With today’s top BPM tools, we are able to create and deploy applications with more ease and speed than ever—I’ve personally seen small applications build with both Pega and Appian in under 30 minutes! This allows BPM teams to take full advantage of providing businesses with immediate value and obvious benefits through quick wins.
While it is vital to see the big picture and have a forward thinking outlook, quick wins in BPM are crucial for an overall initiative to take flight and succeed. They are the starting point, giving momentum to scaling solutions and to larger projects—they will live and lie by the success of the pilot. Consider the following strategies in choosing the best path to a quick win.
Tips from the BPM Professionals
The most important part of building the case for a new project is identifying the first process or set of processes—this process area should be clearly understood.
- Look for processes/process areas that are not overly complex, propose low risk, and allow for a strong chance of success—remember this is the initial proof point for an initiative. Processes with known problems, causing immediate pain, are also good candidates because they offer more room for impact in process improvement. Additionally, processes that are heavily manual, inefficient, or inconsistent in their quality, allow for rapid improvement of productivity, control, and forecasting.
- Avoid processes/process areas that are large, complex, or cross departmental—long timelines, roadblocks, and politics will result and hinder the project. Also, avoid rigidly defined processes as they are hard to improve and have low potential benefits. Alternatively, don’t choose a process that is too simple—the impacts of improvement might not be enough to gain momentum for future stages in the initiative. Furthermore, processes that are fairly undiscovered, as well as data intensive processes, will really slow a project down and require extra efforts.
Once a process area has been chosen, there are some ideas surrounding the pilot program itself, to examine.
- Keep the project timeline short (around 6 months)—doubtful stakeholders and project members can have pretty short attention spans and become disinterested. Have a clear decision maker who “owns” the process area—decisions can then be made quickly on scope and delivery. Keep the project team internal and don’t involve external stakeholders as they can hamper decision making and just slow things down.
- Always try to improve processes rather than just automating them—unless it is not appropriate in the particular case. Last, but certainly not least, scale quickly and continuously attempt to create business value throughout the project, both tangible and intangible.
So now, what do you win?
First and foremost, this quick win has hopefully lead to further sponsorship—the initiative will continue to grow and develop. The project was short, low cost, and most importantly, made a visible impact on the business. Another notable outcome should be easy and positive user adoption to this first process area, hopefully paving the way for future adoptions. Done right, a quick win could change the way an organization works by creating an ethos of continuous process improvement, and in some cases even encourage generation of a company-wide BPM program. BPM professionals need to understand the need to create small and quick wins especially while working large enterprise BPM deployments.
Understand the big picture, start with a smart scalable pilot, win quick.
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