Top 10 BPM Software Pitfalls to Avoid

By | March 22, 2010 | BPM

There are a number of obstacles that can get in the way of business process management success.  If you are considering using business process software in your organization, designing workflows for potential future use, or already using a BPM software suite, be sure to avoid these common mistakes:

10. Don’t forget about End Users

As I discussed in my previous blog, it is supremely important for those managers spearheading the BPM software initiative to be in-synch with the needs of those end users who will actually have to use the system to accomplish their daily tasks.  By communicating the benefits of BPM software, and considering the end user experience during process design, management can ensure that BPM software will actually make the end user’s job easier, thereby increasing the BPM software’s utility and benefits to the organization.

9.  Immature Process Design

An “immature process” refers to one that is poorly defined, poorly documented, and/or poorly executed.  Without a solid, well-documented workflow design including all the steps, tasks, and participants involved in the process, it is very difficult to automate that process with BPM software.  However, don’t despair!!  The cure for an immature process is “process discovery“, a process of examination, either within the organization or with the help of a process consultant in order to identify and document all of the tasks, steps, and participants for each workflow.

8.  Happy Path v. Rainy Day Path

What about anomalies?  When things don’t go as planned, BPM software needs to be flexible and contemplate all possible alternate routes that a case could follow.  During process discovery, its important to go beyond just documenting the “happy path”, or the typical route that a case follows when all circumstances are normal; the BPM software needs to incorporate all possible “rainy day paths” and exceptions.

Consider the classic example from human resources: the leave application process.  When a supervisor denies an employee’s vacation request form, what happens next?  Does the form return to the employee?  Is the employee notified by email?  What if the employee does not actually take the leave she requested?  A solid, mature process design contemplates all possible “rainy day” circumstances.

7.  Automate does NOT = Optimize

Its important to distinguish between “process automation” and “process optimization”.  Slapping BPM software on top of a poorly designed process will not optimize it!  In order to leverage the optimization benefits of BPM software, it’s important for a process architect to consider ways to optimize the process.  By leveraging BPM software features, process architects and process consultants can improve workflow design to eliminate waste, reduce bottlenecks, redistribute resources, connect with other systems, and in turn, optimize the process itself.

Check back soon for more BPM Software pitfalls to avoid!

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