Politics is part of every organisation.
People don’t like change. Most see it as a threat, a loss of their power or a loss of the security in the old way of doing things.
They worry how the change will affect them and become apprehensive. These people are prone to defend the old way, some out of habit and out of unease.
Knowing how to deal with these situations is challenging.
Jacob Ukelson coined a great acronym for BPM. A cousin of our traditional Business Process Management definition.
He called it Business Politics Management.
For those that don’t have the luxury of working in an ivory tower, and actually need to go to customer sites and interact with people – Organisational Politics is one of the hardest, yet interesting parts of any BPM implementation.
Every company has internal politics. The bigger the organisation – the “better”.
Sometimes the BPM system has been brought in to help sort out the mess.
Sometimes BPM is the one that causes the mess.
Knowing how to deal with internal politics is a skill. An important skill.
Everyone will tell you the right way to design a business process – is by designing it around the business procedure, not around people.
But in real life you find that you need to “bend” the process around political obstacles.
The task should go to head of the department for his review. But everyone knows that Mister X needs to be bypassed. Sometimes it’s because he is a slacker, he will never do the task, he has been in the organisation for years, he doesn’t care about the “procedure” and there is no one to discipline him. Sometimes it’s because he is too powerful and can get away with murder. In any case, trying to force the process to make him do the task will end in tears. The best way is to bypass.
And then you’ve got the department head that wants EVERYTHING to go past him, or the manager who demands to be included, not because his review is required, but because it makes him look important.
Some of these political issues are quite amusing. Part of the fun. Most can be dealt with by being flexible enough to include these “political requirements”.
Ok.. so the process will not be 100% optimised (no simulation needed here), but you’ve managed to take the thorn out, enabled the process to go-live, to be accepted, something to start with, “a bird in your hand is worth two in the bush”.
Who knows… maybe the process can change later on… (ah.. who am I kidding here..)
But then you’ve got the political issues that can cause a real risk to the project.
Go-live is a time when people get nervous as this is a proof point, therefore the preference is usually to delay rather than progress.
When a Go-Live gets delayed, the delay can add an additional 3 or 4 months plus to the project schedule. In extreme cases, the Go-Live won’t happen as more and more requirements are added to create the “perfect” solution.
And don’t forget the System Administrator. His job is to sit and guard the systems.
He only knows one word in english – “No”
And what about the IT managers that have been working for years using a waterfall methodology. Try explaining to them that BPM requires an agile development approach…
Now to be honest, I must admit that I enjoy participating in some of the political games. Getting a BPM solution implemented in a heavily political organisation is quite a challenge. Succeeding is very rewarding.
I’m getting quite good at it. I’ve learnt to be a diplomat. “The emissary”. Sometimes I find myself as the only person everyone is willing to talk to. Fun and games…
Politics is part of every organisation. Dealing with it is an art on its own.
It’s not part of any official BPM training you’ll ever get, you can’t model it in BPMN and no software solution can ever solve it. … or can it? …