Why Business Process Management (BPM) is a bit like growing a garden

Craig Reid

I have a love/hate relationship with my garden. I love it when it is blooming beautifully, but I hate the time and attention and cost it takes to maintain. So what do I do? Ignore it. I ignore it until I look at it and say "Oh god, it's weeding time". Then I spend an inevitable half a day of a precious weekend pulling out weeds.

All of this is, of course, totally avoidable. I own a very nice little weed sprayer which if I scheduled 10 minutes every two weeks to spray the weeds I'd never have to spend a wasted day in the garden again.

This, of course is a perfect analogy for BPM - we turn to process when the weeds have overgrown our gardens and we need to fight back, but rarely do we spend the time to put BPM in place to ensure that the weeds never get big enough to warrant a project.

But with the weeds we have the opportunity to show how process can add value. Getting a few project successes under our belts can be a persuasive means to start the journey towards continuous improvement. It may be a slow journey, but it can have a destination.

Often the problem we have with selling BPM is that we (process people) often sound like a bunch of crazies selling a new religion. Leaders of organisations aren't interested in buying a concept that sounds like it crawled out of the backside of the IT department. Leaders want to buy solutions to business problems: they want to save money, improve turnover and improve customer service - or more reactively, fix any problems that are getting them into trouble (and quickly).

So whilst we all agree that BPM's outcomes are fundamentally important to organisations - we need to be careful about how we sell the concept. We may need to pull out a few weeds to prove we are capable of looking after the whole garden.

BPM Open House is an opportunity for you to keep your BPM ‘garden’ in perfect shape, if you’re actively looking for a BPM software solution or thinking about taking the plunge into BPM, then this is the perfect free event to get involved in.