Posted by: Adam Deane | 09/03/2011

The Peasants are Revolting

BPM RevolutionTerrible isn’t it. The middle east is in chaos , uprising in Tunisia, uprising in Egypt, uprising in Libya.
Apart from the economical problems and social inequality, they say the main reason for the riots is government corruption.

Blatant government corruption – how dreadful is that!

Luckily, here in the west, we don’t have that problem.
Our politicians are educated, well-mannered and polite.
They don’t force people to give them small petty bribes.
Our politicians are more civilized. More sophisticated. They take bribes in a respectful, clever and well-mannered way.
Ours take big bribes, ones that buys them a house. Not those nickel and dime bribes.

Anyone that has worked with private companies and government offices knows that there are subtle differences in the objectives and usage of BPM systems.

My favourite workflow, the one that I enjoyed building the most – was for a local government in one of the European Union countries.
Fantastic workflow. 90 steps.
Its objective was to provide transparency into the decision making of the ministerial office. The workflow process was a set of decisions and approvals. Each workflow instance was planned to take up to 5 years (the government decides slowly…)

It was a simple workflow. Two participants. The government minister and his assistant.
The minister raises an issue, the assistant does research into the subject, writes his comments, the minister revises, assistant comments again…. the minister takes a decision. 90 steps, running over 5 years.

Now of course, the minister didn’t know how to use a computer, so actually it was a workflow that was run by the assistant sending tasks to himself.
And although I took great pride and put in a lot of effort to create a workflow masterpiece, with pretty gauges and audit trails – I’m doubtful that it’s being used. It’s probably sitting on the server looking pretty.

But the government can take pride in announcing that they have a BPM system and are using 21st century cutting-edge technology.
They have delivered on their promise to their constituents to take the required measures and respond to the rising aspirations of the people for better transparency, responsibility, and eliminating waste of public funds.
Fair, decent and transparent

You see… that’s the difference between us and them.


  1. Adam, brilliant post! Government examples, though, have a tendency to be taken lightly – it’s them eventually, not us 🙂

    I have seen this happening in almost every workflow involving senior management. All management level folks look for alternate ways to carry it out than to participate in the process the way intended 😉 Some have executive assistants.


  2. Shows that BPM can’t still control ethics, habits, commitment and participation.
    But then those are never important for an organization, is it?

  3. Adam, great post! Is it co-incidence that we are both bashing government in the same week? Boy it feels good!

  4. Wickedly funny, until you think about it. Then sad and a bit scary. :/

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