The marriage of BPM with Agile has not been a match made in heaven, but rather in the dark murk of the negotiation room for an arranged marriage between two rich kids. Since the early Noughties when Agile was initially paired with BPM, it has shown some sparkling successes, and certainly the word “Agile” has been splashed around plenty.
Agile Marketing, Production, Manufacturing, Teams, Working Practices….
Agile, Agile, AGILE….
You get the idea.
But Agile got its start in the Agile Manifesto, and here it is singularly attributable to software development:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
Agile in this context views everything mentioned here as valuable, however the initial words to the left of each statement are deemed to have greater value than those to the right.
So, with “Individuals and interactions,” being more important than “processes and tools,” it is clear that Agile thinking has already put BPM in its place.
But this thinking ignores the developments made with BPM. BPM has and will continue to develop, and so will the technologies and management solutions associated with it. In this way, there has been a collision of BPM with Agile, particularly with the ideal of Continuous Improvement driving the need for BPM solutions that free the business user from specialized coding and development skills.
Partnering Agile & BPM
On initial consideration, Agile and BPM are polar opposites:
Agile considers the person to be more valuable than the process; allowance for change and discretion, rather than following a plan and the rules.
Business process management revolves around setting and following the rules, how to handle exceptions and workflows, more rules, reiteration and recursion, and even more rules.
And don’t forget the documentation, because that is the point of BPM – if you can document a process, you can have everyone else follow it!
The clear message here is that Agile & BPM cannot possibly work together.
But they can.
Lean BPM Places the Power of Agile & BPM In To the Hands of Business People
Agile values the individual more than the process, because the person is the thinker, the doer, the element which really counts. The process is fashioned by the person, not vice versa, and it is the person who will be able to apply thought, analysis and creativity to making the process better.
When applying Agile & BPM together to a business problem, a major hurdle is the deployment of the BPM solution. Large-scale deployments are not uncommon, months if not years of pain, IT project hell, budgets overrunning, resources tied-up and uncertain outcomes.
But, what if BPM technology is made lean enough to be deployed without all the major IT headaches that accompany traditional solutions?
What happens when business process design and optimization is put directly into the hands of those managing and working with business processes?
What happens when the people within an organization are able to see work in real-time flowing through their business processes and are able to change those business processes to react and adapt to the business environment?
Does this not allow for a true partnership of the power and advantages of Agile with those of BPM?
Lean BPM from HighGear
HighGear is a pioneer in the field of Lean BPM – delivering the major components of business process management, in a scalable but easily deployed BPM software solution. Combining enterprise task management with automated workflows, HighGear also provides a full audit trail, drag-and-drop business process visualization and optimization with a BI module. HighGear is fully customizable and thanks to a rich and robust API, it integrates with anything. HighGear costs around 20-30% of the cost of a traditional BPM software solution.