What Process Methodologies Are Used?

This month, the mini-poll on the www.bptrends.com website focuses on the types of methodologies that organizations use.  So far we've only had 19 responses, and hopefully we'll have a few more before long.  So far, the largest number of our respondents suggest that their organization does NOT use a business process methodology.  I take this to mean that there is no standard way such organizations approach problems arising form processes that don't work as well as they should.  That's kind of disturbing.  It's not so much at having no methodology is so bad, but it suggests that the organization doesn't care enough about business processes to sit down and define a standard way of dealing with process problems.

The second largest number say they have BOTH a top-down methodology (presumably for larger redesign problems) and in incremental process methodology (presumably for smaller-scale day to day process improvement).

Only a few said they had only a top-down methodology or only an incremental methodology.

It suggests a rather sharp dichotomy.  Either organizations have nothing, or they are committed enough to process work to have ways of handling both larger and smaller problems.  And, presumably organizations with both have provided training in both, indicating even more of a committment.

Given that business people have been talking a lot about processes from the 1980s on, its a bit disappointing to learn that process hasn't had more of an impact on the average organization.  On the other hand, it probably represents reality.  Lot's of organizations fail.  Even companies in the Fortune 500 disappear on a regular basis, bought up by rivals, or simply going bankrupt.  Even today, faced with an unprecedented global market, most of the data suggests we have too many companies in most industry. Lots of companies had one or two national auto companies.  Today, even after two decades of consolidation, there are still too many auto companies chasing too few buyers.  Those that survive will be those that rapidly develop global procurement and manufacturing systems, the right balance of products, and those that adopt new technologies, like hybrid and hydrogen engines in time. A few global giants will manage to develop really good procedures and do well and most will struggle along as second tier companies and then disappear.

The key thing is that some companies “get” process, whatever they choose to call it.  They understand that a company is a system or process for producing outputs and that good companies study the process and refine the key relationships to make them smooth and efficient.  Other companies never seem to get beyond the point of crisis management, where every change seems to come as a unique challenge requiring another heroic effort.

Or, put a different way,  one group of companies have both types of process methodology, and another group doesn't have any common approach to process problems.


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