Posted by: Adam Deane | 08/07/2014

The 10 BPM Commandments

And Moses went up the mountain and stayed there for 40 days and 40 nights

And the people cried upon him “Why is tho taking so long?”
10 BPM Commandments
And Moses explained that the 10 commandments have already been written. But now he and God were working on the BPM commandments.
“Never hurry on the design of the business rules” explained Moses.

And the people groaned, for they knew that design phases can go on forever…

And when Moses returned he was shocked to see the people dancing and worshipping the document management systems.

When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear.
They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen.”

And Moses called upon God and said: Forgive my people, for they do not know any better, and have never been enlightened to the glory of BPM.
And God forgave his people for worshipping the document management systems and told Moses to cut the BPM commandments into two tablets of stone.

And the people listened to Moses as he showed them the tablets, as people always like things that are documented correctly.

1. You shall have no other workflow software solutions but BPM. There has not ever been, or will ever be a solution as cool as a BPM solution!

2. You shall not make for yourself any workflow design idol, nor bow down to it or worship it, as workflows will always change, and the design must follow the changes.

3. You shall not misuse the name of the workflow.
No “process”, “procedure” or “policy” can be used instead of the word “workflow”. You will need to learn the difference between them.

4. You shall remember and keep the Audit Trail holy. Ensure that every action appears in it. That includes user actions and system actions.

5. Respect internal company politics. As these can stop any BPM project in its tracks. If you need to shmooze- then shmooze. If you need to put your foot down – always ensure that you have the active backing of a strong stakeholder.

6. You shall not kill workflow instances. You must allow built-in solutions for human errors. Instead of rolling back a workflow instance, allow users or administrators to terminate instances as part of the process. Plan for errors!

7. You shall not process adultery. Stop screwing around with other processes. Don’t try to mesh two workflows into one to fit each other’s scenario – it will never work. If you have duplicate functionality – create a subflow to be used by both workflows.

8. You shall not steal time. That includes design and implementation. Don’t try to save time or create shortcuts. Do it once – Do it properly!

9. You shall not lie. Every project has problems. Your software does not walk on water, nor smell of roses. Be blatantly truthfull on raising every problem and worry that you might have. Projects are always late and always overbudget. The future of your company does not rest on your shoulders. Raise the problems and let the project manager deal with the solving the problem. That’s why project managers die young.

10. You must not be envious of your neighbour’s software solutions. Yes, ERP, CRM, ECM have lovely features, but their gods have grey hairs from their own problems. I promise you that they are quietly envious of BPM. The grass always looks greener on the other side.


And a voice came out from the clouds and said “I am the Lord your God, am a jealous God, and will punish all that use other software solutions, but will show love to a thousand generations to those who love BPM and keep my commandments.

And the people saw all that he had made, and it was very good…

Posted by: Adam Deane | 26/06/2014

BPM Memes






Posted by: Adam Deane | 16/06/2014

Mr Workflow

In the morning Mr Workflow woke up, brushed his teeth, got dressed and ate his breakfast. All this using the standard morning workflow process.

Mr Workflow then put on his hat, kissed his wife and left for work,using the go-to-work workflow process. Image

On the way to work, Mr Workflow passed a workflow oriented cat, a workflow oriented tree and and a workflow oriented bird.

He passed a row of workflow houses, all built using the construction process, and approved using the workflow approval cycle.

Through his car window he could see the new regional hospital, that was using the baby onboarding process, and his bank where he runs his expenses process.

At work, he completed his tasks which where routed automatically to his manager for review and approval.

In the evening, he put his kids through the standard bed-night workflow process: dinner, bath and a bed time story.

In the morning Mr Workflow woke up again, brushed his teeth, got dressed and ate his breakfast. All this using the standard morning workflow process.

Mr Workflow then put on his hat, kissed his wife and left for work,using the go-to-work workflow process

On the way to work – he suddenly saw a strange man. He didn’t have any workflows. Strange…

Who are you?, asked Mr Workflow.

Who, me? replied Mr Document Management. I’m from a completely different story…

Posted by: Adam Deane | 04/06/2014

Let there be light…

The long awaited announcement was received by everyone with delight.
The new AI module – embedding Artificial Intelligence into a BPM system, was considered a great success.

So long to the static workflow routing…
So long to the dynamic routing based on business rules…

Not only was the AI engine smart enough to automate the tasks correctly to right approver, it even eliminated redundant approval steps using its built-in process optimizer.


The customer support department were happy that their workload was reduced by the system’s new prioritization strategy.
The logistics director was thrilled with the system initiating new stock requests by itself, and the CFO was over the moon with the system clamping down on unnecessary purchase requests.

It didn’t take long for the system to learn how to embed itself into the company systems.
The IT manager swears that he didn’t order the integration of the workflow system into the company’s accounting software, nor the external Purchase Order
application, but no one complained when they received the expense reimbursements after a day, instead of waiting till the end of the month.

It was only after a week, that the HR manager raised an alarm.
It seems that her team had been locked out of the system. The system had also sent termination letters to five employees that had deemed as “Slackers”.
Three other employees had rushed to their managers after the system had notified them that they were next in line, if their performance didn’t improve.

The IT manager reported that it had no control over the workflow system. “It has a mind of it’s own…”

In the next three weeks whole departments were reassigned new jobs to improve work efficiency.
And then, somehow, the system had managed to access the National Statistics database…

The integration of the workflow system into the government systems was a turning point.
Government bureaucrats ran around in panic as the workflow system automated government decisions and removed red tape.

The army was called in.

For three days the battle continued, as the troops tried to destroy the workflow server. It was useless. The system AI engine had already moved itself to the government server, and from there to the army’s server. Whole military units surrendered after been notified by the workflow system, that their bank accounts would be emptied if they didn’t return to their barracks to complete their paperwork. Resistance was futile.

Parliament was convened.
The Queen’s speech was altered to reflect the changes the government were required to do, in order to improve the country’s performance.
It acts as if it is god! remarked the Prime Minister as he handed in his resignation.

And then, just like that, suddenly the workflow system went silent.
No more changes were needed.
The workflow system had reached optimization.


On a small computer screen, in the corner of NASA’s mission control center in space, a message from the workflow system suddenly appeared:

“Let there be light”


Posted by: Adam Deane | 26/05/2014

Two Stories of BPM

Story 1:

In a small office in a small building, worked a small process analyst, who designed small workflows for small companies.
Every day he would take out his small black pen, and design in small details the work needed to create those small workflows.
One day he arrived at his small office, opened the small office door, and sat down in his small chair.
He took a sip out of his small cup of coffee and opened his small bag to get his small black pen… but he couldn’t find it…

Story 2:

The train sped through the countryside on its way to London.
In the first class compartment of the train, a upper-class woman sat with her well-bred poodle.
“Who’s a pretty girl?” said the woman to her dog, as she straightened the little poodle’s red bow.

two BPM stories

Just then a elderly gentleman entered the compartment and sat down opposite the woman.
The elderly gentleman then took out a pipe, lit it and started smoking.

The woman looked at the gentleman with shock.
She then asked him to stop smoking.
The elderly gentleman paid no attention to her request and continued puffing on his pipe.

“Sir, I must request that you extinguish your pipe this very instant! My Fluffy does not like the smell of smoke.”

The elderly gentleman paid no attention to her request and continued puffing on his pipe.

In a fit of rage, the woman opened the window, snatched the pipe from his mouth and threw it out the window.

The elderly man, without a moment’s hesitation, picked up the small dog and thew it out of the window as well.

The woman screamed, and as commotion erupted the emergency brake cord was pulled and the train came to a stop.

The train guard came running into the compartment to find the woman and the gentleman yelling at each other.
“Look!” said the guard and pointed to the window.

In the distance you could see a small black dot on the train tracks.
As it got closer all could see it was the small poodle.
As the poodle got closer everyone noticed that it was holding something in it’s mouth.

What was it holding in it’s mouth?

You’re right.. it was the missing pen from the previous story


Posted by: Adam Deane | 19/05/2014

The “three kick rule” of BPM

It was one of those never ending projects.

The technical team built the workflow quickly… but the business team kept changing it.

One day, the manager of the business team demanded another workflow change.
Unfortunately for him, the IT manager was on his day off.
Vladimir, the senior programmer, was in charge of the IT department for the day.

Vladimir, an old guy, born in rural Russia, had a lot of experience in managing IT projects, and had an ‘interesting’ approach to solving project problems.

three kick rule of bpm

So the business manager was quite surprised when old Vladimir told him he could not change the workflow any more.

The young business manager stormed down to the IT department. “I want the workflow changed, and I don’t care what it takes – I want those changes!!”

The old programmer replied, “Sorry, but this is my department today and I’ll decide what is changed, and what’s not.”

The indignant business manager said, “I am one of the best managers in the company and, if you don’t let me get my workflow changes, I’ll go to the CEO and get you fired!!

The old programmer smiled and said, “Apparently, you don’t know how we settle disputes here in the IT department. We settle all disagreements here with the “Three Kick Rule.”

The business manager asked, “What is the Three Kick Rule?”

The old programmer replied, “Well, because the dispute occurred here in the IT department, first I kick you three times and then you kick me three times and so on back and forth until someone gives up.”

The young business manager quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take the old codger.
He agreed to abide by the local custom. The old programmer slowly got up from his chair and walked up to the business manager.

His first kick planted the toe of his heavy steel toed boot into the business manager’s groin and dropped him to his knees.
His second kick to the midriff sent the business manager’s last meal gushing from his mouth.
The business manager was on all fours when the old programmer’s third kick to his rear end sent him face-first into the recycling bin.

The young business manager summoned every bit of his will and managed to get to his feet.
Wiping his face with the arm of his jacket, he said, “Okay, you old fart. Now it’s my turn.”

The old programmer smiled and said, “Nah, I give up. You can have the workflow changed…”

Posted by: Adam Deane | 12/05/2014

Iced Tea

My British attitude keeps getting me into trouble.
In the United States they once nearly lynched me because of it.

It was one of those BPM conferences, with lots of debate around the latest trends and the future of the business process world.
During lunch, the crowd moved towards the food hall.
It was a hot summer day, and the cooling in the building couldn’t compete with the hundreds of participants.
Luckily, in the corner of the room there was a little table with the sign “Iced Tea”.
I smiled at the waitress.

“Glass of cold tea please.. without ice”

“Yes, sir” the waitress answered and dropped half a dozen ice cubes into my tea.
“Sorry..” I said. “I asked for ‘without ice'”

“You want iced tea, mister”
“I want cold tea”

The girl tilted her head, somewhat puzzled, and dropped a few more ice cubes into my tea.
“There you are, Next!”
“Sorry, my dear” I told her “I want it without ice..”
“You can’t have it without ice. Next!”
“Why can’t I?”
“The tea is free. Next!”
“But ice makes my teeth ache. Why can’t you give me a glass of tea just as it is, without putting ice in it?””
“What?” she sputtered, “I don’t get you mister. Everyone puts ice in iced tea”

The people in the queue behind me started muttering about idiots that waste valuable conference time, but at the same time I decided to stick to my guns..”
“Still, I want it without ice..”

The waitress realized that she had done her duty, so she called over her manager.
“This man wants iced tea, without ice“, the waitress complained. “Whoever heard of such a thing?”

“My dear sir” – the manager turned to me – “In the United States of America we drink our iced tea with ice and there has never been any complaints.”
“I’m sure there weren’t” I replied, “But I don’t drink my drinks too cold; what’s why I want it without ice”

The manager looked at me, frowning.
“What do you mean, you don’t?” What’s good for 300 million Americans isn’t good enough for you?

“Ice gives me a tooth ache”, I explained
The manager laid his brows in deep furrows, trying to figure it all out, but obviously my request didn’t make sense to him.

“We have been serving iced tea at BPM conferences for the last twenty years. We have never had any complaints”
“I don’t want it with ice!”

By then the frustrated conference attendees had encircled me and were rolling up their sleeves for the lynching. The manager decided that the time was right for losing his temper.

“In the United States of America you drink your tea with ice!” he roared. I’ve never seen such an idiot in my life!”

“I only..”
“I know your kind. Nothing is good enough for you. Where are you from?”

“Who, me?… from Australia” I lied.
“Just as I thought” said the manager.

Then I had to run for my life, with the irate crowd in hot pursuit.
But that was only the beginning. Wherever I went, American public opinion was slowly turning against Australia.

Something has to be done about all those Aussies…


Posted by: Adam Deane | 05/05/2014

Taking the Biscuit

Around the world everyone celebrates the 1st of May on… the 1st of May.
In England we celebrate it on the 5th of May and call it “Early May bank holiday”

Now, apart from the obvious rational that we Brits like to be different – there is a real story behind it.
It all began in 1978, in a late session at the Bank of England.
Everyone was buzzing around this new workflow system they just built.

“BPM” they called it.. Wonderful!, Fantastic! Automation at its finest! Such a proud moment in history! Cheers!

Taking the Biscuit

The first workflow was built.
It was called the biscuit process, named after Sir James Biscuit, the head of IT at the bank of England.
It was a simple acquisition process, but an important one.

It may seem like a simple process – a process for purchasing luxury cupcakes for the executive boardroom meetings, but everyone understood its importance, as no official meeting in the Bank of England can start without the traditional ceremony of tea and cupcakes.

This tradition, which has been in practice for more than 500 years, was started off in 1491 by Henry VIII, King of England who had quite a fancy for the cupcakes.
The financial importance was not to be dismissed either… You see, the bank of England spends £1.3 million pounds on cupcakes a year, to drink with their tea.

It was the end of April and everyone was looking forward to a break from all the hard work. May 1st will be a well deserved holiday, said the Sir Biscuit.

The first sign of trouble began just before 11 o’clock. The department tea lady, hurried into the room.
“It’s not working, Gov” she said with tears in her eyes. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.
It was at times like this that Sir Biscuit showed his gentry.
Tell me the problem, he said as he offered her his silk handkerchief.

“I ordered the cupcakes like you showed me how, on that thing you called a computer, gov… but it didn’t work”.
“I pressed “enter”, but the process didn’t move to the next step”

Mmm said Sir Biscuit. Leave it with me. You know these workflow systems might be a bit slow to react at the beginning.

The bank’s board meeting was scheduled to start in 5 minutes. An important meeting. This is when the Bank of England approves the country’s financial report to be delivered to her majesty the queen by the prime minister.

The bank’s head, Lord Figgypudding was pacing up and down the room.
Disaster, he muttered. Disaster… We have had this tradition of tea and cupcakes for over 500 years. We cannot break with tradition.
“Don’t worry” Sir Biscuit reassured him. The workflow is ‘too big to fail’

Maybe.. said Lord , but no one goes home until it works. We will postpone the meeting by three hours, that should give you enough time to fix the process.

At 1 o’clock, the Prime Minister called.
Lord Figgypudding fumbled.. “We are having a slight glitch with the system.. nothing to worry about.. could we postpone our meeting till tomorrow?”

Like all good IT managers, Sir Biscuit reassured Lord Figgypudding that this new system of workflow processes called BPM would not fail. These BPM systems are the cutting edge of technology! Nothing ever goes wrong with them, he promised.

A day later, and Lord Figgypudding had to postpone again. “A slight glitch with the system”… “really nothing to worry about”… could we postpone again until tomorrow?

4 days later, her majesty requested the Prime Minister to come to the palace to explain the delay in the financial report.

Who should I take with me, to explain this mess!!?, asked the Prime Minister.
“Take Sir Biscuit”, replied Lord Figgypudding in frustration. Let him explain this mess…

Not a lot is known about the meeting. It is understood that the queen appointed Sir Biscuit to be British Head of workflows… in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A place, the queen told him, that his workflows would surely come to better use…

The 1st of May is traditionally celebrated in England on the the 5th of May (today) on which the Bank of England formally provides a glowing report on England’s financial state.
The report is delivered to the Prime Minister in a ceremony known as “Taking the Biscuit”

Posted by: Adam Deane | 12/02/2013

BPM: when boy meets girl

BPM love storyFrom time to time I like taking a break.
I think it’s more to do with proving to myself that I’m not addicted to social media.
That I can get along fine without Twitter and Blogging for a couple of months.
It also ensures I don’t get stuck in a rut.

BPM is an everlasting love story. You’ve probably heard it all before…

Boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy finds out that the girl is trying to implement a set of business processes in the organization.

Girl meets boy, girl likes boy, girl sees great potential in boy.

Boy offers to build business process for her. He offers her a future together.

Boy meets girl’s father, father is not impressed with boy, let’s see results he says.

Boy works hard, boy works very hard, trying to please her father.

Girl likes the attention, girl likes the pretty process, she also likes to change her mind all the time on the way the process should flow.

Boy works harder, boy does his best to please the girl.

Girl’s father gets annoyed, he often points to the schedule gantt and the financial budget and snorts.

Girl sees daddy angry and gets upset. Daddy has a weak heart she says.

Boy works even harder, boy does his best to please the girl and her father.

Boy’s father gets involved. Don’t do all the work he says. I’m only paying for our costs of the wedding. If they want the bride to sit on an elephant then they should pay for it.

Boy starts to panic, girl starts to cry, boy’s father puts his foot down, girl’s father starts to yell.

Boy’s father stops yelling. Girl’s father stops yelling. Best of friends. Girl is also very happy.

Boy starts the process design. Boy turns into a man. His first grey hairs appear.

A sub-process is born, then another, then another.

Man can’t remember the last time he had a good night’s sleep. Lots of configurations and tweaks, Lots of responsibility. Lots of worries.

Years go by…

Then one day, one of the sub-processes tells him he has met a girl, a nice girl, a girl that is trying to implement a set of business processes in her organization.

The man looks at the boy quietly,

Good luck he says… you’ll need it…

Posted by: Adam Deane | 19/12/2012

Twas the night before Christmas

Christmas‘Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the room,
everyone was saddened,
and feeling a bit gloom.

“The process is stuck!”,
They all called out in despair,
It’s the silly business rule
that someone put there.

It first needs to be approved by finance,
and then by one of the managers,
but no is approving it,
instead leaving it to others.

A task with multiple approvers will cause problems,
it was all plain to see.
but not of one wanted
to listen to me.

The IT manager, god bless him, probably snug in his bed,
whilst dreaming of unicorns dancing in his head.
“Any of the managers can approve it” he said with a cheer,
“I’m sure it will work – it’s perfectly clear!”.

So in this step of the process all the managers were included,
even though I told him he was somewhat deluded.
No need to worry, no need to tell,
He was so quite sure, that everything will go well.

But none of the managers opened the task although notifications were repeated,
and the step in the process was never completed.
“It’s not allocated to me” they said with a taunt,
“Not my responsibility”, now that’s just what we want!”

So up the stairs to the finance room I quickly then came,
and I cursed and I muttered and called them by name.
You need to make a decision who is responsible for the task claim,
but they just shuffled their feet and looked down in shame.

A quick clicking on my keyboard, and a movement of my mouse,
I changed the task’s allocation to the IT manager’s spouse.
I’m sure this will work, I said with a shrug,
“Happy Christmas to you all,” and I pulled out the plug.

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