BPM, Optimization and Scrum

One of the goals of Business Process Management (BPM) is the continuous optimization of business processes.
In fact when we start analyzing existing processes, in most cases it turns out that those processes are far from being ideal.
Usually the first impulse is to say, all right let’s improve the processes while we automate them.
At first sight this seems to be reasonable, but practice shows that it is not.
Why not?
Usually the process knowledge is in the heads of the business users who live the processes every day.
Even if they have some sort of documentation, they feel that they own the process. And they do!

Once you start changing the existing processes you take the ownership and leave the real owners behind.
This can quickly turn into a acceptance problem cause the business users are a vital part of BPM as they have the process knowledge.

Practice shows that it is better to automate processes as is first and keep the business users involved.
Start small (and think big) for instance with partial processes. Then show the benefits and start the optimization loop.

This can be ideally done in an agile setting such as Scrum in which the idea of continuous improvement (Kaizen) is built-in.
A nice side-effect is that not only the business process is improved over time, but also the analysis and implementation process itself.

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