3 tips to make BPM stick

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One of the questions people ask me before I start a project, is how do you make BPM stick? How do you engage the staff and make sure that improved process is followed?


Well, there are lots of different ways. I could be glib & say with a big stick, but the flip side to the stick is always the carrot. Or as one of my team members used to tell me…”you catch more bees with honey” – she put on the best morning teas at meetings…but again, I digress.


Have you ever noticed that people hate being told what to do? But if they design a workaround or a change, they certainly stick to that like glue. I’ve found that the best way to get people to accept a new process is to get them involved in building it. They’re far more inclined to follow something they’ve had a hand in building and then slowly improve it over time, than they are if it’s enforced on them. So get teams involved.


Now, speaking of honey…we humans are a funny lot…a healthy dose of competition has a way of driving us and we do like our carrots (or honey). In process management speak, metrics become important to process stickability – what gets measured, gets improved.


Making process activity visible is the key, so teams can see how they are tracking, then they can self manage & prioritise work. Certainly, have the team leader monitor things to make sure cherry picking isn’t an issue and have escalations built in.


Teams with the ability to self manage perform really well. Encourage this with rewards – everyone likes rewards! They can be  either small incentives during the year or by performance bonuses at the end of the year. Select the reward mechanism that suits your environment – I’ve seen some choose to do both!


Another way to help things stick – put a feedback mechanism in place. You’ll want to know if there are issues with a process that can be easily fixed – those doing the process will know what doesn’t work & how to fix it. Team members also like to know that their feedback would be welcome. Its a great way of weaving process stewardship.


So in summary, to make it stick:

#1 Have the teams involved up front;

#2 Metrics & rewards;

#3 Build a feedback mechanism.


The easiest way to manage all the alerts & metrics, including dashboard visibility is by implementing your processes in a BPMS – even if at first, there’s more people driven processing than system automated or integration activity.


Why do that, you ask?


There are immediate benefits like consistency in process, visibility of process, metrics are available at a glance & you’ve got real process data to support any business decisions.


Remember, when all is said and done, people either make or break a process – ignore the people aspect of change at your peril. If all else fails, emulate Theodore Roosevelt: “speak softly & carry a big stick”. ‘Til next time – T

One thought on “3 tips to make BPM stick

    Josip Zamboni said:
    October 19, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Speaking of getting teams involved in building new process, wouldn’t the ultimate step in that direction be making them own it? Or would it be going too far, with the possibility of ending in a society defined by workers’ self-management?

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