It’s time to make the distinction that unless you have a process that is fully automated,
your customers, suppliers or other stakeholders may want/need to receive information or provide input at virtually ANY step along an organization’s processes.
Clearly, you cannot take each of your existing structured processes and provide a provisional customer in-reach/out-reach link and a supplier in-reach/out-reach link at each step along any process.
In respect of structured processes there has been a longstanding but often inadequately unaddressed need to re-visit completed steps, skip over certain steps, start work on steps that are not yet current along a process instance and add steps that are not in the process. If we are take on the task of upgrading BPM capabilities, we might as well fix this problem as well.
There is no reason not to expect a need for collaboration with customers, suppliers and stakeholders at any of these supplementary interventions so we need in-reach and out-reach at ANY intervention (i.e. structured steps or ad hoc steps).
Now, limiting the discussion to a single instance of a process template plus supplementary related interventions fails to take into account that chances are there will be multiple contemporaneous instances of any process template with no guarantee of consistency across these instances as a result of recognizing that. Some instances will basically follow the logic of the template, others will include multiple ad hoc interventions.
If you subscribe to the notion of “continuous process improvement” you could, on top of this, several versions of a “best practice” running, each having multiple instances.
The final straw is that whereas there is nothing better than a best practice (at least until you improve it), some staff members will consistently follow a best practice, others will follow the best practice to an extent and yet others, given the option, will not want to follow the best practice, based on the notion that what they do is “special” and cannot be done by following the best practice.
Stay tuned for reasons why fixing BPM means we need process fragments, not processes.