Last week I mentioned to a friend of mine that I was going to work for a business process management product company (Effektif). By way of elaboration, I added that this is the kind of software that lets you define a repeatable workflow so you don’t have to remember the tasks in the process. Not in exactly those words (we were speaking Dutch) but something like that.
My friend is a normal person, rather than a software developer or process analyst, so I wouldn’t expect her to think that BPM is intrinsically cool. Instead, she gave me a warning look and said, ‘oh, like software that has a process, and then it’s set in stone and can’t be changed?’
I recognise that look: it’s the defensive look of someone who was once impaled on the sharp end of a traditional software development project. The kind that delivered software that presumed to know better without admitting the possibility of learning, changing and improving.
Perhaps this is the fundamental challenge for BPM software: to provide software solutions that embrace change in the business processes that they support. Rather like how current software development methods embrace change in business requirements.