BPM or Business Process Management is a hot topic these days and rightly so. However the effectiveness and profitability of the business depends, in the first instance, on the effectiveness and efficiency of the individual employees. It is therefore suggested that in addition to any formal organizational BPM initiatives a personal version, for individuals and small groups should be implemented. This process will be known as P – BPM or "Personal Business Process Management".
Why P-BPM as against BPM?
Enterprise level BPN implementations frequently include high-end tools such as Microsoft Project, Primavera or Oracle’s JD Edwards. While these applications are excellent at an enterprise-level they frequently do little for the individual manager. This is evidenced by the evolution of such applications as Project Kickstart™ which was developed in the 90s by disappointed Microsoft Project users; who found MS Project too complicated to setup, particularly for small projects. The message was clear: the vast majority of processes and projects managed by the average manager are far too small to use such "heavy" applications yet are important enough to be managed using best practice.
Is therefore suggested that an effective support system for the average manager needs to be introduced to allow him or her to understand the critical tasks in day-to-day management, namely:
- · Define processes and projects
- · Manage processes and projects
- · Control costs and resources
- · Manage information [Personal Knowledge Management]
- · Monitor progress and communicate progress
If a project is large or grows beyond a small departmental project, it can be migrated to an enterprise solution.
Ensuring "Best Practice"
If it is accepted that the P-BPM principle is correct, it is important to ensure that a simplification of the full BPM process is not taken as a justification for "cutting corners". This can be ensued by requiring the use of approved procedures and carefully constructed templates. For example when tackling a Very Small Project [VSP] there is no reason why best practice steps should not be followed. For example:
1. Define Objectives and Scope
2. Define Deliverables
3. Project Planning
5. Tracking and reporting
6. Change Management
7. Risk Management
Even with an informal, low key project, a good manager would follow those outline steps instinctively. However when job pressures increase it is all too easy to accidentally miss out on one of the steps. The evidence for this is quite clear in aviation as one of the most common causes of accidents or near accidents in light aircraft is landing with the undercarriage retracted. This can only happen when the pilot neglects to use a well-known in standard checklist which includes "handbrake off" and "undercarriage down and locked". This checklist should be done automatically even when using a fixed undercarriage aircraft … In other words using the full checklist, regardless, ensures that nothing vital is missed. It is therefore suggested that if an easily used system with clear processes, instructions and templates is established, errors are likely to be considerably reduced. This has the effect of maintaining quality and efficiency.
A day in the life of a Manager
Amanda is an engineering graduate with seven years’ experience in various aspects quality control and quality improvement. She runs the quality department in an oil company and has staff of 10. Being an engineer she is, by nature, a disciplined individual and the last thing she does every night is to prepare a to-do-list for the following day. Currently her department has seven ongoing projects which need careful supervision and she is also in the middle of annual staff reviews. She looks at her to-do-list and her computer based diary [which her secretary keeps up-to-date] and realizes that in addition to reviewing the ongoing projects, she also has to attend two meetings today; one concerned with the kickoff another new, but small, project. What will be Amanda's major challenges today?
1. The first consideration is that she has to keep quite a few "balls in the air" at the same time. Research has proven that it is impossible to deal accurately with more than four issues at any one time. This being the case there is a high probability that Amanda will either miss something or take a decision which is less than optimal.
2. One of the meetings today is to report on the current status of four of the seven projects. She needs to rapidly generate interim reports for these projects.
3. Amanda also needs to go over the handwritten records she keeps on various staff members to prepare for the reviews.
The reality is that the enterprise systems will be of only marginal use to Amanda during the coming day. This is so for a whole variety of reasons:
- · There is a high probability that she has not used the main project management system for some of the small projects. This would happen for two reasons: firstly these systems are notoriously difficult to setup, and secondly the perception is that the result is not worth the initial effort. It should be remembered that Amanda is a skilled engineer and manager, not a professional Project Manager.
- · For the previous reason, generating progress notes on the projects that require reporting today are going to be extremely time-consuming.
- · When discussing the new VSP in one of the scheduled meetings the main systems will be of little value in capturing the initial requirements for the project.
- · Enterprise systems are not really suitable for the sort of notes which Amanda keeps to help her with staff reviews.
If Amanda had a P-BPM [Personal Business Process Management] system and a PKM [Personal Knowledge Management] system in place is highly likely that she would not only be more efficient, but in reality her workload also reduced during the day described.
A highly effective solution is a Microsoft certified application: Mindsystems Amode®. This application is an inexpensive, fully functioned management information center designed for individual desktop use. Amode can provide the ideal P-BMP and PKM environment for all levels of management and their support staff. In addition, Amode can be readily tailored, to exactly suit the needs of any organization. Specifically, Amode can provide the following benefits to the individual manager by acting as a P-BMP and a PKM:
1. Provide total control over small projects in terms of deliverables, time, costs and resources
2. Manage day-to-day information demands including importing the contents of significant documents or emails
3. Create a personal business Knowledge Information base
4. By way of templates; having access to optimum procedures for a wide range of tasks. This is based on standard System Templates (over 50), Customized Organizational Templates and User-defined Templates.
5. Integrated access to graphical methods for clarifying procedures (e.g. mind maps and flow charts)
6. The ability to generate reports in Microsoft Office, Open Office and PDF formats
7. To easily define new procedures and work-flows in a logical manner.
Mindsystems Amode® provides a total process and information management environment designed to make the individual manager more efficient, organized and productive. All of this is achieved at low cost without conflicting with established enterprise systems.