Friday, February 1, 2013

Shall you Pursue “Perfect” Processes?

 In most of BPM projects, an amount of time and energy is spent reviewing, revising, improving, and implementing processes, but on further review it is discovered that they are only 80% of the way there. The remaining 20% will take a disproportionate amount of time and energy, sometimes to the point that it becomes economically unwise to pursue. So shall you strive to make processes perfect?

  • How "perfect" can mean different things, depending on your goals. One organization might seek to optimize a process in terms of efficiency; but another could equally think about optimizing that process in terms of effectiveness, And we all know that efficiency and effectiveness aren't the same thing. The same goes for agility. There's more nuance here, because a rigorous analysis is likely to discover that some processes in an organization need to be optimized for efficiency, but others need to be optimized for agility. The boundaries between these "optimization domains" may well shift over time depending on things like market conditions, M&A activities, etc...We can and should seek to optimize processes continually - but that work might look very different, depending on what we're aiming for. the very fact that organizations are now striving to be as adaptive to rapidly fluctuating conditions as much as possible means processes will be forever changing so trying to create one perfect instance seems to be unrealistic. 
  • Is “Good Enough” Enough: To adopt more of a "good enough is good enough" kind of mentality, not in the least because after a point, spending more to get better probably won't return enough benefit to make the investment worthwhile. Ideally yes, but practically the last 5-10% of perfection is too costly given constant business changes. Organizations spin many cycles to eek out benefit which goes away once complete. Having adaptable is the right approach. On the other side, a satisfaction with less than perfection is too often an excuse for acceptance of the mediocre. It's a common rhetorical strategy to deride any kind of revolutionary improvement as "idealistic" or that "perfection is academic". Thus, while it may not be worthwhile to "perfect" a process, it often makes sense to improve one. You may as well take advantage of the tools that help you do so. 
  • Brittleness of Perfection: "Antifragile" written by Nicholas Nassim Taleb which describes systems that are not fragile, and not just robust, but actually GAIN from randomness. A forest is healthy only if it burns down occasionally. Preventing forest fires actually makes the forest WORSE. Taleb believe the same is true in many situations. It maybe also true in office environment. Knowledge workers actually perform best when they have the flexibility to change the way they accomplish something If you perfect the process, even when the resulting process is correct, you make the office FRAGILE. Any small perturbation breaks it. Without the perfected process, you run a slightly lower efficiency, but you do not have the problem of complete failure as resulting from a small perturbation. Thus, there is evidence that an "ideal" system is not perfected, and still involves a certain amount of chaos. Naive Intervention' and perfecting processes is exactly that! it has a theoretical gain that in practice is unachievable and actually worsens the way a business works. 
  • Methodologically, perfection (or improvement) is easier after automation: "Why automate a broken process?", some wondering,  but the truth is that a process that has been implemented with a BPMS is easier to measure, easier to evaluate, and easier to improve than one that has not. Rather, there is a related issue, in that organizations want to perfect their processes before automating them. 
  • The application of the 80/20 rule should never be an excuse for complacency. Application of the Pareto principle (you will get 80% of process improvement benefits from 20% of your business processes) will help business stay focus on key processes. However, in today's world of feverish competition, satisfaction with the status quo is not a winning strategy. And especially given that processes are about the "work-of-business", processes must be subject to unending scrutiny. 

  • The adage about "paving the cow path". One paves the cowpath because that's the way it's always been done. Imagining a perfectly straight road, in the place of a winding cowpath, might be unrealistic, but successful business is very much about imagining and building towards a better world. An ideal of perfection can be a motivating goal even if day-to-day we muddle through. 
  • Exercise Adaptability: The point is, as we embarked on the journey, we learned more about the business and the process, and new opportunities for value were opened to our eyes that initially we just couldn't see through the fog of ignorance. And we adapted and changed the processes. This wasn't because individual people in the process exercised adaptability (though they certainly did, to rescue individual cases), it was because at an aggregate level there were really interesting ways to give those people better tools, or to bring cases to their attention in a more timely fashion when they were more likely to be able to make a difference. 
  • Five Basic of IT Business Processes: IT business processes need to be defined, standardized, matured, integrated and governed like a well-oiled machine. The five basic IT business processes are: planning, architecture, project management, ops support and software development. Enterprise services development is the sixth IT business process and is a microcosm of the other five. 
Process need be seen as piece of Big Business picture: Though there's no such thing as "perfect" process, as process is means to end, not the end, and the characteristics of good process could be: agility, flexibility, resilience, elasticity, etc. And processes can continue to be improved, even certain process users or owners think process perfect, from enterprise architecture perspective, or from governance viewpoint, the process may be not so robust, thus, process also need be seen as piece of big business picture. Process underpins business capabilities, which decide organizational competitive advantage & strength.


Hey Blogger do you have any kind of knowledge about Process Mapping??. I really need it. One another thing will these points really work?


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