Process Is The Main Thing

@ Anatoly Belaychuk’s BPM Blog

Process/Project Dualism

Process vs. Project Management distinction is in fact very artificial - at a closer look one doesn’t exist without the other.

Both for projects and processes two levels of management can be specified:

  1. managing business/company (or its part)
  2. managing the management system - let’s call it meta-management

For example, managing the new shop construction is about creating timely and accurate schedule, back it up with resources, make everyone know what he/she should do, where and when. Reporting and control, addressing deviations and adjusting schedule - this is the project management routine. It’s the first level of the project management. » read the rest

(Русский) Знания BPM - в массы!

Sorry, this entry is only available in Русский.

The Unified Collaborative Work Environment

In the previous article we divided the collaborative work continuum into projects, processes, cases, document-oriented workflows and issues.

We also noted that it was made for analysis purposes only; in reality, they are interrelated. As an illustration, the PMBOK (Process Management Body of Knowledge) talks about processes more than about projects; similarly, the big part of BPM CBOK (Business Process Management Common Body of Knowledge) is devoted to processes improvement and process transformation projects.

This interrelation shows itself in the following: » read the rest

Managing Projects, Processes and Cases

Interestingly, when you meet a certified project manager, he/she almost immediately starts talking about how important is to manage projects and how it should be done. Similarly, a process management expert looks at the world through processes.

In reality, however, most organizations have to deal with processes, projects and cases which are somewhere between the two. Therefore they need a balanced, unbiased view of projects, processes and cases that in essence are just different kinds of collaborative work. Projects, projects and cases have more in common than it may seem at the first glance: whatever approach is taken, there always is an initial state, resources and goals to be reached.

Yet it’s hard to be an expert in different knowledge areas. One can learn the theory but it takes years to become an experienced practitioner. That’s why it’s relatively easy for an organization to find a project or process experts but there is risk that they will overestimate the importance of one approach at the expense of the other. » read the rest

Functional and Process Management: Tools Support

In the previous articles, we positioned Project Management and Process Management as systematic ways to compensate the issues of pure functional management: loss of control at handoffs, loss of focus on corporate goals, sub-optimization, etc. Let us now consider the tools (i.e. software) support for functional, project and process management.

Let’s start with the functional management. First, there are standalone applications – accounting, warehouse, product lifecycle management (PLM), advanced planning & scheduling (APS), etc. targeted to specific departments. Historically, these applications have appeared first as the earliest form of management was functional management. » read the rest

Processes vs. Projects vs. Functions

In the first article we described how the division of labor increases productivity of an individual employee yet, at the same time, creates a disconnect between departments reducing the company’s effectiveness.

These problems arise when the company grows. As long as the founder is in charge, and the number of employees is limited, the mutual understanding and motivation among managers is sufficient to limit “friction” to a minimum. Then, e.g. a new ambitious sales director comes onboard to reorganize the sales department.  The changes might be positive overall, but the former mutual understanding with the director of Manufacturing is no longer there, leading to tensions, that evolve in a search for a “scapegoat” in meetings with the CEO.

Another case: a business owner (who is also the CEO) decides that the business is finally standing firmly on its feet, and he can withdraw from the operational management and devote his life to surfing. In few months, the company plunges into a feudal disarray.

What options does the executive have in dealing with the coming disorder? » read the rest

How the Division of Labor Lowers Productivity

It’s all because of Adam Smith! Wasn’t he the one who introduced the division of labor? What, he didn’t invent it but simply described it? Anyway, it’s the phenomenon that we are going to talk about, not the person.

It happens all the time: as soon as we find a solution for a problem, the solution becomes a problem itself. The division of labor is not an exception: it increases the productivity indeed, but it also decreases in other cases. » read the rest

Where Is The Beginning and The End of Processes?

No, it’s not about processes start and end event, it’s about what should be named as process and what shouldn’t.

A few quotes showing the range of opinions -

Paul Harmon comments the “Process and Capabilities” discussion at LinkedIn BPTrends group:

One of the major differences in the field is between people who use “process” to refer to a diagram, or even more narrowly to the pattern of activities and flows, and those who use “process” to refer to everything that is involved in producing specified outputs. I am definitely in the latter camp… for me, the idea of separating “recourses” or “people” or “managers” from “process” is simply to take a very narrow view of process… The “capabilities” the Army cites are small processes - activities if you would - that get assembled into larger processes when necessity requires. One capability is landing by rubber raft. Another is hiking 10 miles very quickly, etc. Once a specific hostage situation arises a process (project?) is assembled of many discrete activities and executed.

As we can see, Paul tend to name “process” literally everything - activities and combinations of activities of any scale, and makes no difference between processes and projects. » read the rest

I’m Back to This Blog

I want to apologize to the readers of this blog for not updating it for more than six months.

If a professional blog becomes silent, it means that either the author has lost interest in the subject, or right opposite - the author has become too busy. The latter is my case.

Firstly, I’m now a BPM Evangelist at Comindware. I consulted the company for several years and now joined them. This is a very strong, professional and ambitious team and I’m proud to be a part of it. This is a chance for me to implement the ideas that i’ve got after ten years of BPM practice.

While Comindware already has two products Comindware Tracker and Comindware Project we are going to release a breakthrough product early in 2015. It will feature records keeping, support for projects, processes, adaptive cases, end-to-end resource management, social interaction and mobile interfaces. As a technology evangelist, I’m involved in defining the vision of technology and software products and translating this vision to a broad audience through articles, social media and public appearances.

In addition to this activity, I was deeply involved into Russian CBOK project initiated by ABPMP Russian Chapter. It costed me about a thousand of hours but now the translation is over and I’m able to get back to normal life.

I have published several articles during last months so the next blog posts will be the reposts. I look forward to your comments.

12/12/14 | Notes | ,     Comments: 4

What Are the Biggest Challenges BPM Will Face in 2015?

That was the question Peter Schoof asked at BPM.com forum. It provoked long answer that I’m copying here to get back next year.

Peter, is your question about technology? Management discipline? Capabilities and overall process maturity of today’s enterprises? All of these? Ambiguous questions provoke misunderstanding.

If accepting the widest scope (i.e. considering all three aspects) then where is the bottleneck, I wonder?

» read the rest

12/12/14 | Notes |     Comments: 3

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