Posted by: Adam Deane | 14/11/2012

BPM and Karma

KarmaIt’s all about Karma.
Actions from the past influence the present, and present actions influence the future.

So I stood there thinking to myself, What did I do in a previous lifetime, to deserve this…

I was asked to do a session with the customer’s HR department.
I don’t usually do process analysis. It requires patience, not one of my strong points.
Patience to let the customer come to the conclusions by themselves.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and.. well.. you’ve saved yourself a fish.

Process analysis is always seen as a business thingy. Something to improve business performance.
Surprisingly, it has more to it that that.

I spent the day with the customer’s HR team analysing one of their processes.
You know the drill… business pains, objectives, process steps, as-is, to-be…

The process improvement was probably the least important thing that we achieved that day.

The HR team bonded. They opened up and talked about their process, together.
When we had scripted the whole process on the whiteboard, they suddenly realized how complex their work is.
Going through the legal obligations they suddenly understood how responsible their work is.
Going through the process details, they suddenly understood how intelligent and well-organized their work is.
Going through the steps to optimize the process, they suddenly understood how clever and professional their work is.
More importantly, they suddenly understood how important their work is to the rest of the company.

Probably my most important contribution, was making their job seem more interesting
It was a morale boost for the team, better than a company day out.
Karma. My job there was done.

“So”, one of the girls said, “Do you think that analysing a boring business process with us is a punishment for something that you did in a previous life”?
No, I replied calmly.
I am probably your punishment.


  1. Excellent post, Adam. You captured what I love about doing something “boring,” like process mapping – it generates “aha” moments and awareness, and brings a group together better than all sorts of artificial team-building activities. In fact, I’ve had clients bring me in for process mapping precisely because of the ancillary benefits it provides. My favorite was the client who asked if I could please fly out to “do that thing you do.” That’s a really open-ended offer to put in front of a consultant!

  2. Characteristically succinct and smart post Adam! I couldn’t agree more. In fact I’m trying to convince my colleagues to let me write a post that basically suggests to “throw away all the methods you know, and just focus on working through problems and opportunities with the people in the process, face to face”. More of a thought experiment than a serious proposition, but often I find we hide behind methods when actually getting “out there” is going to have far more of an impact.

  3. I think a lot of teams could benefit from outlining their processes. When you break down exactly how the flow of things work you really start to appreciate the ins and outs of your daily job. It’s routine for you, so you stop noticing how complicated it is. Taking a step back is usually a big surprise.

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