Commentary on “A 10,000-foot View of the Business Process Space”: Guest Post
My December 8 blog post about classifying business process approaches generated an avalanche of responses. See the 2×2 matrix itself (from John Mansfield of Fidelity Investments) and the stream of Comments about it on http://www.brsolutions.com/2014/12/08/a-10000-foot-view-of-the-business-process-space-is-it-correct-is-it-complete/.
In the guest post below, Brett Champlin shares his evaluation of the matrix.
There are many things wrong with the matrix.
The dimensions mapped in the matrix are really those that are the core focus of the two improvement methods: Six Sigma focuses on defects and variation, while Lean focuses on waste and flow. In those terms, the diagram is more or less accurate, but it hardly covers the Business Process space in its entirety. I have used the matrices in Figures 1 and 2 (below) for that purpose.
Jeston & Nelis presented several 2×2 grids mapping different process change methods relative to time and cost and degree of change. These grids give a different perspective and are more complete, but still don’t cover the entire business process space. See Figures 3 and 4 (also below).
Most of these types of analyses are continuations of industrial engineering perspectives. They are fine if that aligns to your needs, but today many businesses are looking beyond ‘faster, better, cheaper’ as the only way to measure their processes.
These days many businesses take control of quality, waste and flow as a ‘given’. They are looking at other things such as customer attraction/engagement/retention, business agility (not IT agility), strategic positioning, etc. All of these perspectives are not easily represented in a simple 2×2 grid.
- Lean and Six Sigma are both process improvement methodologies and are frequently combined as Lean Six Sigma. So they can all be subsumed into a category of process improvement methods.
- The matrix leaves out classic process redesign methods which are very commonly used. These methods go beyond improvement methods to respond to things like automation, new products, M&A, etc. where the basic process is modified or extended to accommodate some new situation.
- Process improvement and redesign methods along with reegineering (aka process transformation and/or innovation and/or reinvention) are all process change methods. Change management should certainly accompany them all.
- The matrix also leaves out Business Process Management as an all-encompassing discipline that deals with all types of process change as well as strategy, monitoring and measurement, and process portfolio management.
- It also leaves out Customer Experience Design, which over the last several years has been incorporated into many BPM toolkits as a precursor to any process change effort.
Tags: BPM, Brett Champlin, business process management, business process re-engineering, continuous improvement, Lean, process redesign, Six Sigma
Ronald G. Ross
Ron Ross, Principal and Co-Founder of Business Rules Solutions, LLC, is internationally acknowledged as the “father of business rules.” Recognizing early on the importance of independently managed business rules for business operations and architecture, he has pioneered innovative techniques and standards since the mid-1980s. He wrote the industry’s first book on business rules in 1994.