BPM Modeling Strategies Explained

I have made a couple of posts on approaches to process modeling and how benefits can be derived from using itterative methods over the last few months. Here is another one that I find very interesting as it explores the eternal question of  ‘BPM Model Preservation vs Model Transformation’.

The recent presentation (with embeded audio) given by Keith Swenson at the  2009 Process.gov conference in Washinton DC on June 19, explains how a process model may or may not change over its lifetime i.e. static business model to execution in a BPMS and what the various considerations and trade offs are.

Keith identifies 3 kinds of change that a process may undergo:

  • Business Process Enactment: – the business process as it moves from the beginning to the end of handling a single case. The process definition does not normally change here, only the process instance or context that records the state of a particular case changes.
  • Business Process Lifecycle: – these are the changes that a business process goes through from initial concept, to modeling, to integration, and finally to deployment into an enactment environment.
  • Business Process Improvement: – the change to a business process that occurs over time through repeated use of the business process lifecycle followed by analysis of how well that version of the business process worked.

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How to ‘SCRUM’ – Approaches to Itterative BPM Agility

I have worked with various organisations to implement BPM solutions at both Enterprise and Departmental levels. A common challenge that I often come across is that both Business and IT don’t always understand how to apply itterative development approaches to support a BPM implementation.

As practitioners, I find we tend to take these types of approaches for granted but customers often need some education, especially if they have not used anything but Waterfall. The most common issue I find with Waterfall is that it instills a mind set of “Big Bang” project/solution delivery i.e. ‘know it all the build it and finally test it all’.  

With greater pressure on both Buisness and IT to show value and returns quicker and more consistently, itterative approaches have demonstrated their value with much better ROI and a lower unsuccessful implementation risk ratio, especially if an organisation is new to BPM. 

Various itterative approaches exist and the more commonly known one in my experience is SCRUM, XP, Agile and RUP. To help educate novices what its all about I thought the following resources may be useful.

Ken Schwaber co-developed the Agile process, Scrum. He is a founder of the Agile Alliance and Scrum Alliance, and signatory to the Agile Manifesto. Ken has been a software developer for over thirty years. He is an active advocate and evangelist for Agile processes.

 Further Reading (oldies but goodies):

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