When I hear people talk about the difference between IT and “the business” within the process space, they’re often only describing the difference between IT and business analysts. Anyone else doesn’t seem to be taken into consideration when running process initiatives.
“Business people” are anyone who works in your organization, or anyone who will be impacted by the initiatives you’re working on. Any successfully implemented business change or initiative needs to have buy-in and support from the people it affects most, which is often missed in the process world.
Ultimately, if the business is being ignored, end users, or the recipients of the initiatives, are being ignored. When stakeholders aren’t brought on board early enough in the process, failure is likely caused from lack of engagement.
“Ignoring” the users can mean different things. Either they are truly ignored and teams or small groups work in silos on process work, or it can mean not thinking enough about the way in which you are trying to communicate with a group.
Take a BPMN process for example. You may have spent hours on a small team analyzing what needs to happen and the way in which a process should be put together for a future state. It may be technically perfect and may be exactly what the business needs. But is BPMN really the right language for the business to be able to understand and contribute to the improvement of this process?
We make a number of assumptions when running these initiatives that are often wrong. The majority of the process world believes that BPMN is the answer in crossing the business—IT divide. My experience of working with customers is that this is not the case. BPMN is the bridge between the analysts and IT. It does a fantastic job at doing this, but trying to move this across to business end users is not the answer.
A large number of vendors use collaboration features within their applications to attempt to reach out to this audience. But what is the point of collaboration if the people involved don’t understand what they’re collaborating on? You end up with general apathy or resistance towards the hard work that you’re putting in as they will not feel engaged or empowered to help contribute to the final outcome.
Think about how many people in the organization will be affected by the process work that you are doing and then think about their skill set. The likelihood is that there will be a large set of that user base that would benefit from a simplified process that they can easily understand.
We spend so much time on these initiatives trying to force the business to think like process people, when it should be the other way around. The buy-in you will get from engaging the future users or recipients is invaluable. Their buy-in and adoption will be greatly increased if you’re able to communicate with them up front, help them collaborate in a language that they understand, and empower them to contribute towards the improvement of processes to ultimately lead to a more successful result.
Learn more about two audiences, two notations, and two tools here.