to make them describe their processes and thereby educate them on process approach.

Now with further improved software people would certainly come forward to use and benefit by it to depict their processes and understand it better; especially if what they prepare finds a place in a manual or portal for reference by others, of course with provision for authorship, and approval.

A forum to highlight their processes

In addition if the department is provided a forum to describe their processes and how they contribute to the overall process of the company, they do it very willingly. If they also get an opportunity to highlight their best practices or the improvements they have gained, it makes them all the more eager to describe their processes!

BPX, an archeologist!

A BPX may, in some companies, have to act like an archeologist too! In the sense, that like for an archeologist even a small broken bone would do and he would build the whole structure and describe its functions and so on, the BPX may be able to build around whatever little or one running process in the company and make the people understand process approach by profiling the process.

Profiling a process

The profile of a process may involve:

  • - Title of the process
  • - Purpose
  • - Roles
  • - Responsibilities
  • - Authorities
  • - Inputs
  • - Process steps
  • - Outputs
  • - Procedures, including reference to any Work Instructions, Standards, Guidelines
  • - Monitoring plan
  • - Parameters for Measurement
  • - Key Performance Indicators
  • - Principles involved such as quality, customer satisfaction and such others, specific to the department.
  • - Values, the company promotes, as appropriate to its sector

There could be others too, different and few in number. It would depend upon the competency level and requirement of the people involved.

Enables to think of excellence

The Monitoring and measuring activity would slowly lead them to seek excellence, as the target would get revised progressively. This would be an important outcome.

Process steps incorporating related principles and values

Every process would promote certain principles and values with in-built steps. It may be efficiency, effectiveness, quality, systematic approach, customer satisfaction and so on. They may be different for different organizations.

This would be an interesting understanding. It would also make one understand the time to be taken for processing as well as the importance of timing of an output.

Suppose then we say: ‘ "Principles-in-process" means the ongoing (temporal) discovery of the meaning of principles, for only in process (that is, over time) do their meanings emerge. It means keeping principles rooted in one's temporal consciousness, not treating them as entities (‘unity', ‘the Absolute') existing independent of consciousness. For process wisdom, after all, is an attitude and action of persons. Principles exist in a person's processes of relating to the world." (P.B.Vaill)

This would be intelligible and interesting too to them and the relevant principle would find its place in reality. The espoused principle and the principle in action would align - a major benefit from process approach. It is this realization that would drive them towards process excellence, one can hope.

Explaining a process to different level of personnel

When we talk about process to people in a company, we should be able to talk differently to different level; that is by describing different facets of process. A BPX desirably may have to be clear as to which facet must be told to whom

- to the personnel at operational level,

- to the personnel at supervisory level,

- to the personnel at management level,

- to the personnel at general  management level,

- to the personnel at director level and

- to the person at the top.

All of their understanding together would form the understanding of process approach in the company.

A Director if told the simple definition of ‘process', he would say ‘that's obvious!'

What he means may be ‘It's not that simple!'

For them one must describe including the complexity, ambiguity and explain how knowledge of process would help to reduce the sense of uncertainty at their level. Also explain how values they espouse are incorporated in the process. Because it is different for different functions in the company.

If their need for ‘What's in it for me?' is satisfied, that is, professionally, introduction a new process would be easier.

BPX to serve as a window to development in the field

The explanation must provide a chance for a higher level of understanding also based on the views of scholars, like the one quoted above. A BPX for this purpose would serve as a window for them. They might get slightly convinced and satisfied, a bit curious to know more as well as to get posted on further development in this field of study.

A book, an article, a conference, a training programme etc., may have to be provided as a means of exposure to them on the subject. This kind of educating them would help the BPX to engage them fully in the introduction of process approach in the company.

Example of business principles

For example, the quality management system as per ISO 9000 standard is based on the following eight principles:

Principle 1: Customer focus

Principle 2: Leadership

Principle 3: Involvement of people

Principle 4: Process approach

Principle 5: System approach to management

Principle 6: Continual improvement

Principle 7: Factual approach to decision making

Principle 8: Mutually beneficial supplier relationships

As to know how the eight principles are described, let us look at one of them, namely the principle of process approach, described there in:

Principle 4: Process approach

A desired result is achieved more efficiently when activities and related resources are managed as a process.

Key benefits:

- Lower costs and shorter cycle times through effective use of resources.

- Improved, consistent and predictable results.

- Focused and prioritized improvement opportunities.

Applying the principle of process approach typically leads to:

- Systematically defining the activities necessary to obtain a desired result.

- Establishing clear responsibility and accountability for managing key activities.

- Analysing and measuring of the capability of key activities.

- Identifying the interfaces of key activities within and between the functions of the organization.

- Focusing on the factors such as resources, methods, and materials that will improve key activities of the organization.

- Evaluating risks, consequences and impacts of activities on customers, suppliers and other interested parties.

(The above detail is from the site mentioned above.)

Some of the benefits would certainly appeal to management personnel. When different benefit is seen as applicable by different management personnel, the principle would have a full play in the company yielding maximum benefit within a reasonable period of time.

(For detailed description of other seven principles, the mentioned site may please be visited.)

Thus, it may be said that there may be several ways of making the business managers understand the process approach and this would lead to their understanding the business model and all that it promises.


sam anbazhagan