ProcessWorld Day 2: General session with Andrew Spanyi

Last up today is Andrew Spanyi discussing the “soft and fuzzy stuff about business process governance” (his words), and I have to say that I don’t envy him the 5pm speaking slot. The audience is sparse — many having departed to catch a flight, go shopping, or just take a break after an already-long day — and those of us that are here are a bit apathetic.

This whole topic, of course, requires a new acronym: BPG (business process governance), which is the set of guidelines focussed on organizing all BPM activities and initiatives of an organization.

Ten minutes into his talk, I’m really starting to feel sorry that I sat on the opposite side of the room from the door, making it impossible to depart politely. Either he’s flipping slides too fast, or my brain has slowed to a crawl, since I absolutely cannot seem to take any notes of value. I did, however, catch his three critical leadership behaviours required for BPG:

  • A high level process model
  • Well-defined performance metrics
  • Broad-based education on process methods

He also pointed out something that he heard from Tom Davenport: major IT systems are difficult to implement, and many projects fail; process change involves new skills, behaviours and attitudes so is also difficult; that makes it difficult to do both at once. And what I’ve seen with BPM initiatives, almost all companies try to do both at once.

Spanyi had a great list of five sure-fire ways to fail:

  • Lack of accountability and authority
  • Insufficient focus on common language
  • Lack of linkage to strategy
  • Insufficient focus on improvement
  • Focusing on method rather than results (e.g., focus on modelling rather than improvement)

At the end of all this, I’m left with the notion that BPG is just another way for consultants to make money. Okay, I’m a consultant too, but not the fuzzy management consulting type: at the end of the day, I actually want to see a system running.

2 thoughts on “ProcessWorld Day 2: General session with Andrew Spanyi”

  1. Thanks for this excellent and realtime summary.
    I would add that Andrew’s research linking Centers of Process Excellence and governance of BPM with financial results beating the Dow made an impact.
    It would be interesting to have face time with you at the reception. Stop by the SAP BPX pod so we can exchange live notes.

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