It is difficult to recommend a “best” way to install BPM in a company.
The approach needs to vary with the consultant, and vary with the client.
One size fits all, ends up predictably fitting none of the players.
Photo Credit Jill Wellington
What works for our group goes like this:
Do a live session with a few stakeholders where you build a small workflow (10-20 steps) of the client’s choice (steps, directional arrows, all steps with the same placeholder Form, all steps with the same routing i.e. “all”).
Make sure the workflow has at least one manual branching-decision-box.
Compile the workflow and roll it out to an ACM/BPM workflow/workload platform.
As the BPM engine posts steps according to the logic of your plan-side workflow, record some data at the placeholder Form at each step then commit the step.
Go to the History to show that the platform records an auto-date/time stamp per step, with the data that was entered at each step at the placeholder Form.
[quick build – this session must not run more than 1 hour]
Now, repeat #1, where some of the steps have different Routings (i.e. replace “all” with e.g. “contracts”, “design”, “production”, “shipping”).
[illustrate Routing as an attribute of workflow steps]
Replace the placeholder Forms with, assuming the client can provide these, images of Forms needed at each step in #1.
Make sure there is an additional “memo” Form field at each Form. This is very useful during modeling to capture notes (i.e. wrong Form, missing Fields, wrong Routing, wrong sequencing of steps, etc.).
[illustrate Forms as an attribute of workflow steps]
Upgrade your workflow by adding a Rule Set that automates your branching decision box step i.e. a Yes/No decision box where an upstream form picks up a Yes/No value at, say, a combobox. Set the routing at the branching decision box to “system”.
[introduce the client to workflow branching/re-merging]
Show the client how to build a custom workflow step Form and encode this to one or more steps.
Make sure there are two steps that feature the same step Form, to illustrate that data recorded at the 1st step flows along the workflow to the 2nd step.
[upgrade of #3]
Now, compile, roll out and re-run your latest upgrade of your workflow where you skip a step, re-visit an already completed step, insert a step not in your workflow.
Mention that Rules can be put in place at steps to guard against extreme, unwanted excursions away from “best practices”.
[demonstrate that your solution accommodates excursions away from “best practices”]
Illustrate re-direction of steps where a supervisor overrides the auto-routing by assigning a step to a named user.
[demonstrate escalation as part of RALB (Resource Allocation, Leveling and Balancing)]
Explain that “Case Managers are the folks who close Cases” and that some non-subjective means is needed to show progress along a workflow, typically along an “S” curve.
[illustrate non-subjective decision-making for Case closing]
On site vs GoToMeeting or equivalent web-based sessions?
If you consult across countries, try to avoid having to go to the client site for small projects.
Make sure with remote sessions that you can accomplish a few of the #2-#8 steps in no more than one hour. Combine steps where possible but avoid long drawn-out remote sessions as some stakeholders have short attention spans.
During client sessions, let a stakeholder take over your mouse/ keyboard. If the client is willing, let them do some of the processing at steps #1 and #2. The more stakeholders participate, the greater their level of confidence, sustained onboarding, etc.
Increasing the chances of a successful ACM/BPM implementation
Once the company is on board with ACM/BPM make sure that top management understands that a separate set of methods/tools/software/platform can (should) be put in place for building, sustaining and augmenting strategic competitive advantage (infrastructure/ resource inventory, risk assessment, vulnerabilities, remediation, funding initiatives).
Explain that the way to narrow the gap between strategy->operations and operations-> strategy is for top management/operations to build initiatives, fund the more promising of these and set the focus at Cases on Initiatives, not processes.
Do not hard sell this to the point of losing the operational efficiency/effectiveness engagement by over-complicating.
See 300+ blog posts that go back to 2010 – many relate to BPM.