BPMM tutorial

I’m in the online OMG tutorial on the Business Process Maturity Model (BPMM), which is a bit awkward because they’ve gone the really cheap route and done this with a conference call line with poor controls (everyone is in talk mode by default when they dial in, and a lot of people don’t realize that it’s good conference call etiquette to find the mute button on their phone so we heard a lot of background noise, beeps, coughing, breathing, etc.), and everyone needs to download the slides and follow along on their own. C’mon guys, GoToWebinar is pretty cheap, you could have sprung for that. :)

The BPMM acronym is problematic right from the beginning (aside from my gaffe last week when announcing the tutorial), when someone chimes in and says “but BPMN is in many shipping products now…”

Bill Curtis started with a history of maturity models; he and his partner have had a consulting practice around CMMI for a number of years, and obviously have a great deal of knowledge about maturity models in general. Apparently, one of their banking customers that had huge success with CMMI asked them for a business process maturity model a few years back, and so began BPMM.

Like CMMI, BPMM has five maturity models: initial, managed, standardized, predictable and optimizing (since the slides are marked as copyright of Capability Measurement, the consulting company that the two presenters run, I won’t reproduce the graphics here but you can download the full presentation here). At the initial level of process maturity, organizations tend to be undisciplined, individualistic and inconsistent, which makes them inefficient and stagnant. Funny, this put me in mind of Jon Pyke’s article yesterday where he spoke about how workflow systems “suck” because they don’t allow people to do their own thing in order to get things done; Pyke seems to be dissing workflow systems because they enforce repeatable processes.

Levels 2 and 3 of BPMM show the benefits of putting some business process maturity in place: managed, repeatable processes, integrated across the organization and adaptable to different circumstances. Roughly speaking, Level 2 involves putting some process automation and management in place for localized process improvement, and Level 3 involves organizational-level process improvement and reengineering by standardizing processes across the organization. My feeling, and that of the speakers, is that most organizations are at Level 1 in their process maturity, with some approaching Level 2 where organizations have implemented some process improvement initiatives, particularly those including a BPMS implementation.

Level 4 is taking a more statistical look at processes, reminiscent of Six Sigma: making processes less variable and more predictable, and gets into more performance management. BPMM is a roadmap, whereas Six Sigma is a set of tools that can be applied — probably starting around Level 3 or 4 – therefore can work together.

Level 5 is taking it to a proactive level, where an organization can recognize the difference between where they are and where they should be, and quickly take steps to achieve that. This is the level of continuous process improvement, where change management becomes just another standardized business process, focused on defect reduction and prevention.

There was a slide at the end about cultural transformation that I particularly liked: moving between Levels 1, 2 and 3 is about discipline, while moving to Levels 4 and 5 is about trust.

Although I can’t find the BPMM documents on the OMG site (which has the annoying habit of restricting access to standards in development), there is a BPMM information day in Washington DC next week where you can get more information.

On a related note, yesterday I attended the inaugural meeting of the Toronto BPMG chapter (more on that later), where Jim Baird talked about BPMG’s business process maturity model. Although I’m not familiar with it, I have to wonder if there’s room in the market for two business process maturity models.

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