Posted by: Adam Deane | 13/12/2010

BPM: The Big Bad Wolf

Once upon a time there were three process developers.
The time came for them to leave home and seek their fortunes, so off they went into the BPM woods.

Developer 1: This is easy. I’ll get some straw and build the workflow quickly. That way I can deliver it on time.

Developer 2: I will make my house very strong. I will get some heavy wood and make a stronger house than yours. It might take more time, and it might not be ready by Wednesday’s deadline – but the parts that will be ready, will be top quality.

Developer 3: Straw and wood are not strong enough. I will talk to the wolf and try to persuade him to check out my house a week later or postpone some of the features to phase 2.

On Wednesday night the big bad customer wolf came along and saw the first developer in his house of straw.
He huffed and puffed and blew the house in.
“REWORK!” yelled the wolf.
The first developer ran away to find the project manager.

The big bad customer wolf came along the second developer in his house of wood.
The walls are great said the wolf, and the garden is pretty, but where is the roof!
You knew that I was coming here. Why weren’t you prepared!
OVER-SCHEDULE and OVER-BUDGET yelled the wolf.
and the second developer ran away to find the project manager.

The big bad customer wolf came along the third developer in his house of bricks.
“Let me in, let me in!” yelled the wolf “or I’ll huff and puff and blow your house in!”
Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin”, said the developer.

There is no way to deliver all the features you requested, in the quality that is needed, in the time frame you set.
If I build it quickly I compromise on quality and stability.
If I build it properly, I won’t deliver it on time.
And if bend over backwards and succeed in delivering it on-time and on-quality – you will probably ask for additional change requests anyway.

The wolf pondered over the developers words. He scratched his chinny chin chin.
He tilted his head to the left. He tilted his head to the right.

You do have a point, said the wolf.
So we have an understanding? asked the third developer.
Not really, said the wolf, blow the house in and ate up the developer.

The moral of the story: Doesn’t matter how smart you are. Wolfs like blowing in houses and eating process developers. It’s in their nature.


  1. An architect, however, comes to the rescue and helps the wolf to express in advance what houses he would like to have in this BPM ecosystem.


    • A love a story with a happy ending…
      Thanks Alexander!

  2. I wish you could animate these analogies…you would have a hit show on Cartoon Network for sure.

  3. Tudor Palanga added a comment on LinkedIn:

    A little bit pessimistic view but funny anyway. How about Developer 4 who persuaded the wolf/client in the initial phase/discussion?

    For Developer 3 the wolf said “You do have a point, said the wolf.” And I would add: “But you told me that too late”.

    Communication is the key. None of the 3 little developers communicated their problems early in the project.

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