Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Discipline or Dogma?

In his new Forrester blog, Derek Miers talks about his entrance into Forrester and some of his focus for upcoming research. His interesting observation upfront is how companies need to build a 'Discipline' around BPM, especially once they transition from the first project and attempt to use BPM more broadly across the organization. Summarizing Derek's points (see his post for more detail):

And there are a great many challenges and domains to overcome as we build “The Discipline of BPM”:

  • Building organizational BPM Capabilities
  • Exploration of Methods & Tools
  • From Project To Program
  • Focusing On Customers

What we are seeing here, is that technology is not key to everything. Forrester may be moving away from the "functionality check the boxes" model to assessing BPM products, to more of a capability model. Will this mean that companies that can not only deliver a single project, but assist customers build a BPM practice, will be the next vendors at the top right hand corner of their analysis?

The problem I always see with BPM is that it becomes a universal tool, a Swiss Army Knife of business software. People using it often get caught in the trap of believing it is the only tool for the job, attempting to cut down trees with the fold-away saw, or insisting that the knife is the best thing for doing everything, from slicing bread to performing open-heart surgery.

Discipline involves pushing the technology to do what it does best, within the definition of what we know it does best. Not being dogmatic about its application to every little problem. Sometimes a checklist, a spreadsheet or an email are just better, leaving time for BPM to be applied where it really makes a difference.

A post from the Improving It blog

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