Monday, February 19, 2007

Alchemists and the search of the AS-IS to TO-BE

Having worked with BPR beginning of the 90's, I am glad that the industry has developed. One key issue that I experienced in the BPR area was the "Alchemist" movement (don't know how to give it a better name - people that through magic searched for a way to create gold). The alchemist were usually brought in when we as BPR team were done with the AS-IS modeling, and had also identified bottlenecks/process issues/etc. (In Hammer's time: the moment in the BPR project, where one should get a blank piece of paper and draw the TO-BE)
The alchemists would look at our models, look very intelligent, and draw the TO-BE. We would create a business case (again, magic...). We would simply start coding it in Client-Server :-). And the when change management time came along, it would work. The process. Well, sometimes.
And all the time, I had this nagging feeling... why this TO-BE process. Why not another.
Having some background in Operational Research/Econometrics, I would dream of applying some evidence-based/science supported framework, but people would laugh me away.
Well, time's they are a-changing.
As BPM specialists we should understand that magical TO-BE thinking is not enough.

There ARE frameworks, that have proven themselves, and we should know about them.
- Statistical process control
- Lean/TPS
- SixSigma
- Simulation

Of course, the "makeable" business is an illusion. Even if we could design the "perfect" process, getting there is a whole new game. But it would not hurt trying to get a bit more logical and (services) science driven.

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