Adaptive Process Guidance

On my previous post, regarding Real-Time Process Guidance I told that human judgment cannot be forgot even if we deal with and intelligent system  to perform work.

Apparently real time guidance is becoming a trend but  is being coined as something disconnect from BPM (like some ACM practitioners advocate.

Andrew introduces  the Adaptive Process Guidance concept and argues that is a new discipline, while BPM is becoming some old school approach only to manage structured processes.

BPM cannot be confused with structured processes. BPM includes structured, unstructured (AD_HOC, ADAPTIVE, whatever). BPM is how you manage enterprise processes independently the way they are executed.

Structured work (workflow based) and ad-hoc knowledge intensive work coexist.

In the last 10 years companies drive effort to improve structured processes. They managed to design, document and train people to executed work on a pre-defined basis.

But managers forgot that the number of people who undertake knowledge work has increased exponentially.

Companies provided systems that allow people to share knowledge but forgot how knowledge work takes place. ADAPTIVE approach enables such need.

Knowledge workers require continuous access to the information they need and flexibility to design the way the work must be performed. Thus ADAPTIVE needs to be put in place but it’s still under BPM umbrella.

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4 thoughts on “Adaptive Process Guidance

  1. BPM doesnt really embrace adaptive thought, it cant. Can you imagine an end user updating a process map based on a real time need? No…But you can in ACM. Hence ACM is not BPM (in terms of how we see BPM implemented).

    Traditional BPM falls short in so many areas, primarily because it presumes that we know all the processes, and that we know everything about them. We then presume that we can flowchart this out and cover all basis, which for 80% of processes we simply cant. Sure we have exception handling but this is quite poor…For the 20%, yes we can, but thats just 20% of processes. Dont we want the rest of the enterprise to benefit from BPM type thinking?

    APG I see as taking the big benefits of ACM, while also grabing the process concept we find in BPM (without the flowchart). This facilitates in the design of a process guide, or more importantly a process guide being discovered by end users defining it as they work. This means far less emphasis on process design, and more on discovery and refinement. I dont see this as fitting nicely under a BPM umbrella, not even one if you add the term adaptive to it…(And I dont believe BPMS will ever be adaptive)

    Refinement can take place by end users updating the process guide (adaptive), or by management reviewing the process and identifying refienment. You can if you want, go the full hog and have some AI algorithms adapting the process, but I prefer to empower the end user and have them do it based on their need, after all, they know how to do their work far better than any BA or management do.

    Essentially by thinking more in these terms, as process guidance rather than definition (which is what we have with traditional BPM) then we are far more adaptive. This means APG can reach process traditional BPM cannot, and yet it can still handle and deliver what is needed for those areas currently occupied by traditional BPMS.

    Technically, you could say this comes under BPM if you see BPM as the way we get work done. But for many, BPM is about designing a process and enforcing this with change being carried out in a highly bureaucractic fashion, not really highly adaptive or a good way of discovering processes…..Because of this we do need to break APG and ACM away from BPM…

  2. Andrew:

    Think it’s necessary a BPM summit to clear these concepts. I’m starting changing my previous idea that a PKBOK it’s not necessary. This discussion is a good starting point.

    BPM is not about flowcharting processes. BPM is about process design, execution, control and improvement.

    Let dig a real world example.

    Imagine you are responsible for an investment program (this is not project management it’s about making decision of what is going to be constructed) and you need to put it in practice. Trying to flowchart the way you and a team do it is a waste of time because simply in cannot be detailed (in the end it’s possible to draw big blocks but for this example it does not matter).

    How BPM address such dynamic process:

    Design: you and you team freely drive the investment program taking in consideration the objective to be reached, but the activities you and team perform and information exchange are designed on real time, but not translated to a flowchart, workflow whatever.

    Execution: doing what it has to be done using a system (if necessary) where knowledge work can be performed (a resource, like capital our labor).

    Control: Estimated ROI; On time completion, Cost accuracy.

    Improvement: what went wrong and what are the lessons learned; what work fine and can be probably used as a best practice.

    What is the difficulty BPM can address such dynamic process?

  3. If you see BPM as how we do work then I agree 100%. But BPM = BPMS in the majority of business peoples and analyst minds, and how we implement BPM.

    So take your same example and try to work that with a traditional BPMS? You can’t because you need a designed process up front, probably in a designer, and then once you have found it is wrong, how do you change it – in real time? In the designer? Well an end user wont have the skills nor time to do that.

    Also, what happens if as a team we swarm on this peice of work? 3, 4 maybe 5 of us working on it at once? How is that shown in a BPMS world? I know in theory it can, but if we then look at usability, productivity and empowerment of our users, it cant….BPMS also has an issue here with its content, do we understand the content, its context and its status within our process? Probably not because BPM is very much a silo in its own right….I see APG as an enbaler within a single platform delivering adaptive content management and adaptive customer management too…After all its a guide to our process but also the content within it…

    What will happen in your example (with a BPMS) is that they will do almost all of the process work outside of the BPMS, and then just click “complete step” after everything has done…Where is the design, control, and execution in that?

    With APG the user has created and designed each step of their process as they go, knowing that they have the flexibility to incorporate changes quickly and easily, a truely adaptive process guide…The platform can then either make these process changes for all work within that process (in real time – those already in the process) or choose to record them as one off steps / tasks…You then get a designed process, you get your execution, control and improvement.

    I see APG as a lot more goal focused than process focus. People and their goals are the emphasis with process coming third, hence process guidance…

    I see your poin that APG can come under the BPM umbrella, but since BPM=BPMS for the majority, I would like to see it as its own enabler….

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