Skip to main content

Appian World 2012 Beginner Track - Introduction to the BPM Lifecycle

Alena Davis, Appian
April 16, 2012

Attendees at Appian World 2012 broke out into 3 tracks for beginners, developers, and executives. Developers heard about cloud security from CJ Moses of Amazon Web Services, and Agile Development Best Practices from Ben Allen, Appian consultant. Executives learned about Delivering Lifetime Value with BPM from Dileep Srinivasan, Cognizant, and Extreme Collaboration from Jaimeet Gulati, EDP Renewables (a hot topic today!) We sat in on the beginner track. First up was Dr. Michael zur Muehlen, Stevens Institute of Technology, with "Introduction to the BPM Life Cycle: Maturing BPM Efforts." Download a copy of Dr. zur Muehlen's presentation here.

"If it doesn't make three people angry, it is not a process." - Michael Hammer

Key Takeaways

- Analysis Frameworks provide content

- Transactions perform work, Analytics manage work

- The diagram isn't everything

- Improve your capabilities in 3 areas:

- Process Maturity

- Process Management Maturity

- Organizational Maturity

Process Analysis

"Most businesses have just 3 core processes: sell stuff, deliver stuff, and making sure you have stuff to sell and deliver"

- Geary Rummler

The objectives of analyzing your processes are innovation, efficiency, and compliance. When getting started, it's important to organize your content into a process framework to "map" your business. The framework covers everything from support processes (accounting, hr, etc) to strategy and governance.

Process Design

There are six process abstraction levels, ranging in complexity from Business Activities to Detailed Process Flows. The first three levels comprise the "what" - what are the products? What are the delivery units? The second three levels comprise the "how" - how does the process flow? How does the system function?

Process Implementation

"Vision without execution is hallucination"

- Thomas Edison

Developers have a tendency to throw in every option, resulting in a confusing mess. The customer just wants to know how to do what they want. The diagram isn't everything -- the ultimate outcome is what really matters. Implement the process so the end user can achieve their goal.

Process Management & Improvement

Process analytics are invaluable. Data mining and collecting process intelligence will help you track and refine your processes.


Theory of constraints:

1. Define the goal - performance or compliance?

2. Define key metrics ñ cycle time, wait time, resource utilization

3. Identify the constraint ñ find the bottleneck activity/resource

4. Exploit the constraint ñ maximize use of the bottleneck

5. Subordinate to the constraint ñ limit upstream throughput

6. Elevate the constraint ñ invest and improve

7. Avoid inertia ñ start the process again

Check out Dr. zur Muehlen's slides for a look at his "Business Process Maturity" flowchart and his BPM Lifecycle graphic.