Thursday, December 12, 2013

No Process (cross-post from Capgemini CTO Blog)

On Capgemini's CTO Blog, I posted this blog-item on 'No Process', as part of Capgemini's TechnoVision 2014.

Process On The Fly #3 - No Process

Building on the next generation of Business Process Management, Business Rules, Event Processing and Case Management platforms, new flavors of process can be modeled, executed, monitored and managed. Guided by context-sensitive and analytics-driven support many fixed, inflexible processes can be replaced by concurrently executed activities that optimize the time of human resources and their knowledge by having them ‘swarm’ around cases and results that need to be produced, never following a predefined path. So in the end, the ultimate Process might be No Process at all.
For quite some time, process models, procedures and process-based work instructions have been used to attempt to influence the behavior of employees, in the hope that this creates efficient, customer-friendly and compliant processes. And, as part of IT innovations, Business Process Management technology has been used to create process-aware systems, in the form of workflow systems, that coordinate the execution of processes using these process models.

Although these process models have their power, they have two serious problems.

First problem: As an instrument for influencing behavior, process models are not very motivating. Quite the opposite. Most people prefer to leave process models in dusty binders as long as possible. And if they use them, often hesitantly to try to find how to deal with a situation, they frequently get lost (as these models are often incomplete, sometimes quite abstract, and not organized towards the contextual situation-specific approach).

Second problem: Process models are rigid. When a customer request is delivered following the process model, the model is usually deaf and blind for unexpected events, new insights and needs for other activities or paths. Thankfully, most of the time, employees are smart enough to work around the process when needed, but unfortunately we all encounter enough employees who are not.

You might compare the use of these process models to driving towards a certain location using a prescribed route that you brought along on paper. You enter a large traffic jam, but don’t know an alternative. You pass a beautiful forest, but don’t want to leave the route as you are scared to get lost. You realize you want to buy some food on the way, but again are afraid to detour. The process model limits your freedom. And then the inevitable happens: An exit has been blocked due to roadwork. The paper process model is suddenly useless.

Of course, one can attempt to create the all-encompassing model, with all possible events, rules, activities and routes. But this path won’t work. First, the process model will explode in complexity. Second, some situations simply cannot be fully prepared at ‘design time.’ Think of a complex diagnosis and treatment in a hospital – the possible symptoms, causes, possible treatment interventions and patient reaction to treatment. You just won’t know upfront; the process path will emerge, patient by patient.

In modern car driving, the technology (not perfect, but quickly maturing) to better deal with these ‘process model aspects’ is of course the navigation system. Modern navigation systems offer the strength of a process model (direction: what’s the next move to get from A to B), without the limitations:

- Context driven: The system knows where you are, and gives you only the relevant information.

- Responsive: The system offer insights (traffic jams, road blocks) and suggest other routes.

- Goal driven but flexible: The system doesn’t impose the route – if a driver decides to take another direction, it simply adapts and determines a new route to B.

- Support compliance: These systems are capable of advising against certain actions (for instance, driving wrongly into a one-way street) using signals and smart routing suggestions.

Does the driver feel he or she is part of a process? No, not really. That’s why we call the trend that we see in these solutions ‘No process’!

These ‘No Process’ solutions are proving their value in business as well. In a business context, they can be seen as flexible case management systems that have swarms of possible activities floating around customer cases. Based on technology for rules and events, for a specific customer case, the system can suggest possible ‘next best actions.’ This supports the employees to handle (navigate) the situations they encounter. In a way these solutions offer ‘just enough process,’ helping employees to pick the best (goal-driven) activity, but allowing the employee to choose another activity or path to deliver the best value.

No process - The perfect solution for today's knowledge worker times. Have a nice trip to your destination – happy customers and engaged employees!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Patterns of coordination (part I)

In my last blog item, I described a number of typical work patterns, that people usually pick when faced with the need to work together, in some type of (process) way. The main patterns that I will work in this blog item are:
- Procedure delivery: a pre-defined procedure can be established, which needs to be executed. The procedure might contain various decisions and paths, but all are known beforehand.
- Dynamic adaptive delivery: a set of typical activities (most standard) are known, but the path is emergent (due to unforeseen events, needs or insights). Many possible paths exist, too many to capture effectively in a procedure.

In this article, I will describe a number of typical coordination mechanisms that people pick how to coordinate the execution of the process, e.g. how are people triggered to get work done, and relate them back to the work patterns.

Pattern 1: 'Relay race' (Dutch: estafette)
In the coordination pattern 'Relay race', there is someone that starts the process, following a certain trigger (an incoming e-mail, order form, etc). The person executes a number of tasks, and then hands over the execution to a next person, and so on. 

This patterns works great for:
- Procedural delivery(see my previous blog-item)
Here, each person can find out the next in line, using the procedural agreements (process model / workinstructions)
- Dynamic delivery
Here, each person can decide, based on case specifics to whom he or she will hand over to. 

Advantages of this pattern: 
- There is always clear ownership 

Disadvantages of this pattern: 
- All activity usually takes place serially (where some parallel activities could speed up through put time)
- It takes time to find out 'where' a case is and what the status is

Pattern 2: 'Cloverleaf' (Dutch: klaverblad)
In the Cloverlead pattern, there is someone centrally coordinating the execution of the process. This coordinator or case manager will step by step perform certain tasks, then give an assignment to someone, wait, perform some tasks, and then again assign someone a certain activity, until the coordinator decides the work is done.

This pattern can be used for procedural delivery, but this pattern is expensive, as the procedure is known but in every step, the coordinator needs to take action (e.g. many hand-overs)

The pattern is great for dynamic delivery, as the coordinator can assess the state of the case, and dynamically decide who should do what next to move forward in the case.

Advantages of this pattern: 
- There is always clear ownership
- The coordinator knows what the status is 

Disadvantages of this pattern: 
- All activity usually takes place serially (where some parallel activities could speed up through put time)

Pattern 3: 'Collaborative Planning & Monitoring'
In this pattern, a group of people, often multidisciplinary assesses a certain case, and together come to an agreed activity plan. The people will each perform their activities, and will update each other on the status and results.

This pattern can be used for procedure delivery, but again is expensive, as the procedure is known.
The pattern is great for dynamic execution, if the knowledge required to assess the situation and to decide on actions is advanced, and requires more people.

Advantages of this pattern: 
- The team knows what the status is
- Progress is monitored and social controls can be used to adhere to rules and agreements

Disadvantages of this pattern: 
- It requires quite some time of various people (cost, productivity) for the planning, status reporting and monitoring
- Disagreements might cause delays
- Unforeseen events require the response of the group, but people might not be (timely) available, causing delays or risks

In a next article I will cover:
Pattern 4: 'Predefined Workflow Driven Orchestrator'
Pattern 5: 'Situation Specific Configurable  Orchestrator'
Pattern 6: 'Flexible Next Best Action Advisor'
Pattern 7: 'Garbage can'

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Patterns of work and their do's and don'ts

Based on an earlier blog-entry, I defined 4 typical patterns of work. In this article, I repeat these patterns of work, as I want to use them to position (in a next article) when discussing various coordination patterns in processes.

These patterns of work are derived from my observations on how people tend to organize the execution processes that have different characteristics.

Direct Execution
Aspect Work pattern
Number of employees
involved in specific execution
One single employee
Process No process (in terms of coordinating activities among multiple employees,
but a single direct set of tasks, performed in coordination with the customer by one employee at one time one place (otopop)
ActivitiesOne standardized activity (which will be composed of various standardized tasks, done by one person directly)
Responsibility Clear (based on the job title and responsibilities of this one person, or persons with the same role)
Typical situations Call center - answering a question
Buying item in a store
Do's and don'ts Do: Provide all data and usable systems the employee needs, and make sure these systems are fast enough. Make sure they have a 360 view on the customer.
Don't: Put them in situations where they can not meet customer expectations

This work pattern is typically used in service delivery where:
- The service is simple (but might be knowledge intensive)
- The service can be done by one person
- Interaction with the customer can be low to high

Procedural Delivery

AspectWork pattern
Number of employees
involved in specific execution
More than 1.  People each perform certain activities (as part of their role). A limited number of roles.
ProcessA clear, predefined, process (based on a clear procedure, that defines trigger, activities, roles, decision points with their business rules, and all possible paths). 
ActivitiesMultiple standardized activities.
ResponsibilityClear, using roles. 
Typical situationsProcessing of incoming invoices, expense claims
Simple insurance claims
Opening a bank account, closing a commodity based insurance contract
Standardized service delivery (McDonalds, simple Public services)
Simple IT-incidents and changes
Do's and don'ts Do: Create workflow driven solutions, that provide the right contextual information when an employee performs an activity. Use business rules technology to support routing and decision making. Create process visibility
Don't: Force people to go and try to find the status of a certain customer request or force them to manually collect and report performance data

This work pattern is typically used in service delivery where:
- The service requires people with different skills
- The service can be laid out as a series of predictable steps
- The service is standardized
- Interaction with the customer is low to moderate

Dynamic Adaptive Delivery

AspectWork pattern
Number of employees
involved in specific execution
More than 1. Various people with various roles may be involved dynamically. 
ProcessAn emergent process, as the path at run-time is not clear. Based on inputs, data, new insights and events, new activities might be required, assigned to currently involved employees or other employees, leading to new information, leading to new activities, etc.
ActivitiesMultiple standardized activities, and possibly some ad-hoc activities.
ResponsibilityUsually clear, using roles. However, sometimes people need to handle ad-hoc activities that may not be part of their role & typical responsibilities.
Typical situationsMedical diagnosis and treatment
Invoice disputes
Complex claims processing
Coordinating more complex IT-problems
Legal trial
Handling complex life events of customers (death of partner of customer)
Case management of unemployed citizens 
Do's and don'ts Do: provide an information rich, case based environment, in which case managers can easily plan activities, supported by patterns and next best action suggestions driven by events, data and rules. Think navigator. Provide easy access to the case status, history and information for all participants.
Don't: lock people in with rigid workflows, as they will be forced to 'tweak' the system or place valuable information and work-activities outside of the system

This work pattern is typically used in service delivery where:
- The service requires people with different skills
- The service can not be laid out as a set of predictable steps, but emerges
- The expected value of the service is (fairly) standardized
- Interaction with the customer is typically high
- During the service process, expected and unexpected events and insights might require unanticipated activities (and support of certain people/roles)

Collaborative Coordination

AspectWork pattern
Number of employees
involved in specific execution
ProcessA very dynamic and emergent process, that might (or not) converge to a certain desired outcome, that might not be fully know yet
ActivitiesMany ad-hoc activities, very limited are standardized
ResponsibilityUsually unclear, but in some cases supported by roles. People may shift in or out the process, as a result of new insights. A clear owner of a specific execution might lack (when multiple organizations need to collaborate) or might shift due to evolving circumstances.
Typical situations- Crisis management
- Creating a strategic plan
- Complex negotiations
- Severe and urgent IT-problem
Do's and don'ts Do: create clear objectives (and let these evolve over time, and communicate them often), define clear roles and mandates, and let people self-organize where possible. Make sure all information (including decisions) is available in real-time for everyone.
Don't: overstructure the process

This work pattern is typically used in service delivery where:
- The service requires many people with different skills but also different mandates (for instance partner-organizations)
- A lot of collaboration is needed to converge to a certain result
- The service or expected outcome is not standardized and not clear at the beginning
- Many new insights, events or partner policy / strategy changes can be expected

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The 4+2 model for understanding and changing processes

When you work in the area of process-analysis and improvement, the beginning of process analysis can be complex. There is a lot of aspects one wants to understand. And there is a risk either to miss important aspects, or to be overwhelmed and get lost. The same applies when you improve and implement a process.
Based on these insights some years ago I created the 4+2 model for processes. This model makes it clear that in and around a processes, various areas of activity are present (or need to be implemented).
In addition, it makes clear in what typical areas, some often overlooked, large potential for improvement exists.

The 4+2 model in a diagram:

Let's go through the areas...

Essential part of the process
This is the area that most analysts, especially beginners, start to analyse and understand. These are the core activities required to deliver specific value (in terms of delivering a product or service). The key question here: what is needed to deliver a product or service? It's about value added work.

For example, let's take the process of requesting a grant, the essential area would be about:
- Receive request
- Review request
- Decide on request
- Inform the requester
- (if positive decision) Pay the grant

This area is of course essential. But to often this is the area that gets the most attention, and sometimes is even the only area that is addressed. This severely limits your power as analyst/designer.

Logistical part of the process
What is often forgotten is the logistical part of a process. The key question in this area is: what is needed to get the right person to perform the right task, with the right inputs and materials, at the right time. It's about flow, how do we let a request flow efficiently through the organization?  Sadly, often this area (and the complex activities that need to take place) is buried in process models in the arrows.

For example, let's continue to grant process:
- Receive the request by mail, sort them by customer, and distribute them (once a day) to the right team
- Distribute the requests in the team
- Work on the stack of requests in FIFO order, except when Prio 1 requests have been signaled
- Collect all decisions per week (in a folder) and bring this to the financial department.
- Bring the payment tape (weekly produced) to the bank. It takes 3 days for processing.

This area has often the potential for large improvements (my estimate: 30 - 50%, in terms of time and costs). I encountered one time a situation in which a analyst team had been given the assignment to shorten delivery time of a insurance transaction. Weeks had been spent on trying to cut time, but only looking at the essential part of the process. The progress: several minutes of activities could be saved. But when we started to address the logistical part, we discovered that certain arrows between the activities took 3 - 5 days. What was the matter? They needed to fetch the paper client-folder from another location, and the truck that drove between the locations had a limited schedule, resulting a long wait.
This is the area that deals with queuing, first in first out, and waiting for resources for inputs or inputs waiting for resources.

Customer journey
When understanding a process or improving it, it is important to understand what is required (or what actually happens) of the customer to keep the process going. In many process analysis I still see the swim lane/pool of the customer missing. Optimal alignment of the customer activities/process and the essential + logistical process is required to create a customer friendly delivery.
Note: the customer journey often goes through various processes, as the journey travels through phases such as 'orientation', 'selection of supplier', 'transaction', 'aftercare'.

Supplier process(es)
For certain parts of the process, inputs might be required from suppliers/value chain partners. Again, also in this area it is important to understand the activities and inputs that are required from suppliers, and how these align with the essential and logistical areas of the process.

Operational and tactical management of the process
Where the essential and logistical areas are about 'do', this area is about plan, check and act. This area deals with the management within the boundaries of the process. The key question is:  are we doing the process right?
This question is on two levels:
- Operational: how to make sure a specific delivery (such as one specific grant-request) is delivered on the right time, place, quality and cost (as defined in the required process).
- Tactical: how to make sure that the flow (the set of current work in progress) is within acceptable ranges.
Sometimes, analysts take this area into account, but limit themselves to only define key performance indicators, norms and create solutions for dashboards, so that involved people are sufficiently informed on the operational and tactical status. However, this is not enough. One needs to also consider the steering-instruments (what can you do if all the signals are in the red zones?): what interventions can we do to (for instance):
- Operational: make sure that a delayed request is prioritized?
- Tactical: decrease the average waiting time, due to seasonal influences, by adding resources?
Often, there is quite some waste involved in this area of the process. We often see many resources that need to collect, administer/maintain, and report performance data manually. And we see confusion and additional work, when different reports from different automatic and manual systems differ...

Strategic management of the process
The last area we focus on the key question 'are we doing the right process?'.
This is what I would call process management. It's about analysis and interventions in aspects such as:
- Is the process aligned with evolving customer expectations?
- Is the process aligned with strategy?
- Is the process aligned with IT? Can it be innovated?
- Is the process aligned with HR policies?
- Is the process sufficiently harmonized with other, comparable processes?
- Is the performance of the process acceptable? Can it be improved? Should we apply Lean?
- What is the experience of the customer (during interactions)? Can it be improved?
- What is the experience of the employees? Does this process create a motivating and engaging environment?
and Maturity
- Does the process have the right level of maturity?
(For instance: is there a clear process owner, is it documented, are activities and roles sufficiently established and implemented, are KPI's defined and measured, is there a clear incident/problem & change procedure for the process? etc).
In this area improvement is also possible. Often this part is not implemented (often as a result from, but also amplifying functional silos). And this leads to various inefficiencies, loss of customers, and loss of employee engagement (for instance: if certain process issues have been reported, but never resolved)

The 4+2 model is one of my key tools to explain, understand and improve processes. I hope you like it too!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Images of Process

We live in dynamic times. New images of organization appear. New business models. New organization operating models and cultures. New roles. And a growing shift to knowledge workers, dynamic processes and increased autonomy of employees.
What is surprising that in the midst of this all, the images of 'Process' are staying quite fixed. I think this deteriorates the power of process driven interventions. It limits us, through the limited lenses that these images provide, in seeing broader pictures. As more and more organization questions are turning 'wicked', solutions can not be developed in isolation. Other process images are needed, that should help us recognize and integrate key elements of the broader context processes are part of. In the years I have been involved in process innovation and improvement, I have been pondering on this one question - what's a process. What other viewpoints can we find, other images that help us enhance our perspective?
I want to discuss 6 images of process I found, using 6 different definitions. Each of these definitions help us see various of these key elements.

Definition 1: A process is a chain of activities, executed by various actors, to transform input to output, to provide a service or product to a customer. 
This definition, and tons of comparable ones form our most common image of process. It creates an automatic focus on activities: what happens when why how where and by who. In it's essence, it's fine - it has helped many organizations to increase efficiency and improve quality. It's one of the foundations of the industrial revolution. But it is also limiting us. Let's explore other additional definitions.
Key elements: activities, efficiency, quality

Definition 2: A process is the stuff we do to delight the customer, by providing the right value and experience
I like this definition, because it helps us to focus on one of the process stakeholders that is critical for the success of people's work within an organization: the customer (internal or external).
This helps us to think outside-in in two ways:
- From a value perspective : what is the need of the customer? How do we provide the right value?).
This is one of the key elements in for instance Lean, to help us focus on understanding the voice of the customer, provide the right value and get rid of waste.
- From an experience perspective : how does the customer want to be treated? What types of interactions during the customer journey (the moments of truth) create a positive experience?
Note that using the phrase 'The customer' has a risk leading to generalization of our customer view. Remembering that customers are all different people is an important step - and segmentation and use of persona's can help us to keep this in mind. Even better - co-creation of process designs is even a better step.
Key elements: customer, outside-in, customer journey, interactions, value, experience

Definition 3: A process is the behavior of a specific group of people and machines, in response to a certain trigger
This definition reminds us, that in the end, it's about behavior of specific people. We can create great to-be process models, but in the end successful process-transformation is about changing behavior of people. It helps us to discover the value of change management, of personal transformation, learning processes.
It requires us to understand people. And it prevents us from the illusion that you can design a process and roles and then simply 'shove' people in the boxes, arrows and swim lanes.
Key elements: people, behavior, learning, psychology of change

Definition 4: A process is a specific game in which various people, with various interests and stakes, attempt to reach certain objectives (which may be be derived from personal, departmental, company or other goals)
Every process analyst and designer know that improving processes can be tricky business. Various stakeholders around a process have different interests. Perfect alignment is difficult to achieve, but one needs to be aware of these interests and stakes, to be able to come to consensus.  Both process design and execution are stakeholder games.
I also like the word 'Game'. Webster defines it as 'a physical or mental activity or contest that has rules and that people do for pleasure'. It opens the perspective of gamification, where we can introduce game-like constructs in processes to make them (more) fun.
Key elements: stakeholders, stakes/interests, alignment, consensus or compromises, games, gamification

Definition 5: A process is a social and mental structure in which people can position their activities and collaborations, and in which people might find motivation, safety and meaning through their experiences. 
This definition I am still working on - to sharpen and to digest. It's about an intuitive feeling that processes can help us to create meaning and motivation. To help us find and understand our place in society, organization and various contexts. For me, this is about employee experience en engagement. I see processes that do not create safety (people unsure, insecure and under pressure), do not create motivation (struggling people, with repeated boring tasks and repeated problems) nor (positive) meaning. This definition resonates little with current BPM-thinking, which is, in my view, a shame.
Key elements: people, meaning, motivation, (social/psychological) safety

Definition 6: A process is a living work of art, in which people are in flow and their work and interactions form a choreography with aesthetic value
Have you have been part of a team-effort, in which you felt a deep appreciation of the beauty of good collaboration? Where activities almost had a musical rhythm? The feeling of 'check check check'. The feeling of 'yes yes yes'. Perhaps you have seen it in sports, where certain games transcended winning or loosing, to pure fun and flow. Or when you where dancing with someone (salsa, tango), and the moves of you and your partner blended in beautifully.
Maybe, deeply, this is what we all are looking for - creating the conditions for people to thrive, to be able to work in deep flow, and create beautiful performances of experience for all stakeholders that are involved.
Key elements: flow, beauty, thriving

These are the images I have at this stage in my development. I have felt that all of them have enriched my work as process consultant. Seeing broader perspectives and bigger contexts. Adding more value.

What images of process do you have? How have they helped you to see new perspectives?

Friday, November 08, 2013

The role of Design Thinking for creating optimal experiences through your channels and processes

I posted an entry on the Capgemini CTO blog about the importance of Design Thinking

Do read the other entries on TechnoVision 2014, interesting concepts and insights!

My article:

Design For Digital #7 – Think Design

Customers and employees interact, transact and work with organizations through a growing myriad of channels. Their experience during these interactions make them loyal to an organization or leave them forever: it’s a key differentiating element. And indeed, for consistent positive experiences to happen, they need focused attention from you. To create the right stage for customer and employee experiences, turn to Design Thinking. Make sure that you apply Design Thinking in your digital transformation efforts, including the design of your services and processes. Build the right consciousness, desire and capability to design and deliver compelling experiences, from an radical outside-in perspective. Delight!

Let’s start with a definition: ‘Compassion: sympathetic consciousness of others' needs and experiences, together with a desire to fulfill the needs while creating a positive experience’ (Webster dictionary, with some twists). How is compassion doing in organizations? Quite some research, including from Capgemini / MIT shows that customer experiences are far from optimal. In addition, various research shows that many employees are disengaged. That these two findings relate is only logical.

Yet, most organizations truly have the desire to fulfill the needs of their customers and employees. The key issues they encounter:

- Most services and processes develop stepwise, without looking at the whole and without being sufficiently consciousness of the needs and experiences of customers and employees.

- It’s not easy to design and create integrated and consistent customer experiences over various functional units and channels.

If you want to differentiate, turn to Design Thinking as a key, foundational element in your digital transformation.

A number of essentials elements that make up Design Thinking:

- Purposeful – Customers and employees have needs and want to fulfill them. In their own way. The steps they will take for this are often referred to as the ‘Customer Journey’ (but don’t forget the Employee Journey..). During this journey, they will typically interact with many of your channels, functional silos and IT solutions. And they will go through various emotions. You will need to understand their end-to-end journeys, their emotions and you will need to understand how to respond to them, with an integrated design.

- Human centric – Forget ‘customer’, ‘user’, ‘employee’. We are all humans, not pegs that want to fit an organization’s services or internal process. Everybody has various needs and emotions, different beliefs and values. If you want your customers and employees to have great experiences, you will need to understand them (personas), and even better: collaborate and co-design with them.

- Iterative – Customers and employees can’t tell you precisely what they want. As understanding humans and designing optimal experiences can be complex, you will need an iterative approach, in which you mix research, creativity, intuition and experimentation. Take a fresh, outside-in perspective on existing websites, mobile applications and other digital channels, and the other moments of truth. Apply a mix of craft, art and science, to come to the right enough answers (designs) and new insights to improve them.

Building a design thinking capability requires new skills (human research, creative design, concept testing, co-creative dialogues), new roles (UX designer, service designer) and new innovative approaches. Invest in Design Thinking and use it to reshape your services, channels and your Business Technology Landscape. Your first step: start with piloting Design Workshops for defining and designing new products, services and enabling IT capabilities.

Trust us, it will give you a new experience. And don't forget: it's all about compassion.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Towards meaningful and motivating workplaces, delivering great service

Lately, I have been diving a lot in a number of very interesting area's:
- Service Design
- Positive Psychology

What does this have to do with BPM?

In my view, we might be looking at something that is going to converge towards a new view on organizations, processes and workplaces.

Let's start with Service Design: a growing field of insights in how to create services. Service that deliver value for the customer and the organization. Services that create the optimal customer experience, personalized where possible. Service designs that are co-created, tested, improved. Service designs that are based on really investigating people behaviour and dialogue, to understand reasons, cause and effect. Service design bringing key concepts of Experience, Moments of Truth, Customer Journey, etc.
My big discovery was that Service Design focus is not only on customer and value for the organization. It is also focuses on employees. And that's strong. Employee experience, employee motivation and engagement are key to drive customer experience and people's happiness in general. Employees have moments of truth as well. And within bad systems, employees can have a lot of bad moments of truth. This not only creates unhappiness (and potential exits, illness, etc) but leads in general to unhappy customers. We all have had our share of service delivered by grumpy people.

Now, would it be possible to create happiness in organizations? Based on a growing set of research on positive psychology ( I think yes. Many books have been published, and check out and the internet for great findings in this area (Seligman, Achor, Fredrikson, Boyatzis). Positive psychology, as the evidence based sequel to humanistic psychology, delivers quite some insights in what can make us happy. According to Seligman: Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and purpose, and Accomplishments.

I think it is time for incorperating these new views in our toolbox as process designers. BPM as a discipline for process design and innovation has typically had its focus on factors as efficiency, compliance, productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction. Nodding? Well, where is the employee?
I think it's time to link BPM back to Organisational Development. Helping employees to create positive, engaging, meaningful workplaces. Using service design and positive psychology.

And to conclude, don't do it for them, do it for yourself: The typical process designer comes in and tries to find bottlenecks, issues, problems. Literally every day we train our brain to see what's bad, what's missing. Well, that does not help you to become happy....

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

APMG's Organizational Change Management Certification relevant for BPM specialists

Recently I followed a training at my employer to get certified (through two exams) for the APMG (Organizational) Change Management practioner-role. More information on the training here (Dutch).

For more information on the certification, check the official site. APMG is also the institute for other well known certifications such as PrinceII and MSP.

(Note: this training of Change Management is not related to ITIL change stuff, or processes that deal with scope change in projects. This is oriented at changing people in organisations - Organization Change Management/OCM, or  "Veranderkunde" in Dutch)

The course and exam is primarily based on the book "Making Sense of Change Management" (link here).
The strength is that it is a eclectic exploration of different views, schools and approaches. So not a simple "follow these 10 steps", but much more contingency oriented, with a broad view on approaches, and (mostly) honest discussions on applicability, strengths and weaknesses.

Contents include:
- Views/approaches on individual change (each organization change requires individual people change)
- Team development
- Metaphores of organizations
- Organization change
- Styles of leadership for change
- Change readiness assessments

In my opinion, a very relevant training and certification for BPM specialists. Why?
From some distance, most what we do as consultants is influence behavior:
- To make people aware
- To help people (power) to decide change
- To help people adapt to changes
In that light, BPM can be seen as a set of interventions to help decide, direct and change behavior.
Because in the end, most processes in my opinion, can be defined not so much as "a series of activities transforming input to output", but much more as "the behaviour that a set of people show, after a certain trigger". If you want to improve processes, you (hope to) change behavior in real people, not diagrams or (just) BPM engines.

Seeing the enormous amounts of failed innovation, IT and process improvement projects, knowledge of the change part is essential for a BPM specialist. Any BPM project is a change project. This training will broaden your view, make you aware of various approaches and will fill your toolbox!

Did I miss things - sure. The book and the course did not go into (for instance):
- Various types of interventions in more detail
- Process centric change
- Typical BPM interventions
- Motivational theory
- More modern approaches on team & artifact development (service design, SCRUM, etc)
- More modern approaches on personal development (ACT, Mindfullness, Appreciative Inquiry)

And the book is UK/US focused. In the Netherlands (and likely in other countries too) there is a wealth of research, views and approaches that were not covered in the exam (but were, high level, provided in the course by Capgemini).

Eye opener for me: many of the modern approaches are simple repeats and refinements of ideas that have been around for ages. We are (often unaware) standing on the shoulder of giants!

A good course and good exam. Recommended.