Process life-cycle 2014

  1. The traditional approach

The traditional definition of “process life-cycle” is as follows:

“BPM scope covers the whole process life-cycle: process discovery, design, documentation, rollout, execution, measurement, monitoring, analysis and improvement”[1].

According to Wikipedia, the process life-cycle can be presented in graph form as follows:


Figure 1: Wikipedia  BPM Life-cycle[2]600px-Business_Process_Management_Life-Cycle.svg


In short: Design → Modeling → Execution → Monitoring → Optimization → Design →…

Other graphs, which are often replicated, contain similar elements, such as:

  1. Define →Model → Simulate → Implement → Execute → Monitor → Analyze → Optimize → Define →…
  1. Strategy → Analysis → Design → Implementation → Monitoring → Optimization → Strategy → …
  1. Model → Deploy → Execute → Monitor → Analyze → Model → …
  1. Model → Integrate & Publish → Execute → Collaborate & Manage → Monitor & Report → Improve → Model → …

Each graph invokes the traditional PDCA cycle, which was developed by E. Deming over 50 years ago, and supplements it with additional “modern technical elements”, such as simulation, implementation, reports, etc. However, in their essence, such elements still fall back on 19th century management principles, which dictate that management itself should plan and oversee, whereas the “cogs in the machine” should just execute their tasks. Organizations compete with each other in the knowledge economy, but still invoke concepts introduced at the onset of the industrial age.


  1. Taking advantage of new possibilities

The concept of dynamic BPM, which was introduced 10 years ago, enables us to build a much more flexible management mechanism than the one described above. It allows us to use, verify, and obtain knowledge directly from the ongoing processes, without the need to wait for analyses to be performed after the processes are executed. However, it is essential to build a practical mechanism of identifying and sharing knowledge. As far back as 2010, the Gartner analyst Jim Sinur published results of his research which indicated that the idea of Automated Business Process Discovery (ABPD) was one of the 10 most crucial technologies of business process improvement (BPI). At present, Process Mining is perhaps the most promising concept which allows us to identify and share knowledge on process execution. The process life-cycle in Process Mining looks as follows:


Figure 2: The BPM life-cycle identifying the various phases of a business process[3]


The fact that this concept allows for the adjustment of processes at the time of their execution is essential. However, will all adjustments without exception turn out to be “enhancements”, or will some perhaps end in failure and become “setbacks”? Or should we, in the process of designing processes and IT systems, introduce the possibility of “reconfiguring” processes at the time of their execution? Or perhaps it would suffice to give process executors the option of “reconfiguring” processes on their own on the basis of their own experience? From the perspective of IT systems, both options seem implementable. From the perspective of management practice, both options require empowering process executors to perform such reconfigurations.

The knowledge discovered via process mining, which was already used in the course process execution, should be inextricably tied to its evaluation and dissemination. Only then will dynamicBPM gain a tool which would enable it to first analyze, and then make use of knowledge produced by a large number of process executors in a quick and objective fashion. However, this would require the reconstruction of the process life-cycle in such a direction, that process execution would no longer be understood as “the perfect performance of a plan in each possible detail”, but rather, “performing the plan with the best results in mind, in a manner most suited to a given context and particular job permissions”.

A modified version of the process life-cycle is pictured below:

Figure 3: A new version of the process life-cycle


 This is not a finished and ready-to-serve new process life-cycle. If you are aware of better propositions, I will gladly learn about them, provided that they are not too complicated. Overly complicated concepts seldom tend to work in practice.

[3] „Process Mining Manifesto”,  p. 5.Process Life-Cycle 2014 eng picure v02 publ

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By Marek Szelagowski @ dynamic BPM | March 19, 2014

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