Process mapping is not always universally a good thing.

Process management is promoted as the answer to most operational difficulties. Get stuff mapped, understand the measures that deliver what stakeholders required and reduce the variability. Tool vendors “lap this up” and provide repositories and mapping tools to do the job plus add-ons in some cases to create business architectures – great.

Like many things it all becomes, in some cases a bit too much, where the above approach is preached by some as the only way – basically if you don’t do this you don’t know what your are doing! It becomes too simplistic with mantras like ” if you can’t measure it you can’t measure it “, ” Your standards aren’t standards” or “that doesn’t comply with **BPMN 2.0 so it isn’t professional process mapping”, and so on.

The approach described is probably fine in high volume low variety environments where doing the same thing the same way makes measurement and outcomes consistent. Quality systems require compliance to documented processes and systems; this is all wrapped up in this *BPM paradigm.

However what about environments where the service provided is nearly always different every time a client pulls value? Does it then make sense to map processes and engage the BPM way of doing things. Process mapping the implicit knowledge of professional knowledge workers is pretty hard – I have tried a few times over the years and it is a bit pointless as an exercise – I can tell you!

So what is the message here?

The point I am making is that  methods and techniques have to be appropriate and just because you are an expert in one method or another don’t get drawn into thinking that it is the only way. Please stop,  reflect  on what you are saying, because some of the evangelism we see in some methodologies today is highly counterproductive.

 What methodologies am I referring to here? AGILE, BUsiness Process RE-engineering, TOGAF, SAFe, Six Sigma, Scrum, Prince 2 to name a few – I am sure readers can think of others where it has all got a bit too much.

BPM Business Process Management
** BPMN Business Process Mapping Notation Version 2.0.

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