Posted by: Adam Deane | 25/09/2012

The British Summer

British SummerWar, I said war! shouted the Prime Minister.
We cannot let the situation continue.
The spiteful rhetoric that their leaders say, the threats, the utter disregard of international agreements.

We have done all that any country could do to conduct ourselves in peaceful way, but the situation has become intolerable.

We have had no sunshine this summer. We will have justice.
Every person on this planet is entitled to a share of the sun’s bright light.

Recognizing the threat to our country, the British Government has therefore decided today to declare war.
As we speak thousands of people carriers are on the way to their shores.
We will have justice!

The parliament erupted with cheers and shouting.

But aren’t we worried that if we attack Iran, they will use chemical warfare against us? asked the parliament speaker.

What Iran? said the Prime Minister. I’m talking about invading Spain.


Whilst walking down the street, you sometimes suddenly find yourself ears-dropping in on other people’s conversations.
You don’t do it on purpose. You just pick up some dialog as you pass them by.

A little girl was walking with her mother on the footpath in our neighbourhood.
I was walking behind them, and just about to pass them, when I heard the little girl ask her mother a riddle.

Mummy, on what side of the road do people walk?

I immediately slowed my pace. I was intrigued by the question.
It’s a known fact the cars drive on the left hand side here in England.
Do people behave like drivers?

Most people are right handed. Does that have any impact on which side of the street people walk?

It’s a simple question. My brain started ticking. Complete overkill.
I slowed my pace to be able to follow the couple. I had to hear the answer.

I looked up. A simple observation. On both sides of the street there were shops. The road looked symmetrical. All conditions equal.
But there were twice as many of people on my side of the street. Why?

Observations defy assumptions.
It a trait that most of us in BPM have.
We assume that things will work in a certain way based on logical assumptions. We analyse the assumptions. We set expectations based on the assumptions. It’s just when we peek into the organization, we see people acting differently than expected.

I’ve given myself a task to try and create a list of observations in the BPM industry.
Observations sometimes defy expectations and professional assumptions.
Sometimes just articulating the obvious helps me to reevaluate those assumptions.

Back to the little girl’s question: on what side of the road do people walk in England?
The mother thought for a while, and then gave up. Ok. What side? she asked

The little girl smiled. The footpath with the most sun on it, of course… she replied.

Posted by: Adam Deane | 22/09/2012

BPM Quotes of the week

On Doctors and BPMN – Keith Swenson

Doctors may make use of systems that use BPMN: of course. When I say that BPMN is incompatible with ACM, I mean that the actual case manager experience can not include BPMN for their own adaptive plans. Doctors will use many BPM systems based on BPMN for routine tasks. They will also use many traditional applications programmed in Java and C++. I am not saying that everything they touch has to be BPMN free. But the treatment plan, which is the ACM part of the medical experience, the part that the doctor is responsible for drawing up to fit a particular patient, will simply NOT be drawn in BPMN. Not now, not ever.

On ACM and BPMN – Bruce Silver

So the focus of this debate should not be whether BPMN is appropriate for the doctor, but whether it is appropriate, say, for the author of a protocol of medical tests and treatments relating to some set of symptoms. If it’s just Dr House winging it, that’s not really ACM. That’s just ad hoc, a checklist made up on the fly. And even with less ingenious practitioners we have it already: it’s called the patient chart. ACM should really be about the repeatable (and yes, extensible) logic, not just the ad hoc.

On BPMN – Scott Francis

Bringing it back to BPM: we can still create a declarative “system” for the user, while the underpinnings are described by BPMN. The users wouldn’t be using BPMN, any more than the users of MS Word use C++ or .NET.

On ACM and BPMN – Patrick Lujan

Apples and oranges. BPMN is a practitioner’s, implementer’s tool used to model a process, to whatever degree of “structured” or “unstructured.” ACM fans will tell you that it’s all about flexibility, that a BPMN model is temporal, can’t do it, blah, blah, blah… Bottom line, BPMN is one way to represent a process and as long as that representation is accurate, the semantics from others on slicing and dicing to the nth degree is moot.

On Stagnant BPM Messaging – Theo Priestley

Come on, move the industry forward, if someone asks you to contribute an article stop playing safe and write something controversial or thought provoking. People want to read fresh opinion on current and future topics that will create innovation or headache, not a rewording of something many have covered and put to bed.

Posted by: Adam Deane | 18/09/2012

BPM: On Eloi and Morlocks

There was a small announcement a few weeks ago that IBM’s VP of Business Process Management was appointed to General Manager of Design.

“Congrats” I remember thinking to myself “but it’s really just an internal IBM affair”.

Or is it?

BPM is a small industry.
There is a handful of very large vendors. There are dozens of small ones.
There are a few hundred companies around them that consult, integrate, market and provide professional services.
But it is still a very small industry.

As far as influence goes, BPM is quite democratic. Anyone can speak their mind.
You don’t need to be a large vendor, you don’t need to be 20 years in the industry.
Everyone will listen, observe and form their own opinions on the topic.
We don’t have any Justin Biebers, Lady Gagas, or Kim Kardashians in our BPM world.

You get a feeling sometimes that size doesn’t matter… But it does.

In any given month, the large BPM vendors will bring in more revenue that the small ones bring in a year.
In any given month, the large BPM vendors will spend more money on marketing and educating the public on the advantages of BPM more than the small ones combined.

It’s usually the bigger vendors that push BPM into the public domain.
Their combined effort is what causes organizations around the world to say to themselves “we need to start doing BPM”

The smaller vendors tend to forget sometimes that a lot of their “food” comes from the larger vendors education and marketing efforts.
The Elois live a banal life of ease on the surface of the earth, while the Morlocks live underground, tending machinery and providing food, clothing and infrastructure and marketing for the Elois.

More importantly, the industry is very human-centric.
The saying “The graveyards are full of people the world could not do without” does not apply here.
The industry is based on a few people making it move forward. Movers and Shakers..
Any decision they make ripples through the industry. A decision by one causes others to follow.
SaaS, Mobile, ACM, Simulation, ECM integration, Microsoft vs Java, BPMN vs BPEL…

It’s when these guys sneeze, the rest of us run to check our forehead to see if we are coming down with something.
And it’s when these guys succeed, the rest of us feel that we are on the right track.

So Mr Gilbert.. from one of the Elois.. Congrats on the promotion.

Posted by: Adam Deane | 15/09/2012

BPM Quotes of the week

On Business Processes and Mobile – Clay Richardson

Unfortunately, today’s business and technology leaders continue to respond to the mobile opportunity with the wrong answers. Business leaders respond to mobile with, “Let’s build a really slick mobile app, put it up on iTunes and we’re done!” Technologists respond to mobile with, “We need a strong BYOD policy and to put device management tools in place!” Both of these responses completely overlook the fact that underlying legacy applications and business processes need optimizing for the mobile experience.

On the Infinite Process Monkey Theorem – Theo Priestley

The infinite process monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random using Visio or a BPMS for an infinite amount of time will almost surely create a given process, such as the complete target operating model of a bank.

On Production Case Management (PCM) – Keith Swenson

Production Case Management (PCM) is an approach to supporting knowledge workers which is programmed by specially-trained technical people (programmers) to produce a case management application. That application is deployed for use by knowledge workers to get their work done. The application offers collections of operations that the knowledge worker can select to use or not use depending on the specific needs of the case.

On BPM and Enterprise Architecture – Emiel Kelly

BPM is just daily business and coaching and educating organizations and their employees on how they can benefit more from the ‘power of process’ sounds more sustainable to me than spending several projects on IT things and forget about the rest. And maybe that comes from the fact that I am not such a fan of the word ‘architecture’ when it comes to BPM because it has too much an IT-taste.

Posted by: Adam Deane | 09/09/2012

BPM Quotes of the week – Sandy Kemsley

There were quite a lot of BPM blog posts written over the past week, so I decided to publish Sandy’s quotes separately.

Sandy Kemsley is probably the best known independent analyst specializing in business process management and enterprise architecture that we have currently in the industry.

Most of her blog posts are around conference and product reviews.
I’ve blogged about her before (Sandy Kemsley) and I still find her reviews to be straightforward, informative, and most importantly – interesting to read.
She’s been in the industry from the start and has a good perspective on what works, and what doesn’t.

She’s blogs, tweets and is a big believer in Social BPM (annoyingly even her cat has more followers than most of us)

Enough of the intro. These were some of her quotes that I found interesting this week:


The original drivers for BPMN were to be usable by the business community for process modeling, and be able to generate executable processes, but these turned out to be somewhat conflicting requirements since the full syntax required to support execution ended up making BPMN too complex for non-technical modelers if considered in its entirety.


The case management modeling notation (CMMN) is under development, and there are currently mechanisms for a CMMN model to invoke BPMN. Personally, I think that it might make sense to combine the two modeling standards, since I believe that a majority of business processes contain elements of each.

On ACM and PCM

The distinction between PCM and ACM has created a thin, rarified slice of what remains defined as ACM: doctors and lawyers are favorite examples, and it is self-evident that you’re not going to get either doctors or lawyers to draw event-driven BPMN models with the full set of 100+ elements for their processes, or to follow rigidly defined processes in order to accomplish their daily tasks. Instead, their “processes” should be represented as checklists, so that users can completely understand all of the tasks, and can easily modify the process as required


He states that drawing a diagram (such as BPMN) requires a level of abstract thinking that is common with developers but not with end users, hence BPMN is really a programming language. Taking all of that together, you can see where he’s coming from, even if you disagree: if a system uses BPMN to model processes, most people will not understand how BPMN models work [if they are drawn in full complexity by developers, I would add], therefore won’t modify them; if all users can’t modify the process, then it’s not ACM.


In other words, just like Jessica Rabbit, BPMN isn’t bad, it’s just drawn that way.

Posted by: Adam Deane | 08/09/2012

BPM Quotes of the week

On Value-Stream-Based BPM Metric Framework – Craig Le Clair

My current focus is understanding agility metrics. And in short, I believe agility metrics applied to transformational projects, changes in scale, or more tactical modifications to product, service, or technology will improve the ability to make changes large and small, repetitively and continuously, without adversely affecting the ability to make future changes. Advancing technology for business process management (BPM) and analytics is allowing broader and deeper treatment of performance metrics in general. As a result, defining and using performance metrics is an emerging trend that offers significant opportunity for business process management.

On ACM – Scott Francis

This has been one of the defining problems of ACM – defining itself by what it isn’t. Conceptually it just isn’t working very well, in my estimation, as a name that means something separate from amorphous names like CM and BPM.

On ACM and Open Process Clouds – Keith Swenson

The concept “Open Process Clouds” has nothing to do with cloud computing, but rather parts of a process that can not be presented by a traditional process. They use a little cloud symbol in the process definition to denote the ambiguous, unpredictable behavior of what people do there. This is precisely what we have been talking about in ACM as an unpredictable process, but his terminology is a little different.

On the BPM Market – Theo Priestley

The size of the market is in no way an indicator of maturity unlike some analysts might claim. With a constantly shifting target to aim for maturity doesn’t last long as vendors are keen to keep moving with the times and that means both risk and innovation. To innovate means you will have to start at the bottom again and that makes you immature in both strategy and bottom line in product.

On BPM Agenda – Alberto Manuel

but on the other hand I feel that BPM is being driven by the available technology menu that halts managers to develop a vision how to continue to deliver value. When we look back on the past achievements, he saw that business transformation as being publicize in case studies, BPM events and vendors solution portfolio, is focused on automation (sorry ACM partisans, but ACM is a new type of enterprise automation) and an important slice of the business is somehow being forgotten.

On the value of BPMS – Cindy Cheng

Before an integrated BPM Suite, business analysts or Lean Six Sigma experts would define and design existing processes in Microsoft Visio or a process modeling tool. Than they would give the process diagram to an IT specialists to program it and execute it in a workflow engine. There’s limited ability to manage, change, monitor, and optimize running processes so the processes are inflexible, expensive, and cumbersome to change.

On BPM and Project Failure – Pritiman Panda

The general notion of Workflow = BPM is also one of the reasons for a Project failure. BPM ecosystem offers much more than that. But we just force fit the product to ensure that we have leveraged BPM in most of the places in the enterprise.

On Long-term Failure of Process Initiatives – Hammer

Oh, there will be an almost immediate success when process is introduced, and we will see a lot of people singing the praises of process and then there will be an erosion of commitment and an eventual abandonment of principles that clearly benefited the organization, the employees, and the customers. Why does it go wrong?

On BPM and Mantra – Scott Cleveland

Efficiency is all about Process… This brings me to my mantra – just do it! The best time to improve efficiency is when you don’t have to. Most companies won’t do that. In today’s economy, companies have to get more efficient to survive.

Posted by: Adam Deane | 02/09/2012

BPM Quotes of the week

On BPM Methodology – Cindy Cheng

Note that methodology plays a key role in the equation. You can give someone a smartphone and the person may still use it only to make phone calls, and not leverage all the features to be more productive and efficient. Similarly, using only BPM technology without the methodology will often lead to project failures or poor user adoption. Vice versa, using only BPM methodology while not taking advantage of the technology provides no automation and will not deliver the return on investment (ROI) expected of a true BPM project.

On BPM Methodology – Max J. Pucher

BPM methodology and BPMS implementation must go hand-in-hand or at least have the opportunity to do so. Adequate technology must support the BPM enterprise effort, even if it might only be used locally at first. BPM must think big, but BPMS must allow small scale perspectives on the business user level. Considering them separately is a huge mistake.

On BPM and Social Paradigm – Jaisundar

If you want to infuse that ‘Social Paradigm’ into BPM even before we get the real true picture of what a fully mature Social Enterprise would look like, you better think again. And take it slow. The enterprise and its ways and structure is set to go through a helluva lot of rejigging. Oh boy. It is.

On Business Processes and Outside-In – Craig Reid

So whilst traditional companies try to solve their problems by looking at their internal processes and improving them (with the misguided aim of improving their service to the customer) outside-in starts with the customer experience and builds the internal business processes to support the customer alignment.

Posted by: Adam Deane | 31/08/2012

Use Cases for ACM

ACMI always say that our job is about finding the right solution for the customer’s business pain.

I’ve been to customers that need case management, but are implementing a BPM solution. I’ve seen companies using ECM software to build workflows, CRM used as a HR system, and HR systems used for finance.

Total disasters, but part of the fun of corporate life .

ACM solutions suit a specific business process requirement – dynamic routing.
They’re not built for strict processes like finance and legal processes, but they are perfect for call centre processes and internal organisational communication where you want to allow the end-users to have the flexibility to change the process route. I’m sure the ACM guys can give additional areas where ACM fits customers like a glove.

These are use cases where I feel ACM provides a better solution than the traditional BPM solutions.
I’ve also added scenarios where I feel ACM would not provide a better solution than the traditional BPM solutions.

A good fit for ACM

Use Case A
The customer support team is an enthusiastic, smart and experienced team dedicated to solving customer problems quickly.
Customer problems have an impact on company revenue. Not all the problems have the same solution
They need a dynamic support process

Use Case B
The Pre-Sales team receives dozens of tenders and RFIs to answer.
Tenders can take hours or even days to fill in and respond.
Sometimes, due to time constrictions, one presale guy will reallocate the task of answering the tender to another collogue. Sometimes a decision needs to be made to drop a tender opportunity in the middle to deal with a better tender opportunity
They need a dynamic presale process

Use Case C
The development team receives lots of software change requests from department managers.
Some of the requests are easy to implement. Some require additional budgeting approval, some require additional resources, some require clarification and agreement multiple parties.
They need a dynamic change request process

Use Case D
The sales team are smart bunch of guys and girls. All focused on the money.
The sales manager wants control of the Leads-to-Sales process – All leads must be handed out equally to the sales team.
But sometimes leads need to given to a specific sales guy. Sometimes its a high value lead that needs to be dealt with by the most experienced sales guy. Sometimes a new lead comes in from someone in a company, that another sales guy is already dealing with.
They need a dynamic sales process

A ‘not so good fit’ for ACM

Use Case E
Johan works in a pharmaceutical company.
He has spent the last 10 years working on a new wonder medicine that will save the world (and also make him very rich)
Unfortunately, the test patient that he has injected with the medicine has just died.
Johan goes to his computer and fills out a SUSAR report. The system asks him who he would like to send the report to.
Johan looks at the corpse, then looks out of the window at his old car.
He then turns back to the computer. Hmmm

Use Case F
Tim has been called in for a chat with his manager.
You’ve taken 44 days off this year. I didn’t approve them. How did you do it?
The system asked me who would be the best person to send it to for approval, Tim replied.
I thought the best person to make that decision would be my wife.

Use Case G
Simon works in a government office.
He gets a bonus for completing a fixed number of tasks per month.
His colleagues in his office also get the same productivity bonus.
The manager looks at the monthly report. For some strange reason the number of tasks to complete an end-to-end process has tripled.
Simon and his collogues are smiling…

Use Case H
Jeremy has joined the company as the new finance manager.
His last job was in a company called Elron
Jeremy is looking for a system to run the financial business processes.
But without having to go to jail again…

Posted by: Adam Deane | 28/08/2012

The ACM Unbirthday Party

It was almost half past three o’clock, when Alice stumbled upon a blue door.
She could hear a lot of yelling on the other side.

Very quietly she opened the door…

ACM Unbirthday

Mad Hatter: A very merry ACM unbirthday to you!

March Hare: No.. a very merry ACM unbirthday to you!

Mad Hatter: Let’s congratulate with another cup of tea, a very merry ACM unbirthday to you!

March Hare: No.. a very merry unbirthday to you!

Suddenly the March Hare and the Mad Hatter looked up and saw Alice

March Hare & Mad Hatter: No room, no room, no room, no room, no room, no room!

Alice: But I thought there was plenty of room!

March Hare: Ah, but it’s very rude to sit down without being invited!

Mad Hatter: I say it’s rude. Its very very rude, indeed! Hah!

Dormouse: Very very very rude, indeed…

Alice looked at the Mad Hatter. The Mad Hatter looked at the March Hare. The March Hare looked at Alice.
The Dormouse didn’t have anyone to look at, so he counted his toes instead.

Alice: Oh, I’m very sorry, but I did hear you talking about ACM and I wondered if you could tell me…

March Hare: You know about ACM?

Mad Hatter: Oh, what a delightful child! Hah! I’m so excited, we never get compliments! You must have a cup of tea!

March Hare: Ah, yes indeed! The tea, you must have a cup of tea!

The Mad Hatter took a teapot out of his hat and poured it into a checkered cup.

Alice: That is very nice. I’m sorry I interrupted your birthday party… uh, thank you.

March Hare: It’s not a birthday. It’s an unbirthday. BPM celebrate one birthday every year.

Mad Hatter: Ahhh, but there are 364 ACM unbirthdays! Precisely why we’re gathered here to cheer!

Alice: Why, then today is my ACM unbirthday too!

March Hare: It is? What a small world this is. In that case… a very merry ACM unbirthday.

Everyone was looking very happy, except for the dormouse who was still trying to count his toes.

Alice: But why doesn’t ACM have a proper birthday.

Mad Hatter: Proper! Proper! Fiddlesticks. we don’t celebrate birthdays.

March Hare: (whispering) They can’t celebrate it, no one uses it.

Alice: What?

The Mad Hatter poured all the tea into a cup. Then he put the dormouse into the empty tea pot.

Mad Hatter: ACM is used.. well.. at least, it should be used.

March Hare: Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve.

Mad Hatter: It’s a fantastic methodology.

March Hare: (nodding) It is a fantastic methodology… but no one is using it.

The dormouse was still in the tea pot having some trouble counting his toes. They seemed a bit sticky.

Alice: Of all the silly nonsense, How can you have a methodology that everyone likes, but no one is using. Surely if it was that good, it would have been adopted by the BPM, ECM and CRM vendors by now.

March Hare: Quite the opposite. Because it’s such a fantastic methodology, no one is adopting it.

Mad Hatter: Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m a schizophrenic and so am I.

March Hare: The ACM methodology has been around for years. If it goes midstream then no one will like it anymore.

Mad Hatter: There is only one birthday, but 364 unbirthdays.

March Hare: Exactly! Now blow the candle out, my dear and make a wish.

March Hare & Mad hatter: A very merry unbirthday to you!

Inside the teapot, the dormouse smiled. “Ten toes” he said to himself.
Just as I thought.

Posted by: Adam Deane | 25/08/2012

BPM Quotes of the week

On BPM Product Suites – Craig Reid

Whilst many of these technologies have been created to resolve specific business problems there is a trend toward convergence to create product suites that seek to solve holistic business problems and enable Enterprise Business Process Management.
Whilst all of these advances are benefitting organizations we must always remember that not every process can be automated and that our dependence upon human skill and ingenuity is something to be treasured.

On Process Discovery – David Brakoniecki

The obvious definition is to ‘discover’ and document a process so that it can be improved or automated. The meeting is a really about effective requirement gathering but the unspoken objective of the meeting should always be to build momentum and confidence in the transformation agenda or in the project.
If you have done your homework right, the people in the room are key stakeholders that need to buy-in to your efforts for you to be successful. Process discovery sessions might be the first time you are in front of them. Many might resent being there – often they have been told by their boss to attend. Some might be senior decision-makers whose time is valuable – you need to build credibility that time they give you will be spent effectively.

On Implementing BPM – Scott Francis

The obvious interpretation is that “implemented BPM” implies that you take a BPM-informed approach to your business and your processes. It is a journey not a destination, and as result it isn’t something you put in the rearview mirror except that you *can* establish BPM as the “standard operating procedure” for how you approach defining, improving, and sustaining process in your organization.

On The Future of BPM – Theo Priestley

The future of BPM and indeed work based software and method itself doesn’t lie in continually adding onto the bloated software product stack from the latest analyst twitterings, or jumping onto the darling buzzword for this week, the future lies in being able to step back and accept a piece of humble pie and admitting that we have been wrong. I’m not suggesting we ignore everything that has come before but equally we can’t blindly keep following the same mechanics that have served for decades.

On ACM – Keith Swenson

Some see ACM as the combination of social techniques together with dynamic business process management. It is certain that there is a confluence of technologies coming together at this time, and it is having a profound effect on the structure of our organizations.

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