Is this where you want to be?


This is a pitch to consultants and business managers who subscribe to and use BPM (Business Process Management). 

It turns out there are two flavors of BPM  –  “B(P)M” (business management that receives orchestration from process templates, process fragment templates, users, software and machines) and “(BP)M” (management by business processes).

Any similarity between the two ends here.

If you put a focus on B(P)M what this means is that you are subscribing to the use of BPM to provide background workflow orchestration at Cases (i.e. initiatives)- this impacts efficiency and effectiveness.

(BP)M, on the other hand, puts a focus on managing an entire business via processes, not via managing a portfolio of initiatives. Here, you end up impacting efficiency, but only minimally impacting effectiveness.

If you are up to it, and your clients are on board, clearly, B(P)M is where you will want to be.

Change Management is Essential

Transitioning from (BP)M to B(P)M requires a change in mindset, so here are a few tips & tricks.

Most (BP)M consultants come from a background of end-to-end processes.  Mapped end-to-end processes are easy to roll out to production environments. You have one start task and one end task (e.g. “cutting the ribbon”). The objective is to get to the end task. Your process map details what, why, who and, to an extent, where and when.

B(P)M is different.

Much of the “process management” assistance that clients are looking for today is not in the area of end-to-end processes.

What we have today are “process fragments” that get threaded together at run time by workers, software and machines. Process fragments do not have plan-side objectives.

Under B(P)M, objectives become a property of run-time Case,  i.e. a patient, an insurance claim, a helicopter under MRO.  For discussion purposes here, Case is not equivalent to “use-Case”.

Process fragments continue the tradition of what, why, who, where and when, except that some of the interventions are now ad hoc interventions.  Tasks at Cases become a mix of structured and unstructured interventions –  this adds flexibility  to “process management” (i.e. Case management, really), but, it also adds variability to where and when.

“Ribbon-cutting” at a Case under B(P)M takes place when the Case Manager closes the Case – no exceptions!

As and when you transition to B(P)M, your legacy BPMS will need major surgery.

As explained, your new BPMS will need to accommodate any mix of structured and unstructured Case interventions. Fortunately, once you realize that a process of one step still is a process, no accommodation is needed so long as your BPMS provides workflow and workload functionality.

Seamless threading of process fragments adds a bit of complexity.

Since you can no longer rely on logic connections between tasks to guide all processing, each process fragment needs a rule set at its start task so that the task can report “OK to engage processing” or “NOT OK to engage processing”.

Your tasks become more data-driven under B(P)M.

However, manual override by a user/Case Manager is always an option i.e. skip the task. At some risk/peril to all stakeholders. . .

It’s worthwhile here to elaborate on the term “data-driven”.

Whereas, with end-to-end BPM and legacy BPMS’, data flows take place along process pathways, all non-instance-specific data at a Case can be accessed by a process fragment rule set.

Rule sets in B(P)M are pervasive – they can be found upstream from tasks, at tasks, and immediately downstream from tasks. They can be found at branching decision boxes and are essential at most loop back constructs to prevent churning.

Finally, your BPMs needs R.A.L.B and F.O.M.M.

You can’t properly manage work at Cases without R.A.L.B. (Resource Allocation, Leveling and Balancing). – absent R.A.L.B. for anything beyond a moderately complex workflow and you become unable to carry out workload management.

Re F.O.M.M (Figure or Merit Matrices) – you won’t get consistency across Cases if Case Managers cannot get a “second opinion” from F.O.M.M. The unique contribution of F.O.M.M is to make decision-making non-subjective.

Now, before leaving this space, click on the link below – you will get to a hard-to-find music video that I feel is fantastic.

Title Inspiration:

Kacey Musgraves & Willie Nelson “Are you sure this is where you want to be”


Management consultant and process control engineer (MSc EE) with a focus on bridging the gap between operations and strategy in the areas of critical infrastructure protection, major crimes case management, healthcare services delivery, and b2b/b2c/b2d transactions. (C) 2010-2020 Karl Walter Keirstead, P. Eng. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and are not connected with Jay-Kell Technologies Inc, Civerex Systems Inc. (Canada), Civerex Systems Inc. (USA), CvX Productions, Global Initiatives LLC or HNCT LLC Number of accessing countries 2010-2020/2/15 : 154
This entry was posted in BPM, Business Process Management, Case Management, Process Management and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Is this where you want to be?

  1. I responded this morning to a question on Twitter re B(P)M versus (BP)M.

    B(P)M reduces the gap between Strategy and Operations by providing Operational Managers with a means of focusing their efforts on meeting business objectives. i.e Top Management puts forth initiatives, Operations submits fund requests – where their is a good fit between an ROI submission and the goals/objectives as detailed in an initiative, the initiative gets funded.

    Under B(P)M, the focus of all work is on meeting goals/objectives of initiatives. Clearly, there has to be a “place” where all of this gets done and the usual name for this “workspace” is Case..

    “Case” is just a “container” at a cursor position in a Relational Database Management System” (i..e a patient, an insurance claim, a major crime investigation, etc.).

    There is a presumption in B(P)M that all processes referenced in a Case are “best practices”.

    B(P)M addresses efficiency and effectiveness.

    (BP)M is different – here, the belief is that all work is a process and that the primary focus should be on processes.

    The result is that BP)M puts too sharp focus on efficiency. It also addresses effectiveness, but to a much lesser extent than B(P)M.

    Note that if all of your processes are end-to-end processes, then practicing (BP)M is precisely the same practicing B(P)M because goal/objectives are “built-in” to end-to-end processes (i.e. the goals/objectives are parked at the final step along the process).

    When your processes are “process fragments”, or a mix of “end-to-end processes” and “process fragments” BPM consultants and clients need to transition to B(P)M.

    Some authors use the term “ACM” (Adaptive Case Management) to describe what is actually B(P)M.


    • When pitching concepts, it often helps to re-phrase differently . . . .

      There are three ways to deal with processes:

      1. Pretend they don’t exist i.e. processes are not important
      2. You work for your processes i.e. the end game is to have a library of improved processes – your focus is “(Business Process) Management”
      3. Your processes work for you. i.e. you put your processes in-line and they help you to achieve operational efficiency and effectiveness – your focus is “Business (Process) Management”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s