Monday, 25 July 2011

BPM and Change Management – Time to Tie The Knot

Call it culture, resistance to change, fear, politics or just old fashioned pig-headedness, but BPM initiatives are seldom without change issues and internal friction of some kind. And as we see BPM adoption increasing, there is increasing proof of the existence of such a thing called BPM Inertia. And it compromises the degree of BPM success.

It seems to me that almost any firm running a BPM initiative acknowledges the need for change management at the beginning, but not all of them actually take the effort to address it directly and methodically as the initiative rolls forward.

Here is a truth pill you must take: change issues threaten BPM success much more than you ever cared to admit. If you really want to tackle every force adversely affecting your BPM success, you need to stand up and look at that BPM Inertia in the eye.

Vendors and System Integrators will offload slide after slide of wisdom, frameworks and methodologies as you prepare your approach to tackle the change demon. All good and necessary, but don’t get swayed –  it’s all only like a recipe. You still need to figure out how much salt & spice works best for your family; what shade of rare, medium or well-done the meat should be, by considering each unique preference of those about to gather at the table.

The avatar that change issues might take is different in each organization. It could be a manifestation of one or more factors, those that may not be directly related to BPM or even Biz/IT. Not all of those will be evil, negative or wilful. They could simply stem from a lack of appreciation, or awareness of the nature of change or its benefits.

So an important ingredient that goes into the creation of a Change Management program is deep insight into organization culture, people, and a sense of understanding of cause and effect, all coming from a great position of strength that of firsthand experience from being part of it and acquired from being one of ‘them’.

Your vendor may have great experience and track-record of successes in running a change management program, but let someone from within, that knows the pulse of your organization be an influential, driving member of that program.  At the same time exploit the fresh, detached perspective that your vendor/SI brings in.

One key pivot that I am increasingly beginning to believe Change Management success hinges on is when everyone involved is aware and truly believes that  the ‘change’ can improve their daily work life, and can indeed help them work smarter, easier and better.

In the end though, the crucial ingredient to leading a successful change management program is to address the cause, not the symptom.

Thank you for reading! and please feel free to leave a comment!

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