Home > BPM, Case Management > It feels like I’m driving a Toyota

It feels like I’m driving a Toyota

It feels like the Case Management / BPM world has the accelerator stuck in the “go” position. Now before you jump on me for my poor taste in jokes, let me say that I’m a happy owner of two Toyotas, so I say this in jest. Truth be told, life is getting busier and busier, and it’s a struggle to keep up at times.

First, I’m really excited to announce that the launch of “Mastering the Unpredictable”, a book on Adaptive Case Management that I contributed to, will be at the Process.Gov event in Reston, VA on April 14th. I’ll be attending the event so if you’re there, stop by and say hello.

Second, if you haven’t heard, I was interviewed by Theo Priestly of BPM Redux. We cover a range of topics from the convergence of BPM and CRM to the future of BPM and Case Management. You can read the post here. Thanks to Theo for that, he’s a great resource for all things process-related and someone I highly suggest you look in on (@ProcessTheory on Twitter).

Finally, lot’s of discussions going on about the definition and future of case management. Take a look at blogs from Keith Swenson of Fujitsu, Andrew Smith of One Degree, and Max Pucher of ISIS-Papyrus. My reading list just keeps getting longer!

Categories: BPM, Case Management
  1. Alana Schock
    April 5th, 2010 at 22:25 | #1

    (Read your interview on BPM Redux and left this comment there as well)

    Bravo on your ACM insight, Tom! Please keep it up! I can’t wait for the book. Your thinking on ACM, along with that brilliant research piece on Dynamic Case Management from Connie Moore and Craig Le Clair at Forrester published in December, have hit the nail right on the head for us.

    We have just recently had our first major setback in our BPM program related to the implementation of a very complex process that is supported by several types of inputs (imaged forms/other documents from external firms, data submission via web, email/phone client conversations, email/phone internal conversations) in our BPMS. We worked side by side with the process owners and hired external professional consultants to help us with the design and implementation of the process in the BPMS. We modeled the process as best as we could, but it seemed like there were about 1300 use cases possible. Trying to model the process for the BPMS implementation so explicitly created a proliferation of tasks and UI implementations (most of which were run by the same participant) and we learned not too long after deploying the process to the production environment that it was just too much BPMS overhead for the wider team to use – without much payoff to them for using it.

    They’ve now temporarily abandoned it for a much simpler, basic document workflow process (with a single activity/UI where they can manage all documents and “case” details, mostly through accumulating required document attachments and updating notes) that we had built for them previously until we can make this right.

    We’re back at the drawing board and very reflective about how we went wrong. While there are several things we’ve learned we could have done better, there is growing consensus that our biggest miss was that we didn’t recognize at design time that, especially for the more complex use cases of this process, a case management pattern/approach would have probably worked best. Also key for us in what we need to do to make this right are the elements about case management process and UI design from earlier Forrester research that Moore/Le Clair highlighted in the Dynamic Case Management piece: 1) “design for people-build for change” and 2) “the seven tenets of the information workplace: role-based, contextual, seamless, visual, multimodal, social and quick.”

    We’ll get it right but this has been a painful lesson we won’t soon forget! Hopefully the research and discussion that seems to be catching on related to case management will save others from this heartbreak.

  2. April 6th, 2010 at 12:51 | #2


    Thanks for the candid commentary. The situation you described highlights one of the primary reasons I advocate using a case management approach. In fact, I’m working on a post tentatively titled “Predictability, Passion and Practicality” that covers the topic in a bit more detail.

    As you’ve seen, one of the casualties of overly complex implementations is user-adoption. If it’s too complex, people naturally create workarounds to make their lives easier, or even worse, they simply won’t use the system.

    On the other hand, dialing back the rigidity and structure of the solution enables people to simply “get work done.” If you pick up the ACM book (hint, hint) and can make it through my chapter without falling asleep, you’ll read about how we need to ease up on the reins a bit and let people do the jobs they know how to do. I don’t advocate a wild west shootout approach to knowledge work, just a little trust and confidence in our knowledge workers.

    Thanks again for the comment and best of luck with rethinking the implementation approach.

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