Is Lisbon the place for Business Process Innovation?

Alberto Manuel pushed the boundaries of business process support in his new conference in Lisbon Portugal on April 18, 2013.  It was not the typical rehashing of “this standard, that formalism, see the life-cycle, marvel at the sophisticated architecture diagrams”. Instead, he set out to challenge the audience to think not about where we are today, but where this is all taking us, and what might it become.

In his own summary, BPM Conference Portugal 2013, he cites the three top themes of the conference:

  • Cybernetics, or the ability to deal with diversity;
  • Adaptation, how companies sense, innovate and change the way operations are performed;
  • Socialization, how managers can change the way people get engaged out of the organization charts and use other approaches to achieve the intended results.

Decidedly not your normal BPM conference topics.  He invited an eclectic set of speakers to deliver this challenge to the audience.  I was certainly honored to be included as a keynote speaker.  I gave a talk that expanded on the ideas I presented at BPMNext about Antifragility, adaptive systems, and how there is a danger of making an organization fragile if you try to force it into a single best practice model.

Denis Gagne – was there to present on simulation and process mining, including coverage of the new BPSim standard that he led the workgroup in forming.

Ivo Velitchkov – gave a really interesting talk on “taskless” BPM diagrams.  Yes, that is right, he proposed eliminating the activity node from BPMN diagrams.  How does that work?  Don’t tell people what to do, but instead tell them the context within which to do the work.  I am intrigued by this idea that specifying the tasks unnecessarily restricts the actions at run time, because of the limitations of design time.  Really enjoyed the discussion about how complexity is a problem in system design.

Tom Graves – unfortunately schedule conflicts prevented my seeing his talk about the roll of narrative in system design/architecture.  However, in the hallway conversations I cam to appreciate Tom’s sense of how to handle complexity, something that is very central to my own talk.  See his summary of the conference, At BPM Portugal 2013.  He includes a nice quote in his slides (my paraphrasing from Chris Potts):

we should not think about customers appearing in our processes, but how we appear in the customer’s experience.

Michael Poulin – We have debated on line before, but this was my first chance to see him in person.  Michael concept of Purpose Case Management is that you might have a case management system that blends different styles of case management together: more structured (like Production Case Management), freeform (Social Business Software) and adaptive (ACM).  I think he is on to something here, however I still question the idea that someone will have to choose which approach to take before doing the work.  Talked about “service oriented enterprise” which reminds me very much of my concept of “large scale process federation” as well as the idea of case-2-case information exchange discussed with John Reynolds at the BPMNext conference.

Robert M. Shapiro – Robert has been showing the potential for process analytics for a long time.  There is a goldmine in being able to actually know what is going on in an organization, and feed that into management in near real time.

Vitor Santos – unfortunately missed this talk as well, but apparently it covered elasticity and incremental adoption, which is a key to getting system buy-in.

The entire conference was video taped, and I am very much looking forward to when those appear, and I can see the talks I had to miss due to schedule conflicts.

This was Alberto’s first chance to host a conference, and by all accounts he rose the the occasion.  Add on top of that, Lisbon’s museum that allows you to taste a wide variety of different port wines!  All in all, the conference included a surprisingly refreshing collection of topics all around the future of BPM.

1 thought on “Is Lisbon the place for Business Process Innovation?

  1. Keith, It was a pleasure to have you as a keynote speaker of the event. I hope the event could influence others to think differently how to make change and adaptation happen.

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