Lean is sub-optimizing without Business Process Management!

A successful career will no longer be about promotion. It will be about mastery [Michael Hammer]

At the risk of getting even more ‘unwanted’ in certain Lean communities, I am writing a follow up on the blog Lean vs. Business Process Management – This Means War! Apparently the blog created some writing and debate at BPM Leader and certain LinkedIn groups. But why do I not fancy Lean as a tool without Business Process Management – here are a few examples, do you have more examples?

  • Lean doesn´t link strategy to operations
  • Lean doesn´t use IT as an active tool to optimize the process
  • Lean very often sub-optimizes – because it doesn´t analyze the whole supply chain or value chain (I have seen it)
  • The notation technique in Lean is awfull – and useless (sorry)
  • Lean is very often not supported by a Business Process Management System (BPMS)
  • Lean doesn´t deliver a way to measure from the strategic point to operations. In Business Process Management there is measurement. This secures that change in process and the impact on performance is always measured, divided up in the following areas:
    • Strategic Business Objective
    • Business Planning Goal
    • Critical Success Factors
    • Key Performance Indicator
    • Procces Performance Indicator

But how come then, that very often Lean is implemented without Business Process Management? The answer is very simple – as one of my teacher once told me; It´s all about marketing! The Lean evangelists have been extremely good at selling their product, and have created one big cash cow. The cow is at the same size of an elephant, to the pleasure of the consultants who have specialized in this area. So a great deal of this is also about cool cash. A very good example of this is that often the payback of a Lean education is much better than that of a Master in Business Administration (MBA).


Lean is still welcome if Business Process Management sets the rules!



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By Anders Bang Christoffersen @ Process Wizard | February 19, 2013

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