Think Like A Lean Startup For BPM Success

Outside of BPM, one of my other passions is mentoring college students through the process of launching new startups. I enjoy helping students tighten up their business ideas and seeing them build business plans that can attract the funding they need to stand up and implement their ventures.

Recently, after reviewing and providing feedback on a student’s business plan, the student responded, “I can launch my business without a business plan; all this planning seems like a waste of time.” At first, I thought he was joking. However, I could read by the look on his face that he was serious. I am sure you can imagine the conversation that followed.

The next day when I reflected on the conversation, I had a moment of satori. I could see that startups share the same risk/reward profile as business process management initiatives. Just like startups, BPM initiatives promise huge returns to investors and stakeholders. Additionally, just like startups, BPM initiatives are fraught with risks such as inadequate funding, low adoption, and difficulty attracting skilled resources.

My conversation with the student about the importance of business planning seemed to parallel conversations I often have with enterprise architects and business architects launching or retooling their BPM initiatives. Most tend to overestimate the BPM’s potential rewards and downplay — or do not fully understand — the risks involved with launching a BPM initiative. However, for the most successful BPM initiatives, I have found that their leaders tend to have a “lean startup” mentality.

What does it mean to have a “lean startup” mentality?

It means these leaders approach BPM excellence as a business in its own right, not just as another technology or business program in the company. They realize that BPM has investors and stakeholders. These leaders realize they must drive broad adoption for BPM over time in order to achieve success. Most importantly, they realize the need to build a business plan that outlines how they will deliver results quickly in order to continue growing and expanding the BPM initiative.

Forrester’s Business Process Management Playbook provides a pragmatic framework to help teams plan, launch, and manage all aspects of a BPM excellence business. Instead of flying blind with BPM, you can use the playbook to help you:

  • Discover.This is where you will identify the latest BPM trends and evaluate which trends might have the greatest impact on your program. Additionally, this area of the playbook is designed to help you build a strong and compelling business case for BPM and assess your readiness to launch your BPM excellence initiative.
  • Plan.This section of the playbook is where you will gain step-by-step guidance on building the right business plan for launching your BPM excellence initiative. In addition to helping you build out a lean business plan for BPM, this section helps you identify and navigate the stakeholder landscape and establish the right implementation strategy for delivering BPM excellence.
  • Act.This is always the most exciting part of BPM for me (yes, I am a computer scientist by trade). It is where the rubber meets the road. This section helps you identify and begin implementing the right methods and techniques for your BPM initiative. Additionally, this section walks you through building out the right set of skills and helps you evaluate and adopt the right BPM technology solutions to support the program’s goals and objectives.
  • Optimize:This is often the most overlooked aspect of BPM excellence. Once teams deliver on the act phase, rarely do they take time to understand how to optimize their initiative in order to deliver even greater impact. Within the optimize section, we have published our first framework for benchmarking BPM excellence success. Enterprise architects and business architects can use this framework to assess the impact of their BPM excellence programs. Additionally, architects can use these benchmarks to retool and take their programs to the next level.

The Business Process Management Playbook is living research. So check back regularly, as we will refresh these reports with new case studies and toolkits. These toolkits will take you even deeper into a particular area of the playbook. Toolkit research will consist of Forrester Wave™, TechRadar™, and Total Economic Impact™ reports, as well as Excel-based models, PowerPoint templates, and checklists.

To get started, first take a look at our executive overview, which walks you through the different modules of the playbook. For a more hands-on approach, Forrester Consulting offers full-day workshops and consulting projects aligned to each phase of launching and running your BPM excellence initiative.

This is just the beginning. Me and the rest of the BPM team here at Forrester — Craig Le Clair, Derek Miers, and Alex Cullen — want to know if this resonates with you. Also, let us know if there are other areas you think we should address in the Business Process Management Playbook.