I just watched the replay of a presentation done by Peter Fingar, one of the most prominent names today in BPM and co-author of Business Process Management: The Third Wave. As usual, he had some interesting words about “How Work Works in Business”, because he understands that BPM is about business, not about IT: a fact of which many organizations have lost sight.
There was one false note in the presentation, however: he had a slide that described the work processor as the “strategy-execution machine”, and abbreviated that as “The SEx Machine™”. I kid you not, it even included the ™. With a slightly embarrassed pause, Peter pronounced the abbreviation as “the s-e-x machine”, as if he were the parent of a 4-year-old discussing a taboo subject at the dinner table. I was left wondering what marketing hack created that abbreviation, because I’m pretty sure that Peter wouldn’t coin a phrase to be used in a public presentation that he obviously can’t even pronounce in public. The really funny thing was that he spent a great deal of time in the presentation emphasizing how we had to get rid of 3-letter acronyms in IT, then he goes and turns “sex” into a TLA.
The inconsistency between the presentation slide and his obvious discomfort with the content really gave me pause, because it makes me wonder how many other presentations that I see where the presenter is equally ill-at-ease with the content, but just hides it better.