The first day of Appian Forum ended with a panel of Appian customers – Archstone, AGF, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Mercer Outsourcing – hosted by Clay Richardson of Forrester. Clay started with a question about which BPM project to do first: instead of the old “start small, think big, act fast” mantra, many organizations are choosing to start with a bigger project where they’re experiencing a lot of pain. Not, however, the organizations represented on the panel: they all indicated that they either started with a smaller project, or started with a big one and regretted it. I think that the key is balance: select a big enough project to be meaningful and use an iterative approach so that you don’t get swamped by it.
The discussion continued on to include data integrity/cleansing and return on investment, and the audience chimed in with questions on testing BPM applications to ensure correctness (getting a working system in front of the users earlier for validation and testing helps, as do frequent releases), production support (often done by original project team, which cuts into time for new development and CoE activities, but ideally project team is second line of support and leverages shared services support for underlying server and network infrastructure) and business change management/buy-in (requires communication, participation and vision). I think that my presentation on BPM centers of excellence that immediately preceded this had an impact: a couple of the questions directly referenced what I was talking about, particularly in the last question on process asset reusability across projects (difficult unless there is a CoE that manages an asset repository or otherwise governs reusability).
My job here is done: tomorrow is a more in-depth day for customer product training, so I’m headed back to Toronto tonight.