Friday, January 12, 2007

IT process management vs BPM

Have been working very hard on a IT Process Assessment for a client.

My finding: IT proces = proces = comparable to elements from BPM (but done on the IT side).

I started to see that we can learn quite some things from the IT-side, about process frameworks and process maturity.

1. Frameworks

For various IT processes, pre-defined procesframeworks exist, that can help you to quickly implement IT related processes, based on the experience of many companies (aka best practices).

To name a few:

- RUP and CMMi for Software Engineering

- ASL for application management (IT side)

- BISL for functional application management (business side)

- ITIL for IT service management

I know that there business process frameworks as well. For instance SCOR:

Frankly, I have my doubts here. For the general processes (hygiene, aka sending invoices, transporting products, etc) I can understand the use of them. But let's face it - to keep competive edge, are you going to implement "best practices" proven by other companies? I think not - I would be working based on the NEXT practices...

As an extra thought: many BPM-Suite vendors also claim that the tools come with process frameworks ("buy our tool, and your insurance claims process is already provided as a template"). Hm, sorry, but can a BPM-Suite vendor tell me, as a business specialist, how my business is run best? I doubt it.

2. Proces maturity

The CMMI has a great set of so-called "Generic Practices". These practices are about process maturity - the extent that you perform these practices, tell you something about your process maturity. These generic practices are general available (on the CMMI Sei site).

To quote some (Copyright SEI:):

'A managed process is institutionalized by doing the following: [CL103.N106]

- Adhering to organizational policies

- Following established plans and process descriptions

- Providing adequate resources (including funding, people, and tools)

- Assigning responsibility and authority for performing the process

- Training the people performing and supporting the process

- Placing designated work products under appropriate levels of configuration management

- Identifying and involving relevant stakeholders

- Monitoring and controlling the performance of the process against the plans for performing the process and taking corrective actions

- Objectively evaluating the process, its work products, and its services for adherence to the process descriptions, standards, and procedures, and addressing noncompliance

- Reviewing the activities, status, and results of the process with higher level management, and taking corrective action'

Is this useful for business processes? Yes! It provides an excellent assessment and growth framework, that's generic and easy to understand. I wonder why we don't have this yet on the BPM side: a clear maturity framework, with key generic practices per maturity level.... Let me know if you know more about this!

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