Is Micromanagement a necessary part of BPM?

This tidbit of advice (in a list among others) was sent around to managers at my company recently:

Stop micromanaging. Micromanagement is a sign of mistrust. You hired them for a reason. If you don’t trust they will get the job done then by all means, either find people who you think will, or leave them alone to do their jobs.

This is good advice for almost all teams, and certainly for knowledge workers.  But isn’t micromanagement exactly what BPM is all about?  Maybe, maybe not. Continue reading

“Pull” Systems are Antifragile

John Hagel wrote a good review of Nassim Taleb’s book “Antifragile“.    Hagel’s book “The Power of Pull” describes a shift in the world from push systems to pull systems.  The push system is the epitome of formalize, automated systems.  The kind of system that was designed by someone with what I call “enlightenment bias”.  They attempt to anticipate everything that might happen, and provide well considered options for it. Continue reading

Throw Away the Process Map, use Status Feedback Instead

For knowledge workers, automating the business process so that the system can “tell them what to do” is the entirely wrong focus for IT system support.  The focus of the system should instead be on presenting to knowledge workers the current status of the project, measured a couple of different ways.  The distinction is subtle, but important. Continue reading

How Technology causes Fragility

Q: When is it easier to ship a $600 electronic device across the country and back, than it is to change a field in a database?

A: When you are a phone company.

This is a true story, and one that perfectly illustrates how IT systems, when implemented, can actually make a company less flexible and less able to cope with unpredictable things.  Information technology can actually make a company more fragile. Continue reading

Achieving a Stateless Workplace

Richie Etwaru makes a post about Human as a Service about the idea that everything / anything can be made available as a cloud.  To do so, we need to think about organizations that are stateless as opposed to stateful.  There is a parallel between stateless and unpredictable, and how statelessness allows processes to emerge, instead of being defined in advance. Continue reading

Yes, it really is about the Knowledge Worker

My position paper for the Adaptive Case Management Workshop was to propose that “BPMN is incompatible with ACM.”  I got a lot of flack from the hard core BPM disciples   In spite of clearly stating that ACM is designed for knowledge workers to create their own process plans, many many still believe that there will be a process professional creating plans for others.  I sometimes feel as if I am having the following conversation: Continue reading

Can Process Knowledge Be Collected?

A basic assumption so central to running an organization that we never question it.  What if it is impossible to collect process knowledge?  The thought follows from Steve Denning’s excellent article “Can Knowledge Be Collected? Lessons From The Health Sector” in Forbes this month.   Continue reading

Critique of a Knowledge Worker Cockpit

Exactly one year ago, Fred Cummins published a blog post called “A Knowledge Worker Cockpit” which remains today one of the best descriptions of the kind of information system that an active knowledge worker needs to keep on top of unpredictable processes.  Over the year I have started a couple of time to critique the article, and finally here it is.  There is a lot to agree with, but a few things I would suggest differently. Continue reading

4 Process Trends & 1 Gap

So much buzz about a new emerging category of process technology.  Analysts and vendors alike are talking about it, using a variety of different names: Case Management, Unstructured Processes, Human Coordination Technology, Human Interaction Management, Smart Case Management, Dynamic Process, etc.  I helped lead a Thought Leader Summit meeting on this topic in November Continue reading