domenica 4 novembre 2007

Si combatte con le armi che si hanno

Leggete qui di seguito alcune interessanti osservazioni di Phil Gilbert:

The Army You've Got

I was hiking today up above Portland, Oregon at the Multnomah Falls. Spectacular. Except my damn knees. I started thinking about how I hear people say "gee, I wish I was again" and I have to say I really don't want to go back to most of my younger ages but it sure would be nice to have younger knees. I saw 18 year olds running down the 600 foot drop of a trail. I want their knees. Well like Rummy said "you don't go to battle with the army you want, you go with the army you have."

Oddly, this got me to thinking about business process management and about how almost everyone (except Lombardi, of course) has got it wrong. Most people think business process management is about Process. Wrong. Business process management is about people. Specifically, it is about making people more productive. People of diverse skills. People put in positions they might not be quite ready for. People retiring from their jobs. People starting their careers. Dear reader, if you are in a company with more than, say, 1,000 people, I wonder how many of those people do you think are perfectly suited to their jobs right now? How many have the perfect levels of skills, abilities, training and wisdom to do their jobs at peak efficiency right now? How many in your workgroup fit this description? I'm guessing you have people with different levels, some achieving the perfect blend you need, and some not.

Look, the point isn't that your organization needs help. In fact, the point is that your organization looks a lot like everyone else in this respect! Business process management should be thought of as a way to help teams work better. The team you have is the team you have, in many respects. You can't take the perfect team into the battle of competition tomorrow! You have to get a lot of the job done with the team you have. You might top-grade over time, and you might also lose some of your best people to promotions and their own career changes. The fact is, the people in your business have very different combinations of "perfection" at any given point in time. And in this globalized world, the question senior management asks is "how can I be most effective with what I have?" (A recent NY Times article quoted HP CEO Mark Hurd: "C.E.O.’s work on three things: strategy, operating models and people." Which, loosely translated I think means: what strategies can we pull off given our people, processes and customers?")

If workflow is the means by which we define behaviors, then the real advance of business process management is that it is the means by which we normalize how we measure behaviors and correlate those behaviors with the business results we achieve. Let me say it again: business process management is about how we measure people and correlate their activities with the business results they achieve.

In fact, practiced purely, I'd argue that it has nothing to do with how something gets done, only how well it gets done! It is today's evolutionary state of the most advanced de-centralized management capability. And by the way, if you don't get a grip on this issue - how to decentralize control of behavior while retaining insight into results - you will be run over by the people and technologies of the 21st century. Wiki's, blogs, SaaS word processors, SaaS spreadsheets, IM, Facebook (or Open Social) computing platforms... this all means you will have less control over the specific workflows, and more creativity than you ever thought possible. Your BPM initiative better be figuring out how you can deal with this... because these are becoming parts of the best processes in the world.

BPM helps you get a handle on the chaos that is real life, makes it explicit, and helps you manage around it. It does this by making the work explicit, linking that work to the reasons you are doing the work, and providing insight into the results. We call this trace-ability and it's key to doing business in the 21st century. It allows you to take the army you've got, and make them as effective as possible in executing against the strategy you've set.

As for me, there's direct traceability from the hike to my aching knees... time to take an Advil.

Phil Gilbert

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