Articles

  • Process Improvement: Integrating Process Management In this, the second Column of a series on how to integrate process management into an existing management system, Alan Ramias provides an example of how it can be done on a larger scale—by extensively integrating tools, roles and practices of process management into an organization.
  • Making Process Management a Reality In their Column this month, Alan Ramias and Cherie Wilkins begin a series on how to succeed at integrating process management into an organization. Their initial discussion of this topic logically focuses on some of the barriers to installing effective process management. We look forward to future Columns when they will propose ways of doing ...
  • Remembering Geary Rummler This month, Alan Ramias and Cherie Wilkins warmly remember Geary Rummler, a BPM thought leader and founder of Performance Design Labs, on the fifth anniversary of his death. They recall humorous and engaging anecdotes regarding some of his most memorable traits–his love for modeling, his troubled relationship with technology, his wicked sense of humor, and ...
  • Modeling Processes involving Knowledge Workers This month, Rick Rummler weighs in on the subject of modeling processes involving knowledge workers. While much of the literature holds that knowledge work precludes process modeling, Rick and his colleague Cherie Wilkins argue otherwise. In this Column, he and Cherie provide an example from an investment banking client to illustrate their belief that mapping ...
  • Location, Location, Location: Does It Matter Where Your Performance Improvement Department Reports? Alan Ramias and Cheri Wilkins draw on their long experience in working in process improvement to answer this question. Their conclusion—it’s not so much a matter of where the Performance Improvement Group is located as it is how the group is structured. In their Column this month, they offer three potential structures that are client-focused ...
  • Seeing a Process: The Power of Visual Analysis This month Alan Ramias and Cherie Wilkins have invited Chris Ramias, a colleague at Performance Design Labs to describe a technique he calls “visual analysis.” This technique goes beyond simply identifying the problem in a process to actually determining its root cause. Chris identifies a list of issues you may encounter when reviewing a process ...
  • Who Does What? Role Responsibility Charting in Improvement Efforts Alan Ramias and Cherie Wilkins have been using the role-responsibility matrix (RRM) for decades in their work as consultants for Performance Design Labs. Over the years, they’ve developed a number of refinements to the standard tool and its use, which they describe and illustrate in their Column. They have included a simple chart for analysis ...
  • Uses of the 3-Dimensional Enterprise Model In their position as consultants to organizations seeking assistance in undertaking process improvement projects, alan ramias and Cherie Wilkins developed the 3 Dimensional Enterprise Model to help them position work system processes in the context of the larger enterprise. They had observed that managers often focus most of their attention on the resource and infrastructure ...
  • Reference Models: The Long, Long Shortcut Drawing on their extensive experience as consultants at the Performance Design Lab, Alan Ramias and Cherie Wilkins describe the many difficulties their clients have encountered when attempting to use reference models. They identify five “traps” they have repeatedly observed and illustrate them with actual examples from their work within organizations. Not wishing to completely discourage ...
  • The Process-Centered Organization: In From Left Field In the first three Columns of their series on the Process Centered Organization, Alan ramias and Cherie Wilkins presented examples that started in the “core of the business” and that were initiated and driven by line of business executives. In this, the final Column of the series, they discuss an example of a PCO journey ...
  • The Process-Centered Organization: Oh, For A Crisis In their May Column Alan Ramias and Cherie Wilkins discussed process-centered organizations (PCO) that take a slow, gradual approach. In this Column they focus on organizations that become process-centered because they are in deep trouble. They explore the critical elements that need to be in place in order for a stricken organization to move ahead ...
  • The Process-Centered Organization: The Long Road In their February Column, Alan Ramias and Cherie Wilkins defined a process-centered organization (PCO) and gave an example of a company that became process-centered in a relatively short period of time. In this Column they reflect on the more frequently experienced approach—the long road. Read about the obstacles that one company encountered, their successes, and ...
  • The Process Centered Organization: Do You Know Where You’re Going? In the first of a four-part series on the (PCO) Process-Centered Organization, Alan Ramias and Cherie Wilkins define the characteristics they believe must be in place for an organization to be “process-centered.” These characteristics are derived from their experiences working with organizations to help them develop and improve their BPM programs. Acknowledging that some readers ...
  • Who is responsible for process performance? In their May 2010 Column on process performance measurement, Alan Ramias and Cherie Wilkins provided some principles to avoid complications in creating effective process performance measurement systems. In their September Column they provided a tool for identifying appropriate process metrics linked to both customer and business requirements. In this, the third and final Column in ...
  • Building Metrics for a Process In their May Column, Alan Ramias and Cherie Wilkins began a series on process metrics. They cite some of the recurring problems and pitfalls they have encountered in working with clients, including: creating metrics that were unlinked to management of the business; creating disorganized piles of metrics instead of a logical set; measuring too much, ...
  • The Role of the Performance Architect In two previous Columns on process ownership Alan Ramias and Cherie Wilkins discussed various approaches to process ownership and what process owners actually do. In this, the final installment in the series, they focus on the critical role of the performance architect. Broadly speaking, process owners should be managing while performance architects carry out the ...
  • Measuring Process Performance One of the most important – but frequently most challenging and vexing – aspects of installing business process management in an organization is metrics. There is seldom much argument anymore about the necessity of having metrics at the process level to enable process owners and performing teams alike to monitor performance, diagnose variation, and make ...
  • What do Process Owners do? In our last column, we described various approaches to process ownership that we have seen established, with varying degrees of success, in different companies. Our focus was primarily on the organizational position of the role (a senior executive, a staff, a line manager, and so on) and the amount of authority accorded the position (control ...
  • Varieties of Process Ownership Process ownership (and with it, process management) has been at least attempted, and in some cases successfully established, in many organizations since the concept was first described in the book Improving Performance: How to Manage the White Space on the Organization Chart by Geary Rummler and Alan Brache back in 1990.
  • The Two Performers: People and Technology There are two types of performers that do the work of organizations – people and technology. They can perform work independent of each other, but often perform the work together as a human-technology team.
  • A Framework for Defining and Designing the Structure of Work This is part one of a three-part paper describing a framework for modeling the business architecture (BA) layer of enterprise architecture (EA).
  • The IT-Business Gap: Another Root Cause In our last two columns, we ranted at length about the all too prevalent scenario of IT projects that have failed spectacularly, costing the companies that funded them millions of dollars (in some cases, hundreds of millions) with no usable outcomes.
  • IT Disasters: A Root Cause In our first column we wrote about the huge, costly failures of IT systems development projects, citing some of the disasters we saw personally or had read about recently.
  • The IT-Business Gap Welcome to our inaugural column. Rather than focus on a particular subject or theme, our intention with this column is to write about issues and ideas that seems to intrigue or bother not only us but the various constituencies that visit BPTrends.
  • Where Have All the Leaders Gone? The Long-Lost Executive Process Improvement Project Look at any book on business process management or improvement these days and you’ll see a good amount of advice being expended on the creating, chartering, nurturing and managing of process design, or improvement, teams.
  • Potential Pitfalls on the Road to a Process Managed Organization (PMO) We firmly believe that the general understanding that work gets done – and value is added – through cross-functional processes is potentially the greatest business management breakthrough in the past 100 years.
  • Why I Love My Business Process Architecture (BPA) The BPA Framework provides all the executives with a common view of all the components/processes of our organization – on one page. The complete document set* is a concise summary of the value-add work that must be performed and managed to provide value to customers – the operative word being work.
  • The Manager’s Role in Performance Support In her book, Electronic Performance Support Systems, Gloria Gery popularized the notion of designing technology to assist workers in performing tasks, writing about the growing use, and importance, of electronic job aids such as on-line tutorials, directories, help menus, technical support and the like, for users of laptop and desktop computers.
  • When You Say “Process” You Mean… Inside organizations that are doing various kinds of process “work”-whether improvement projects, technology enhancements or process definition and documentation—we often hear a lot of confusion and frustration because people sometimes mean different things when they use the word “process.”
  • The Mists of Six Sigma Everyone interested in business processes seems to know that Six Sigma was invented at Motorola and that Motorola became the first winner of the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award in 1988. The origin of Six Sigma has been the subject of countless articles, a series of Harvard Business School cases, and many books.