The WfMC and many other who help have been trying to highlight the positive examples of both BPM and ACM by collecting use cases, judging the best, and publishing in compendia. It was Socrates who said there is value in a focus on the negative: he would rather be refuted than to refute another because being rid oneself of evil of harboring false beliefs is better than ridding it in another. At the risk of sounding slightly selfish, we should ask the same questions: has BPM failed, and in what ways does it fail?
It might be more important to learn the ways that BPM fails – so we can avoid them – than to only study the ways that it succeeds. There are many vague rumors of BPM “not working” or being a waste of time, but has anyone done a serious study of cases that have failed? Do we have any solid documentation of failure cases, what led up to them, and what went wrong?
Clearly you will not have any publication of this from BPMS vendors. You might have evidence that “my approach is better than their approach” but rarely do you find thorough research and unbiased reporting of those findings when they come from a vendor.
If you know of a good study about BPM failure, please let me know. Add a comment, and a reference to an article or the study with details on what really happened. I will compile a list of such references below.
While at it, comment on the idea: should the WfMC BPM Awards give out awards in a special category for projects that failed? There might be more to learn from the failures than from the success, but it seems so …… negative.
- Blockbuster’s Business Process Management Failure – a course at U of San Francisco, but this is just a link to the catalog, not the study
- Why Do So Many BPM Projects Fail? – good discussion on ebizQ but no references to case studies.
- Failure Points: Where BPM Projects Tend To Falter – Business Finance Magazine again summarizing without specific evidence from 2008.
- (more coming … please comment)