You may have noticed that I haven’t been blogging for the first two days of the IRM BPM conference here in London: that’s because I gave a 1/2-day seminar on the BPM technology landscape on Monday, then presented a session on collaboration and BPM yesterday morning, then moderated a roundtable on transforming process models to IT requirements yesterday afternoon. Last night, a small group of us had dinner at the lovely Institute of Directors club, where we had a fascinating conversation about all things related to BPM – off the record, of course. 🙂
This morning, we started the day with Roger Burlton, the conference organizer, interviewing Keith Harrison-Broninski about the future of work. Keith, who I first met at the BPMG conference here in London four years ago, created the theory of Human Interaction Management (HIM), with the idea that you start with the complex human relationships – strategy, goals and deliverables – and work your way out to the transactional stuff. In other words, get a handle on the collaborative human-to-human processes first, with no technology involved, then use the successes in that sort of process improvement to gain support for the greater funding and time commitments required for implementing a BPMS. When Roger said that HIM sounds a lot like project management, Keith replied that project management is a use case of HIM.
Keith comes across as a bit of an old-school technophobe: he pooh-poohs blogging, tweeting and all other social media, and (based on his involvement in my roundtable yesterday afternoon) considers BPMS implementations to take much too long and cost too much although he appears to have little practical experience with any modern-day model-driven BPMS. Ignoring that, he does have some interesting ideas that get back to the definition of BPM that we all give lip service to, but often ignore: the management practice of improving processes, separate from the technology. This is about knowledge work, however, not routine work, where people are given goals and deliverables and work out how to achieve those based on their own knowledge. He refers to these as information-based processes, and everything that could be represented by a process model as task-based processes, where these mundane task-based processes are merely programs (in the software sense) to be implemented with much time and effort by the lowly engineers and developers. The answer to all this, of course, is his software, HumanEdj, and the workshops and services that he provides to help you implement it.
An interesting discussion, showing some of the huge gaps that exist in BPM today, especially between how we deal with knowledge work versus routine work.