Posted by: Adam Deane | 10/06/2011

Organisational Development

Alec SharpBusiness Process Management Conference – Europe 2011.
The conference got off to a good start.
You go to these conferences in hope that they will be interesting and thought provoking. Alec Sharp provided both.

Alec steered away from the standard BPM presentations. Instead, he provided a brilliant presentation on Organisational Development.

When we talk about process improvement, we usually talk about tweaking activities in the workflow, simulation and business rules.
Alec highlighted incentives as a way to improve process performance.

I found that approach quite novel.
We usually don’t like to talk about employees and incentives. It sounds dirty. We like to stick to diagram changes as the way to improve processes.
But as long as there are humans involved in the process – commissions, rewards and punishments will affect process performance. It’s human nature. People respond to targets. Simply take the time to consider the human elements.

Think of the sales team in your organisation, now think of the slackers in your organisation. What’s the difference? Incentives.
Organisation Development is not just about incentives. There’s more to it. But it’s something that never appears in our BPM discussions.

Organisation Development (OD) is a conceptual, organisation-wide effort to increase an organisation’s effectiveness and viability. OD is usually referred to as a response to change, a complex educational strategy intended to change the beliefs, attitudes, values, and structure of an organisation so that it can better adapt to new technologies, markets, challenges, and the dizzying rate of change itself. OD can involve interventions in the organisation’s “processes,” using behavioural science knowledge organisational reflection, system improvement, planning and self-analysis.

Marco Brambilla provides a great writeup of the session here

So the techie in me starts thinking of ways to embed OD into BPM software.
But I’m not sure it’s possible. Organisational Development, Change Management and Organisational Culture would be dealt with better by a consultancy company, not a software vendor.


  1. Hi Adam,

    I think you are highlighting something very significant here: that business transformation of any sort is about people. Systems can play a vital part but ultimately it’s about systems supporting people to deliver end-to-end processes more efficiently and at lower cost.

    It’s not always been fashionable in BPM circles, which in the past have tended to focus exclusively on automation, but at Nimbus we’ve always been concerned about the bigger picture. So I’d disagree with your conclusion that OD and CM are ‘better dealt with by a consultancy company’ [we’ve all seen where that can lead 😉 ].

    What’s really needed is a BPM platform that can provide a multi-dimensional but holistic view of the enterprise. Supported by collaborative features and a robust governance framework, so that everyone is in step – and IT can stay fully aligned with the business. In this way, change management is wrapped in and BAU rather than a separate activity [and so BPM automation projects are far more likely to be successful].

    Great blog by the way – often LOL. You are of course in the wrong job. You should be writing sitcom scripts or something…


  2. Thanks Mike.
    OD is a new topic for me. Glad to see you guys are already doing it.
    I was hoping to see you at the conference…
    Ian’s presentation was brilliant. When’s yours? 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: