A short history of process management and quality control

A backgrounder illuminating modern management techniques, including agile methods, business process management, continuous improvement cycles, and other methods employing iterative development sequences.

Peter Strempel on the history of process management

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Dehumanising BPM: a strategic mistake


Business process management (BPM) is looked on by many organisations as the most effective way to gain control of bloated legacy processes, to realise dollar efficiencies, and as a way to innovate and even disrupt.

This can all be true. But like most other efficiency efforts it can and does frequently fail before it begins, through bad planning. Planning should be recognised as a creative, intellectual exercise. If it is only technique and method, even stellar performance in business analysis, project management, and execution can be an uphill battle.

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Architecting business process landscape

IFN515 – Fundamentals of Business Process Management

WEEK TWO: Old-fashioned industrial engineering models

The thrust of the five year old articles from the online BP Trends journal seems to be that there is no consolidated process or model for business process modeling, and the domain appears to be in the control of a bunch of old bearded engineering types who eye IT with deep suspicion.

Sharp (2010), in his two-part examination of a client business, presents some generic modelling that looks messy and not particularly generalisable (2010, February2, pp. 3-5).

Moreover, by invoking Porter, Sharp is looking at an industrial production model that may not make sense in terms of post-industrial service industry activities. Continue reading “Architecting business process landscape”

Prescriptions for business process management

IFN515 – Fundamentals of Business Process Management

WEEK ONE: Avalanche of aspects.

Professor Michael Rosemann.
Professor Michael Rosemann.

Notes on a 2004 white paper by Dr Michael Rosemann on the business process lifecycle.

Process identification criteria

Profit: difference between revenues and costs. Target cost intensive processes. Can often be customer-facing interfaces.

Problem processes identified by management based on processing time, number of IT applications, increasing customer complaints, dissatisfied employees, etc.

Likelihood of successful process revamp. Quickest, cheapest win.

Hammer and Champy (1994) mentioned:

Dysfunction: which processes are in the deepest trouble?

Importance: which processes have the greatest impact on customers?

Feasibility: which process redesign is most likely to succeed.

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Hammer time: back to the 1990s

IFN515 – Fundamentals of Business Process Management

WEEK ONE: Dubious foundations with a glib approach

Michael Martin Hammer.
Michael Martin Hammer.

The most conspicuous absence in the introductory lecture and readings has been any mention of enterprise architecture as the overarching strategic discipline in process modelling, implementation, and management.

Instead we are presented with a standalone conception rooted in the work of the late Michael Hammer (13 April 1948 – 3 Sept 2008), whose 1990 Harvard Business Review essay ‘Reengineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate’ is an ode to ‘Chainsaw’ Al Dunlap, the Wall Street buccaneers that adored him, and ultimately to the ascendant plutocratic orthodoxy that has manipulated economic policy in the USA since the 1980s.

Hammer’s thrust appeared to be quite rational: re-align business processes with customers to create greater value by cutting waste, flattening hierarchies, reducing human interventions, and ultimately getting rid of jobs through the automation his headline seemed to steer clear of.

No doubt American corporations couldn’t compete possessing bloated management structures and dated processes against the sharp and hive-like Japanese corporations which treated all employees as dehumanised worker ants.

But as has been remarked so often elsewhere, most notably by Henry Mintzberg, this kind of management ‘rationalisation’ really only led to dehumanisation and some short-term turnarounds that weren’t longitudinally recognised as competitive advantage for lack of strategic vision.

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