Razvan Radulian, business transformation consultant, commented:
Is there such a thing as a metaprocess? When we say ‘process(es)’ there actually two things that match the term: (1) process models and (2) process instances. Going back to your definition for metaprocess – process that transforms other processes – which one(s) are you talking about?
- If instances, that’s probably easier to grasp (and, most likely, already taken care of … by some process model).
- If models, that gets quite more interesting. So, let’s see! Would that a process instance be (of a metaprocess-model) that changes another process model?
Good points. To answer I need to ask what an instance of a process is
. You’re probably referring to a performance
of a process.
Clearly, “transforming” a (‘live’) performance is an interesting question. There are at least two ways of doing that. The first is a process that coordinates
another process in real-time. Think of a conductor’s process to direct a symphony, or a director’s process in the making of a movie.
Another way is by real-time evaluation of business rules. That’s how you get truly dynamic, traceable, repeatable ‘performances’.
But I was actually talking about process models
, not instances
(performances). If you change the model of a process, the effect is to change every performance (execution) of that process model thereafter. That’s the how I think most people in business process improvement would think about the matter.
But your points are well-taken. First, there are probably two kinds of meta-
with respect to processes:
- Meta-process-performance coordinates other process performances.
- Meta-process-model transforms other process models.
Second, you can mix the two – e.g., talk about a meta-process-performance
transforming other process models.
In that case, however, you’re not really talking meta-
. The noun subjects are not the same (i.e., performance
). At that point I think you’re just talking about doing actual process improvement work.
 This series of point/counterpoint replies is a follow-up to my post “Meta Here. Meta There. Meta Everywhere?” (March 31, 2014), which generated a surprising amount of great discussion. (Thanks all!) Refer to: http://www.brsolutions.com/2014/03/31/meta-here-meta-there-meta-everywhere/
The definition I’m using for meta- is from Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary [3b]:
3b: of a higher logical type – in nouns formed from names of disciplines and designating new but related disciplines such as can deal critically with the nature, structure, or behavior of the original ones *metalanguage* *metatheory* *metasystem*