Why you should have a BPM COE

COEWhat are your goals for workflow, and or BPM?

  • Singular focused one process and done?
  • Divisional?
  • Group?
  • Enterprise?

If you said ‘enterprise’ you must setup a Center of Excellence (COE)

A BPM COE is a group that absorbs and promotes BPM best practices, knowledge and methodology in the area of BPM.  The BPM COE will introduce additional skills, knowledge and competency into an organization’s BPM projects and efforts.

A COE can provide for the skill sets necessary to have a more successful BPM process development and maintained effort, and can also provide for better ROI based on increasing skill sets driven by a COE to quickly ramp up supporting processes and applications.  The COE will seek to promote better project management, process design, requirements gathering and improvement methodologies.  Hopefully resulting in better efficiency and cost savings on all BPM projects

When building out your first process you and the team members go through a great deal of growing and learning.  In many organizations there is no ability or plan to leverage this experience, knowledge and learning.  This prevents these learnings from improving the organization’s ability to build out the next process better than the last – ideally each process project will be better, easier, faster, more efficient.

I recommend that before you even begin building out your first process, to first establish the COE team. This way they are in place from the beginning.  This way they are able to take advantage from every step in the process journey.

The COE team will look different in every organization, will change over time and most likely be virtual in nature.  But to begin with you can have a:

  1. COE Program Manager –(not necessarily dedicated in the beginning but long term when organizations get serious this should be)
  2. IT team member representation (how do you best pick these participants.  Are the same ones involved in each project or is it based on availability.  There needs to be process specialists) Often times they need training and are specialists in the technology such as K2.
  3. Project Manager(s) (dedicated process specialists long term)
  4.  Business Representatives and or liaison
    1. Process owners
    2. Evangelist (someone that is able to proactively market the BPM platform capabilities to help business units understand what it can mean to them)

What should your COE do after they have etablished a solid COE team?

  1. Set Application Development Standards
  2. Set Reference Architectures
  3. Set Standard Platform Infrastructure
  4. Set guidelines for Project identification
  5. Establish solid  Role Identifications
  6. Work towards technical enablement by role
  7. Establish a standard POC on the platform
  8. Work on production projects on the platform
  9. Work to provide and receive constant feedback
  10. Hold regular meetings
  11. End each project with wrap up close-out meetings.  Ensure you document and discuss key tasks and key learnings, what went well what didn’t.  Ensure that these can be used in all subsequent projects that produce and/or modify processes. (SharePoint is a great place to do this)
  12. Encourage extensive collaboration.  They should be in regular touch.

With a COE established, experience and knowledge gained is compounded with each project and each time a process is improved, modified etc. Typically in the beginning the knowledge growth of a COE is exponential so you will have to be ready for the onslaught.  Think of the applications or products you have implemented in the past.  After it’s over you almost always say I would have done it differently if I had to do it over. The reasons behind this are the reasons why a COE is so important. Each process you plan, design and build can be thought of as that next time.  With a good COE you can document that previous time and constantly refine how you do business processes.

Starting talking to your colleagues about this idea and see if establishing a BPM COE isn’t something you can start now!

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By Chris Geier @ K2 | April 3, 2012

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