Thursday, February 7, 2013

Is BPM Adage: “Scope, Schedule, Budget –Pick Two”?

Some say BPM practice, very similar to the old PM adage "Scope, Schedule, Budget -- Pick two!". There could be one where the business problem is clearly defined. One where the business understands the cost of not solving the problem and where the solution proposed costs less than not doing anything and meets the expected ROI for the business. Once you are sure of these things then you will know that you are in a good place for success.

The further debate is on: What is the ideal scope for a BPM project? 

1. Three-Phase BPM Planning 

If you can't define your BPM scope in a single sentence and know you can measure the business outcome of that success,  then you'll probably fail. Before serious project starts,  there are 3 phases in planning:

1)     Agree the objectives/outcomes/goals:  What are "we" trying to achieve. 
2)     In business language with users workout step-by-step:  Who and what is required to make it happen. Encourage new ideas,  there are no constraints. 
3)     Work out estimated cost. A good guide would be work out number of UIs (including reports, maintenance forms etc) needed.

On a serious note, start small, well defined with a goal in mind. Loose projects with wishy-washy strategy are doomed to fail because you have nothing to aim for, no measurable way of defining success. Then basically learn, adapt and radiate for future projects.

2. Four Aspects from the Program Management Standpoint   

On the surface at least, that there is general agreement -- define goals, outcomes, and measures; have a schedule; avoid scope creep; and stay within a budget. More specifically:
1) Road-map set from an enterprise perspective
2) The business sponsors
3) Stakeholders
4) Resource pool availability

Fist, play a key role directly or indirectly in defining the scope and ground for a BPM implementation in a customer landscape; secondly, BPM is just an enabler and it should not be used as a tool to automate every other process just with the need to widen the scope of implementation.

Unlike big box application software products, BPM solutions can be deployed tactically, and then tied together for additional strategic leverage. Thus, start with a budget and then find the best scope to fit that budget. It is a nice disciplined way to start a BPM effort and prevents the temptation of boiling the ocean because the budget is fixed in advance

3. Metaphorically, BPM like “Build a House” Scenario? 

The ideal scope of a BPM project can actually be seen as "building a house". To start with :

1) It is the plot in a residential area (where does the project stand in terms of the enterprise roadmap)
2) Will more work and money be invested in clearing the rocks/ground for construction.(landscape details and feasibility study vs.costing)
3) What is the budget for building the house (project budget)
4) House plan and architecture design (discovery sessions to understand the landscape and design better)

So, to enjoy the shade of the house, all the attributes go hand in hand right for the organized approach in scoping till the completion of construction.

So, most of the time the scope of any BPM effort should be: as small as possible to achieve the desired outcome. If multiple positive outcomes are sought, divide and conquer. Breaking the challenge up into digestible fragments is the key to solving nearly any problem; BPM is no different.


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