How Business Process Management Is Just Like Football

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Do you have a plan?  Do you have a strategy for success? Does every team member know his or her role in moving the organization forward to success?

BPM Parallels Football

Business is often compared to sports. It is an easy analogy because they both bring out the feeling of success and accomplishment. It is fairly rare though to compare football to business process management (BPM). However, when you truly consider the way great teams win football games and the benefits of BPM, you will find there are great parallels.

First, let’s discuss BPM and the reasons that it is implemented in organizations. In most cases, BPM allows a manager to ensure that every employee knows what he or she needs to accomplish to make the company successful. BPM catalogs a list of various activities that need to be accomplished and then distributes this workload among employees. It can further refine this work into sub-items and divide responsibility among employees or delegate some work to managers.

Football is fairly unique in sports in that nearly every player has a unique job responsibility, while also having the responsibility to help cover the assignment of teammates. Each lineman in every play has the responsibility to block a certain defender (or defenders) in an area. Every receiver and running back has the responsibility to run a certain path or block a certain defender. The quarterback has the responsibility to deliver the ball to a list of teammates, depending on the challenges coming from the defense.

Such are the challenges of running a business, except that most businesses are much larger than a typical football team. While football teams have 11 players on the field, your company may be fielding thousands. Do all the teammates, in every situation, know their role and responsibility? If something changes, does everyone know what to do next?

Ensuring No Responsibility Slips Through the Cracks

BPM helps solve the problem of change and what to do next. Whether it is orchestrated processes that can be automated with firm workflows or process descriptions and guidelines to give employees best practices, all teammates need to know their role in the play.

Imagine a football team that has no plays and no organization of roles. This would be similar to the backyard pickup football games that the neighborhood kids play on Saturday afternoons. Typically, the game is a constant flux of changing roles: quarterback, blocker, and receiver. In the end, the play results in pandemonium with a lucky “Hail Mary” pass that is just as likely to be intercepted as it is to result in a touchdown.

Would you prefer that your organization resemble the well-rehearsed football play? Do you want the quarterback to drop back five steps, look left, look right, and then fire a laser-like pass to the wide-open receiver for a touchdown?

Allow the modern BPM tools of today to make sure that everyone understands their role in the play. This is a goal you can achieve. Explore our Integration Maturity Model to learn more about the capabilities BPM can bring to your team.