Jan
09
2012

Is the thinking of business processes in BPM or ACM only a battle of hemispheres?

I will invite you reading the new article of Max J. Pucher, one of our thought leader in the area of efficient business processes: ACM and BPM: A Battle of The Hemispheres?

In June of 2010 I wrote the article WfMC’s Thought Leader proclaimed the next BPM revolution in Maidenhead at the end of 2009. It was about Adaptive Case Management – ACM – defined as the complement of Business Process Management -BPM. While BPM is dealing with the predictable processes with structured activity chain models the ACM is about the handling of unpredictable sequences of task within complex envirionments. Analyses of Gartner showed that about 65% of our processes are more unpredictable, so patterns are not the way to describing these processes.

And what I saw in the past was a discussion battle about whether there are benefits of documenting processes via BPMN or other such modelling notations or not. Max is one of the advocacies ot the not. And in his new article he comes to the conclusion, that the battle comes from how our brain halfs are working:

Many have tried to define and classify what BPM is and not and what thus the difference to ACM is. There is further ambiguity looming when we aren’t clear whether we talk about concepts and methodology or software and systems. I found that the core problem is a battle of mindsets and won’t thus be easily resolved. The two approaches are separated by how our our right and left brain hemispheres view the world. ‘Ah,’ you might think, ‘Here we go again with that boring discussion about the battle between our reasonable and emotional selves.’

And I can follow him well, may be I have read the same authors. After some discussion about how our brain is working and the the left half of the brain can not fully work well without the help of the right sight and vice versa he sees the sames effects in BPM and ACM:

A human view of BPM-control versus ACM-guidance.

Well, I propose that BPM flowcharts are a left-brained serial illusion of how things ideally should be. It is a predictive, controlling approach to our world as represented by our left hemisphere models alone. Flowcharts replace our abstract model contemplation with a lesser, dumber function than our motor automation. Simple rules replace the complex pattern matching hierarchies that recognize our world. Rather than targeting goals we just follow procedures that ignore the complex adaptive world in which we cannot exert rational control beyond mechanical steps. Rather than opening our eyes we close them and follow procedure.

What sense does it make to create software that ignores the human perspective? Could we function as a human with just a right or a left hemisphere? Could we function if the two hemispheres were not connected at all? Clearly not, while people tend to favor one or the other, everyone must use BOTH. The same is true for ACM and BPM, because with just BPM we lose our connection to reality and just a Basic ACM will be a nice to have but it won’t transform your company. Just BPM will not provide a productive, humane work environment and stifles innovation. Just ACM will help to organize ad-hoc and knowledge work, but how would you know what your goals are? While we do not need BPMS flowcharting except for basic manufacturing, we need left-brained modeling in the sense of a Business Architecture to make ACM work. ACM creates a real-world perspective and transparency on what is actually happening related to our goals. This is why I see an ACMS as the software engine of an embedded, goal-oriented BPM methodology – hence Strategic ACM.

And again, I like his conclusion:

In our brain the connector between abstract-left and real-world-right hemispheres is our conscious, emotional self. The connector between ACM and BPM is the HUMAN!

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Written by Dr. Martin Bartonitz in: english,process management | Tags: , , ,

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