12 important questions when starting bpm projects
Starting a Business Process Management project and choosing the right BPMS system can be a quite tricky thing to do, especially if your organisation does not have experience on it. There are several ways to start BPM projects and there are many methods available to choose from. Here are some questions that you can ask when thinking about starting a BPM project. You can read my articles on Customer Experience Management – CEM and Business Process Management – BPM here: http://bit.ly/H4drSe
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Starting a Business Process Management
(BPM) project and choosing the right
BPMS system can be a quite tricky thing
to do, especially if your organization
does not have experience on it.
There are several ways to start BPM
projects and there are many methods
available to choose from. Here are
some questions that you can ask when
thinking about starting a BPM project.
1. What process is at hand
and what does it achieve?
You should first get an idea what that process is
about. Asking what it achieves will help you get the
reason why this process exists. It will also help you
understand how critical is this process for
organization’s customers. The process should be
clearly some part of producing successful customer
outcomes. But do not restrict yourself into one process
only, every process in your organization needs to have
some clear function in fulfilling customer needs
(otherwise that process is redundant and needs to be
get rid of). So do process significance analysis to find
most important ones.
2. How does the process
To choose what is going on in the process, you should
get some kind of idea how that process works today.
There are many ways to do that, for example
flowchart and CEI Method. If your organization does
not have process maps, this is a good time to pick up
a pen and start drawing. But remember that the point
is not to get that process map, but to understand how
that process works today. Therefore, it is important to
have all relevant parties participating process
mapping. I say it once again: the goal is not to model
the processes just for the sake of modeling them, but
to understand how those processes work.
3. Who are the
participants in the process
and what are their roles?
This will get you the roles and responsibilities of the
people involved with process. This will also help you to
find right performers to various tasks. Right people
should be doing the right work. This is why it is
important to have people from all parts of processes
participating the modeling, because they do tasks
that others do not know of and thus, could not model
them into process map.
4. Which business units
participate in the process?
This will help you understand who are the stakeholders
and how complex it will be to design the process. The
general rule is that if there are more units, the more
complex the process will be and the more effort you
(and client project team) will spend bringing everyone
to a common accepted stage. The more you have
functional silos in your organization, the more
complicated it will be. Process optimization goal is to
get rid of those useless functional silos and design the
organization’s hierarchy around fulfilling the customer
5. What will be the value
of the process to
customers in future?
Now you start asking questions about what needs to
be built. Find out what business you are in, what are
the customer needs and how to provide that with
minimal customer interaction. Such processes that are
not directly contributing to fulfilling customer needs
are the be get rid of. Also tasks in processes that are
not clearly contributing to that goal, should be either
removed or at least improved.
6. Where does the process
start and end?
This is very important, maybe even the most important
question besides what business are you in. Sometimes
you will realize that employees do not understand
where process starts and where it ends for your
customers. They know just their part of the process.
Make sure that everyone involved in that process
knows both their part and the whole purpose of the
process. This helps people to be more proactive in
process improvement and it will also make the work
more meaningful because they will know how their
contribution is used in the big picture. This will also help
to avoid building those functional silos that do not
7. What information flows
from one person to
It will help you to model and minimize internal hand-
overs. If you are going to use BPM System, this will help
you determine what the screen and data fields should
be. Sometimes you could be dealing with complex
sets of data. Do ask questions why these information
flows happen and whether they are really useful.
8. Which internal and
external systems will this
process interact with?
Find out what level of integrations are you looking for.
Most of the business processes will be integrated with
some other systems. Sometimes integrations could
lead to complex processes, screens and routing.
Remember that integration is a tool for providing
successful customer outcomes easier. Use technology
to help you, not to slave you. Nowadays there are
many good BPMS system available to do that.
9. What business rules are
associated with the
Ask what business rules are there. Also ask how often
do they change. And most importantly, ask whether
they are still relevant. If you are going to use rule
engine as part of the BPMS, this will help you
determine if rules should be embedded into the
process or put in as a separate component.
10. What are your
Your data layouts, your process routing could depend
upon what reporting requirements are there. If user
needs reports business unit wise or region wise, you will
need to incorporate those fields into your work-flow.
When you measure, remember that you get what you
measure. It is crucial that your KPIs are aligned with
successful customer outcomes, otherwise you will not
get the results that you are looking for in business
sense. You can use Business Intelligence tools joined
with BPM tools to get that information.
11. What are your
implementation time lines
Determine what are the time lines and constraints. It is
possible that people will ask you the question “when
can I have this?”. Be sure you keep it open or at least
realistic. Unless your implementation team has
analyzed everything, do not give an estimate.
Determine what constraints organization has and
figure out how the project can still go through.
12. Who will sign off the
requirements and final
production for this
Finding out the right people is important. If one person
is going to sign-off the requirements and the other is
going to do user approval tests, you are in trouble.
Make sure the right stakeholders are in your list and
you spend enough time talking to them over the
course of project implementation. It is very important
to make sure that top management is committed to
process improvement and give their full support for
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