Monday, September 2, 2013

Connecting the Enterprise Dots: BPM-PMO-EA

Enterprise today is extremely complex, functional structure provides certain level of business efficiency and management discipline, but it also creates silos and wastes resources, with the emerging SMAC technology trend leading enterprise more inter-connected than ever, what are the optimal structures to manage processes and projects? For instance, should you combine BPM functions with the PMO, EA or strategic planning? Did you see the trend of merging BPM with PMO to form the enterprise PMO? How to connect the enterprise dots in achieving high-performance and reaching high level organizational maturity?

1. BPM vs. EA vs. PMO

  • BPM vs. PMO: BPM is to manage knowing from flow. The maturity methodologies are underpinned by the contention that the BPM initiative is a “journey” that does not have a finish line. On the contrary, one of the key principles of project management is that a project is an initiative with a clearly defined “beginning” and “end”. No wonder traditional PMOs are struggling to incorporate process “projects”. The single biggest factor limiting the value of the PMOs to manage process projects is it’s limited understanding of different methodologies and their applicability in different situations so they seek to impose their narrow view of projects to process work which often results in frustration for both sides: “If your only tool is a hammer, then every problem is a nail”.  
  • EA vs. BPM: Considering that EA does a great job in describing the “enterprise genotype” (enterprise artifacts or assets) and “enterprise phenotype” (a set of observable characteristics such as performance), then the BPM with its executable models of relationships between artifacts can form the bridge (an enterprise executable model) from the “enterprise genotype” to “enterprise phenotype”. BPM and BA always go hand-in-hand, whereas BA is subset of EA, EA can become such an effective tool to guide convergence, enhance communication, standardize process and assess process  maturity.  
  • EA vs. PMO vs. BPM: EA helps optimize all aspects of the enterprise to increase profitability. EA is an actionable, risk-reducing method for modeling organization change by communicating impact. PMO is there to ensure effective execution and delivery of projects, not definition of requirements/ priorities (PMs vs.BAs). BAs (Business Architects) in the business/ BPM teams need to validate the value proposition and define the detailed business requirements. The BPM team can then work with the IT Project Analysts to transform the business requirements into detailed functional requirements. Once the project scope and solution is defined then the PMO can take over, kick off the project and manage all the deliverables.  

2. The Holistic View to Business Effectiveness

The purpose of holistic view and management experiment is to improve project success rate, share resources, reduce waste,  enhance overall business capabilities and increase business effectiveness and efficiency.

  • The trend to integrate the related functions, or at least not think them as complete silos might help unify the business process view/capability view/architectural view/case manager view, the truth is that enterprise is a complex entity needs to be perceived through varied lens, also needs to simplify, highlight and optimize the key processes to reduce the waste as well.  
  • Consider the integration trend as an attempt to find an "enterprise sponsor" for BPM among existing "enterprise players". EA/ Solution architects / dev IT units tried BPM without adopting the process-centric view which led to misuse of BPM. One of the main purposes for EA is to define and optimize business capabilities, to lead business journey for continuous improvement, therefore, experimenting on integrating these functions will help achieve same purpose: to build up a high-performance enterprise. BPM and EA can marry together if EA organization is mandated and empowered by top management to lead Business Architecture for the enterprise. Otherwise nothing will move forward positively. 
  • Building an enterprise intake/prioritization framework, along with a Business Process Architecture/Governance framework within a BPM Program, will enable an organization to grow its business process maturity and corresponding capabilities. This will in turn enable businesses to move up the maturity model and become the agile and effective organizations they are striving for. Such intake/prioritization framework can bind these groups together and create a common set of priorities that support customer/business goals. This provides a key linkage between Strategy and Execution and is an activity that BPM should facilitate. This cross-functional group brings the enterprise perspective, is critical to bridging functional silos and is essential to building/maintaining/improving enterprise business processes such as CRM.  
  • PMO is yet another try, a recent trend whereby the central PMO is working to gather project requirements and prioritize strategic projects. Also, the smarter PMOs go further: they link related projects and sub-projects to discover and remove overlaps and gaps, they align the timelines of seemingly unconnected projects: A project to increase staff capability could be related to a product quality improvement project and also a technology project – each promoted, funded and executed by different parts of the organization. Integration of BPM with PMO works fine when PMO covers both PM elements: 1). Project, program and portfolio administration; 2). Project, program and portfolio competence management and coaching (be source of process knowledge in that area) 

 3. The Complexity of Integration

  • Diverse Methodologies:  BPM project may use BPMS, business analysis, maturity assessment methodologies, CMMI, or some other home-grown methodology, etc.. These and other process methodologies don’t easily map to recognized project methodologies. 
  • Skill Gaps: Most people in PMOs have no experience in dealing with planning and tracking consultancy projects, and some inexperienced BPM practitioners get caught up in EA modeling and lose sight of the end business objective- so there are skill gaps which will cause ideas failed to deliver when combining the these relevant disciplines 
  • See it as a close collaboration rather than "merging" or "combining" different functions. BPM can't live without BA.BPM can't really work if not aligned with the Strategic Plan. And eventually all of these functions are conducted through the PMO. Tactically, social platform can help improve such cross-functional collaboration to well align people, process and technology and manage them all holistically. Agile methodology provides another way to enforce communication and cross-functional collaboration. 
  • The Process Center of Excellence. Build the process CoE that embraces the combined activities of Quality, Compliance and Process. Its role is multi-faceted and includes: Management of Process architecture, custodianship of the Quality Management System, Governance, Program and Project oversight, Improvement Methodologies, Training, Tools, Maturity assessment and Best Practice assessment etc. Well align all of the activities of the CoE directly with the business strategy. Methodologies are appropriate and lean. Activities are complementary, inclusive and effective. Responsibilities are clear. Business agility is improved through the evaluation of proposed change against the process architecture and the ability to act fast in situations where change demands a rapid response. 
Regardless of their physical location, either under the same roof or reside in the different structure, the point is that they (EA, BPM and PMO) are inter-connected, the holistic view and management discipline will improve overall business maturity. 


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