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Agile/Scrum, Process Management, Workshops and Events

Max Pucher’s Keynote 23rd June 2011

I attended ISIS Papyrus’s Open House yesterday and thought it worth summarising a few of the points Max Pucher made in his keynote presentation. Max is always great to listen to and, apparently, has been described as one of the top ten influencers of Business Process Management (BPM). As Max says, that’s quite amusing as he’s not exactly a fan of BPM!


Innovation should be about making things easier and there are a number of factors that can drive innovation:

  • Users’ needs: customers drive innovation and therefore innovation is often created in the workplace, by staff and not by managers.
  • Competitors: obviously!
  • Budgets: the pressure to drive up sales or drive out more efficiencies
  • Technology: which has always been an enabler of innovation

A highly relevant aside on Budgeting led to a discussion of the obsession of some businesses with planning and driving out risk.  The reality is, says Max, that there will always be risk and that “more planning creates more risk”. I’m sure that’s not an argument for not planning, but it seems to me that it is a good argument for more agile planning and thinking about shorter project and innovation lifecycles.

The “technology” factor raises the question of what is the future for IT. Globally delivered solutions don’t work and increasingly there is a need to give users the capability to create apps/ content themselves. You just have to look at the wide choice users have and the ease of installation of iPad apps compared with anything for a PC, to see what end-users prefer. Increasingly, IT will mean Cloud + Apps on mobile devices and the growth of the social mobile workplace. We are already hearing the term “Bring your own technology” (BYOT) with employees accessing corporate systems via their personal mobile devices.

We should seek innovation anywhere; it is not a rigid process; it is collaborative and social. The use of Agile development approaches means innovation cycles can be shorter and it’s possible to run smaller projects that deliver faster and with less risk.

The other major challenge for the IT world is that it often takes a very different perspective and talks a different language to “the business”. The Business talks about meeting business goals and wants to change processes and systems in days, not weeks or months. Its people want empowerment, autonomy and are the key leverage points with real customers. In contrast, the IT world appears more concerned with complexity and architecture: how to turn processes into systems and how to make systems scalable.

Process Management:

Max talked about the bureaucratic nature of most approaches to BPM with its mix of Governance, Process Owners, Developers, Analysts, Actors and the inevitable IT. He added that the idea of “Social BPM” risked being no different. An interesting continuum had BPM at one end and Social at the other. ERP and BPM systems were described as fitting with repetitive exploitation, with Adaptive Case Management and Social Media being associated with emergent innovation.

I’ve written previously about Adaptive Case Management and will post more based on yesterday’s ISIS Papyrus event.  You can follow Max on Twitter: @maxjpucher


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