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BPM Project Management: Get Value Delivered Faster

Elizabeth Bell, Appian
February 15, 2024

Project management across multiple teams, especially under the triple-constraints of time, cost, and scope, is an intensive task. Project managers have to cover tons of ground to keep things on track. For example, they might manage allocating resources based on availability, assigning tasks, controlling execution, tracking and reporting progress, and forecasting future trends. When you multiply these across complex, multi-departmental projects, you can see why business process management (BPM) for project management is so important to delivering value efficiently (and preserving managers’ sanity).

Here’s how BPM in project management works. 

How to apply BPM to project management.

Since BPM is a discipline focused on creating, managing, and optimizing processes, the project manager needs to follow the four steps of BPM. 

Starting with the current process, the manager needs to assess what’s wrong, then design and model a new process, bringing in the best-fit technology or worker for the job. They might choose to use AI, automation, humans, or, more likely, a combination of all three throughout the process. Once they’ve designed the new process, they execute it to see how it works. After seeing it live in the field, they measure and analyze whether it works better than the old process or if they’ve introduced any new bottlenecks. Then, they optimize any areas that need improvement.

Here’s how a sample project management process that’s been optimized with BPM might work. 

  1. From a pre-defined set of workflows, the project manager selects the one to execute, and picks the team responsible for it. 
  2. They use automation to assign a series of tasks as defined by the project workflow. Escalations, dependencies, and exception flows tightly control the behavior of these tasks. 
  3. Based on the level of criticality, automatic alerts notify project managers and the executive management team of any delays or bottlenecks in a task. 
  4. A daily status tracker sub-process automatically updates the status of all projects. This results in detailed, up-to-date project status reports that aggregate on a unified dashboard. 

Next, see how an IT project manager uses BPM to optimize a cybersecurity process. 

An example of BPM in project management.

An IT project manager is responsible for optimizing all cybersecurity processes around passwords. They focus first on the process of changing passwords for virtual machines (VM)—a manual process that was creating delays in getting critical password updates out. The project manager looks into using an API for the company’s ticketing system, but it has limited functionality, so they decide to use a robotic process automation (RPA) bot to address the problem. 

In the new process, the robot runs every 15 minutes to do these tasks:

  • Logs into the project management system.
  • Scans the dashboard to find any tickets requiring a VM password change.
  • Calls a script to change the password. 
  • Sends an email to the affected user with the encrypted password and updates the Jira ticket accordingly. 

After implementing the process, the project manager reviews the results and sees that the bot drastically reduced the amount of manual effort required from humans for password management. The project manager decides to look for opportunities to apply BPM to other password processes at the company to scale the benefits of automation they saw in this small use case.

Benefits of using BPM for project management.

Taking a BPM approach can be particularly beneficial to project managers who want to get value out the door faster. Since project management is a discipline required across basically any project in a company, BPM allows project managers to optimize the delivery of any value they’re trying to create. Specifically, the project manager saves time and costs on most tasks associated with project management: delivery of tasks, tracking progress against milestones, giving executive rollup reports, identifying bottlenecks, and providing visibility to third parties. 

BPM isn’t just for project managers. See how you can apply this methodology to any process at your organization in the BPM Guide: The Key to Workflow Automation.