“It’s not the tool, it’s how you use it that matters.” This and other cliches describe how technology and methodology can be used on a limited basis, abused or used to your distinct advantage in a competitive environment. BPM suites, by themselves, are not an advantage until they are deployed in service to company goals and objectives in a strategic, evolutionary fashion.
Lately, I’ve been sensitive to the terms “project” and “process”. It’s ironic, really. I mentioned in an earlier post that “project” mentality can be a bit dangerous in that project management fundamentals always imply an end (closure). As people see that the end date exists, it’s easier for them to detach from the project (emotionally and intellectually) and remain as passive witnesses rather than active laborers and inventors. This is especially true in organizations that have a bad track-record with projects and implementations. Too many people await “the end”.
I also find that there is a mentality among people that percieves the “creation” of a process as a one-time event. The process becomes a noun and an object to be “treated” and refined like a patient in surgery. People see the current process as an object and the new process as simply a new and different object. It’s as though a process gets created then exists as long as possible until it expires. They’ve turned a verb (process) into a noun (process).
Making Process a Verb
I want to promote process improvement in the context of continuous process improvement. Process management, analysis and improvement are never-ending approaches to running an organization. BPM is not an initiative nor a project nor a workshop to attend. It is an evolutionary mind-set and encoded behavioral model (equipped with tools) that maintains constant variability, testing, and selection will always lead to survival and success.
What to do?
Perhaps you have some ideas and suggestions? The very best example of this evolutionary model I can think of is 3M’s. If you haven’t studied how they do business and are the least bit interested in continuous improvement and invention, go find out. My tendency these days is to want to re-write and re-name project management principles so they don’t imply and produce so much stasis and creationsim in BPM. At the very least, I want to encourage everyone to manage continuous process improvement in the broader context of product and market development, customer satisfaction and loyalty as well as continuous QI.
Process management and improvement are not software and methods you employ from time to time. They are the operating system that is on and running 24/7/365. How have you found success in this regard?