In December we have been running a mini-survey on the BPTrends website to determine the elements that readers think should be included in a rigorous analysis of a business process. If you glance at the results you'll see that most readers think most of the items we listed should be included, with one major exception. Only a few readers think that a description of contingencies that managers enforce on those who perform the various activities should be analyzed.
About a month ago we wrote a blog item on a recent incident that occured in afganistan —
If you haven't read it, I urge you to take a couple of minutes to check it out. I am aware, of course, that different readers take rather different ideas as to what constitutes a business process. My own idea, in the tradition of Rummler, Hammer and others, is that you examine everything associated with a given process that can result in improved performance. And I can assure you, having done this for a few decades, that the work of managers often effects the process outcomes that are achieved. To ignore how the managers of a given process interact with the people performing the process is to tie one hand behind your back. Geary Rummler used to maintain that it constituted 50% of the problems he encountered.
Management contingencies are strongly associated with the results that we term motivation and culture — they control human actions to a very large extent. And slight changes in the contingencies that managers enforce or reinforce can make huge differences in how employees behave.
This isn't to suggest that the survey is wrong, of course. The survey accurately reflects the position of those who responded. It suggests, instead, that I think that those who responded should reconsider how they think about process analysis. They are denying themselves, in my opinion, of a valuable tool. More to the point, they deny themselves success in some number of process cases, because they will lack a lever that can be used to significantly improve how processes work.