BPM Think Tank Day 2: John Alden

Replacing the scheduled Bill Curtis (who had to cancel due to a family emergency), Chief Process Officer at McAfee, John Alden of Capability Measurement (which he co-founded with Curtis) gave the second day keynote on the role of the Chief Process Officer in business process improvement.

Responsibilities of the CPO:

  • Champion enterprise process discipline: quantify the need, articulate the vision, and infiltrate the mindset. It’s important for the CPO to be an internal evangelist for process improvement. Low process maturity organizations are spending 30-40% of their total time doing rework due to errors earlier in the process. In mid-maturity organizations, processes are stabilized but not standardized. In mature organizations, processes are standardized to reduce variability.
  • Drive process measurement: quantify business cases, support local management needs first, and mature the measures with the process over time. Derive the measurements, or KPIs, from strategic goals. Measures in immature organizations are unreliable, inconsistent and inaccurate; in mid-level maturity organizations, they become more standardized; and in mature organizations, they become strategic.
  • Coordinate enterprise process integration: represent cross-functional interests, establish enterprise process capability, and coordinate enterprise improvement projects. This requires optimizing the workflow rather than the functional performance of any given group, that is, focussing on the end-to-end process rather than silos: moving from siloed improvements, to coordinating functions through cross-functional processes, to enterprise processes that draw on functions as roles. There needs to be some sort of enterprise infrastructure to support these efforts, possibly through a centre of excellence.
  • Develop local process improvement capabilities: build business unit BPI capability, support local BPI activities, and establish enterprise improvement assets.

Alden talked a bit about BPMM, and how it needs to start at the local level and have the right type of leadership from the local managers, and finished up with a brief look at the CPO function and the related process improvement structures that are in place at McAfee.

I would have love to hear Curtis talk about this himself, since I’m sure that he’d bring more passion and hands-on knowledge about his role at McAfee to it, but Alden is very knowledgeable in this area and was a reasonable substitute.

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