Two BPM nerds on feelings, roles, standardization, and a big announcement
#037 Join us two BPM nerds talking about feelings, roles, standardization, and a big announcement
In this slightly different episode, I’m talking to Martin Holling for the second time. In addition to the topics that Martin and I have on our radar at the moment, Martin shares insights into his BPM journey at KEMNA BAU. And we delve into one of my favorite topics of New Process: the role concept. What are the important elements? And how can we distinguish between roles that work in the process and roles that work on the process? Let’s find out…
And, by the way, we are releasing a big announcement for the New Process community in the episode!
Martin is one of the New Process Podcast listeners who have listened to every single episode and he is a real BPM enthusiast. He has been working for Siemens in various Process Management positions in Siemens’ Energy sector for nearly 20 years. During that time, he developed and implemented a BPM framework that covered a lot of the New Process Principles.
After leaving Siemens, he worked as a Senior BPM Consultant for four years. Today, he is Head of Process Management at KEMNA BAU, one of the largest road construction companies and street infrastructure providers in Germany.
In parallel, he is offering his experience as a self-employed management consultant at living-processes.de
As much as time besides work and his family – he is married and has 3 daughters – allows, he is singing in a local choir and restoring a classic car together with his brother.
- What Martin and I have on our radar right now
- What Martin’s BPM journey at KEMNA BAU looks like
- How to differentiate between roles working in the process and on the process
- What the important elements of a BPM role concept are
- How to successfully approach a process standardization project
- What the big announcement for the New Process Community is
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Please note that the transcript was generated automatically and only slightly adjusted. It does not claim to be a perfect transcription.
Yeah, welcome to episode 37 of the New Process Podcast. Today it’s going to be something special. I invited Martin Hohling for the second time, so join us today us two BPM nerds talking about feelings, roles, standardization and there is going to be a big announcement within the episode. You may know Martin already from episode 34, where we reviewed all the tool interviews together. Martin is one of the New Process Podcast listeners who have listened to every single episode and he’s a real BPM enthusiast, just as me.
Martin has been working for Siemens in various process management positions in Siemens energy sector for nearly 20 years. After leaving Siemens, he worked as a senior BPM consultant for four years. Today he is head of process management at Chemnabau, one of the largest road construction companies and street infrastructure providers in Germany. In parallel, he is offering his experiences as self-employed management consultant at living-processesde. In this episode, you’ll learn what Martin and I have on our radar right now and that’s super interesting. Martin will tell you more about his journey at Chemnabau, how his BPM approach just looks like. There. We’re going to talk about how to differentiate between roles working in the process and on the process. We’re talking about what the important elements of BPM role concept are how to successfully approach a process standardization project and, as I already said, there’s going to be a big announcement for the new process community within the conversation. So enjoy this new episode with us, two BPM nerds.
Yeah, martin, welcome to our two BPM nerds series. Maybe it’s going to be a series, but at least it’s the second time that I’m allowed to welcome you here in the new process podcast. So welcome, martin. Thanks for having me.
Yeah, it’s always fun to nerd around on process.
Absolutely so, true. So, before we go into this nerd stuff and there is something on the agenda like BPM roles, what we would like to deep dive into what about emotions? So how do you feel today, martin?
I feel great, just like you, as we had our first in-person meeting just yesterday and also with some other nerds and some other BPM people from the Hamburg area here, and it was such an exciting and interesting meeting with people, some of them known each other, others knew all of them kind of part of the LinkedIn bubble, and it was so nice to just sit down and discuss something in person as well. So this is an energy for all the time coming. So I still feel kind of energetic about that and I think there was a lot of fun stuff that we had. I had a nice post this morning with a photo from the BPM Stammtisch, as we call it, and that kind of for my fellowship in there went viral already. So it’s like a thousand views already in one day. I never had that before, so maybe because I put enough people out of the process bubble and it was a German language post, maybe even that?
Yes, for sure it was. As we have a local German group of people there, I posted this in German to also invite other people that were not part of this meeting to maybe come next time.
Yeah, that’s very good, but we decided to keep this conversation here in English so that all the people out there can listen and enjoy or not enjoy what we’re talking about, so that’s not very good. I’m also still very excited about yesterday’s meeting and meeting you for the first time in person.
Yes, Although we only live like 10 kilometers apart or 15 kilometers apart, still normally you don’t have that time and the possibility to meet in person as often.
Exactly, and we just thought about having a beer and inviting some more people. So that was quite good.
That was it. It started with the idea that we maybe should meet someday and have a beer together, and well, it was not only a beer, but a nice dinner and a nice conversation with 10 people, so it was really good.
But for all the people out there, there is an opportunity coming up where we can meet in a bigger group in a bigger context in the future. So just a small cliffhanger for the later part of the episode. I’m already really curious about that. Okay, so what is on your radar right now? Looking back, we talked the last time here on the podcast in the tool episode, reviewing all the tool interviews. I think that was somewhere in June or July, actually.
We talked in June and it went online. Yeah, okay.
Then we had the summer break and now we are back. So what happened in between, besides your vacation?
Yeah, vacation was the only two weeks this year that I really didn’t think about processes at all, and that was really great. You need to have that all over the year sometime as well. Despite of that, for sure, not only the people we talked about or the tools we talked about in the podcast were contacting me, for sure, but also I got a lot of contacts, a lot of emails from other tool vendors, not only for BPM tools but for, like, somebody wants to sell the marketing tools for me, online marketing tools or whatever. Or even I got invited for discussing in some insurance panel. So I don’t know anything about insurance, despite of those that I have to have, so to say, but I don’t know why. So once you get visible somewhere, people start to just bother you, and I’m always mixing up all the emails in my inbox, so kind of like dividing the unneeded from the unwanted, and that’s interesting for sure.
Nevertheless, as I also stated in the tool episode of the podcast, we in Kemnabau, we are still at the very beginning of thinking about process management, so a tool is not yet on the closer radar for us, but for sure it’s interesting for me to see what’s on the market and what I can make and what I can use a tool for, and I’m always testing everything, so I like to do this and get a good overview of the market. But right now in Kemnabau, we are discussing more the government’s, we are discussing more the purpose, right as for new processes, also out of the team discussing why are we doing process management?
The CEOs they said we want to have somebody being responsible for process management and they hired me. And then I came around the corner and said, okay, now let’s start something. They said, okay, what do you want to do? So it’s interesting to see. Okay, I can really design some process management BPM setup. That could be very, very interesting, because there is not really so much there.
So let’s not call it a green field, it’s partially a brown field. So we have processes for sure, everybody has processes but we do not have a proper process documentation. We do not have a clear and unified notation on how we document processes. We even do not have a completely unified way of documenting our regulations. So for the auditors and the ISO 9000 audits or whatever, they always have to dig through every kind of stuff to get the information they want to and for sure we also get information from that side it might be nicer to have something that is more streamlined and more unified, so that’s easier to evaluate. So this is some things where we are really looking into and despite of this, we are heavily discussing roles, so also the difference between a process role and an organizational role. That’s hard for them because they only think in organizations, they do not really think in processes, and that they are learning this right now, saying, okay, yes, I’m part of the mechanical technical department and in my area we have to deal with purchasing. We have to deal with all the building equipment, all the machinery and all this kind of stuff, and that buying machinery is a kind of end-to-end process investment and purchasing decisions and maybe frame contracts with machinery vendors and all this kind of stuff until you have the machinery in house and you are kind of putting it into the inventory and then you have to make sure that it is depreciated in the right time frame and all this kind of stuff. So it’s much more than just asking somebody can you sell me a digger or kind of a big semi-truck or whatever. And they are learning that there is more on this in processes where they just don’t really realize that the organization helps them. So they have to work together with all the others with accounting and with quality and with technology, and all these departments have to work together with the purchasing department to really make sure that in the end we have something that we can use.
So it’s in the start, it’s in the beginning and process roles. So it’s something where I, from my perspective and from my past as well, always know that if you are able to describe and to explain it to the people in a way that they understand it, they are able to adapt them. Yeah, absolutely, they can start thinking in those roles. And that’s the first starting point of, instead of thinking in organizations, thinking in processes, and this is kind of the metrics thing. So organizations are vertical, processes are horizontal and this comes up with a metrics thing, and then all those knots between the vertical and the horizontal lines. Then really are the interesting things and you have to think about okay, there is a knot, what is happening here, who is doing it, where is he allocated in the organization and how is he connected to the process. When they start thinking about that, they start understanding that we need to establish process walls next to the organizational walls. I think we are at the tipping point for that understanding. Now they start to understand it.
It took me half a year to discuss with the people, for example, the head of the machinery inventory department. He said, okay, we have to fulfill all the regulations for health and safety and transportation security and all this kind of stuff in our machinery. We have somebody in each of our locations responsible for that, to do that. I came to him and said okay, you have to, as the process owner for the machinery inventory, do have to define what the people have to do. He said, yeah, yeah, I do it for the headquarters, that’s why I do it. The others I can’t tell because they are doing it in the other locations. I said, yes, but you have to tell them what they have to do. You don’t have to do it there, but you have to tell them what they have to do and how they have to do it.
It took me half an hour with a very competent, highly skilled and already, I think, 30 years in the company department head to make him understand the difference between the implementation of the process in the field and the definition of the process and the headquarters. Yeah, exactly, that sounds so familiar. We mean that he is the process owner and the people in the field. We call them implementation owners. They are implementing the process and they can give feedback. Right, Then they can align the process and make sure that we do it the same way everywhere.
Because we had an EHS audit finding in one of the audits in one of the locations where they said okay, not all the needed regulation is documented for this one car and you have to deliver and you have to make sure that the process is okay. Thing is that if you’re not doing it right, if you’re not following all those regulations for transport security and for health and safety, the department head or even the process owner or even the CEO can be going to jail in the worst case. Yes, exactly, it’s very harsh. You have to think about it really deeply and really have to manage that you are understanding what are the different roles, what’s the tasks, how do we link it, how do we align it? How do we make sure that everybody does it the same way and that everybody does it exactly how it is documented in the regulations?
Yeah, let’s take the opportunity and dive even deeper into this topic of process management role concepts, because it’s one of my favorite topics at all, besides modeling and standardization and the human-centric aspects, especially with regards to the role concept. For me, it’s super important to assign these roles to the people, to make them visible, because often, as you said, people like process owner or in the world the concept I’m using we have the role of a process architect and I can elaborate on that in a few minutes or seconds, but this role is so important and normally this person is not seen by the organization and that’s a huge problem because the real experts are not there, they are not known and they are not visible. So that’s from my point of view, especially from a human-centric perspective, so important to nominate these people, to make them visible, to put their names onto the process displays, for example, so that when the people explore the process documentation they see the names where the experts went to contact and so on.
That’s a very important part there, absolutely, actually, the process roles. The knitting point is the connection for the people and the process issue. When you talk about human-centric process management, you have to be very careful and very accurate in defining the roles, pointing the right people to the right roles and making sure that it is well communicated and known to everybody all around the company, all around the organization. One of the big things is really to make the people understand that position in the organization and the organogram is not a process role by itself, but the process role has to follow different setup ideas than the organizations. This is a little bit of a. It’s specifically for a kind of like our company, very old, very conservative. This is a culture change. People have to start thinking differently. Don’t go 100% with the organization. It’s important that you know how the people are kind of put together organization-wise, but when you think about how to work together, you have to think about a part processes and you have to think about okay, in the process we have process roles. We, the people in the company, are working in our processes and therefore we have clear roles defined in the process. Who is doing what?
I was always trying to come, with HR into a conclusion to say, okay, in the end, a job description for a position in a company should be kind of the combination of all the process roles that this person that will fill this position in the company has to fulfill, all the process roles that they have to work in.
So to say, when you are really accurate in documenting all the process roles, defining all the process roles, a job description fulfilling your organization is kind of an easy spin-off because you have all the information available. You just mix it together. This is one position that we need to fill. We do not have a person in this position, we have to find somebody. This is all the tasks or processes that this position has to work in. To all those tasks and processes we can kind of match skills to this. Then we can say, okay, we need somebody that has to have kind of economical skills, technical skills whatsoever. It could be very easy. So a good starting point to establish process roles in an organization that does not think about roles other than those hierarchical organizational roles is do it together with HR.
Yeah, actually I’m just a mapping process with a customer, with the HR department. So for the HR department that’s super interesting to differentiate between positions and roles. As you said, when we’re talking about roles working in processes, then often a number of these roles is executed by one position. That’s really important, yeah.
Yeah, that’s it Actually when it comes to process management. As I’m trying to establish something very new and very basic here to make the people an easy start, I have decided to minimize the number of roles, so saying, okay, we will have a process owner, for sure, we will have a process manager. That’s me. There will be one process manager for the whole company because I am the process owner for the process management process. But actually that’s the process manager.
The process architects are, for us, the process experts. So I tell, okay, we have in each process we have people that are expert and what are we doing inside the process? They are helping the process owner to define the process in the right way and they are also the main context for any continual improvements. So when there is an improvement idea for a process, we have to discuss it with the expert. The process owner in the end has to kind of Sign it off. Sign it off and approve the idea and then say, okay, this is my process and I say this is how we’re doing now as an improvement for the process, but the work will come from the experts. And then this is the three roles we have the owner, the expert in the processes me as kind of the umbrella function to really keep it all together and the users in the process.
And, for sure, as I mentioned, as we have 2,200 people in 75 locations in the northern half of Germany, meaning that we are not always easy to come together everywhere to implement a process, so we have location-wise implementation.
So there will be somebody appointed for each process in each location to say okay, you are kind of the right hand of the process owner and you are implementing the process that the process owner has defined or has kind of approved. You’re implementing it in your location. Most of the time, I would say it is the same person that also is the process expert for that process in that location. However, this is, for sure, sometimes a discussion that we have to take about hierarchical things, because owning something, kind of managing something in our very conservative company means that you have to at least be kind of a department head or something like this. So again, the discussion yes, hierarchically, saying okay, process-wise, we do not need to stick to the department heads because we want to have improvements also implemented and work done. So you need to really get the experts that know what to do in the process also into the game.
Yeah, so true, and I can completely map what you just explained to the concept I’m using. Just to summarize that very quickly I think that was already an episode last year where I introduced this role concept, so I put the link into the show notes. But first step is, before we even talk about process management roles, to differentiate between the roles in the processes, as you said, like Purchaser or HR, business Partner as a role, for example, and so on. So these are the roles working in the processes, and then we have the roles working on the processes you mentioned process owner, the process architect, process manager and so on. This is often already something which is really hard to grasp from a lot of people that we have this meta level there.
That’s also why we say all the people working in the process we have given, give them a role named process user. For sure, that’s the Purchaser, that’s the Accounter, that’s the Fleet Manager and whatsoever, but they are process users in the end and we are not so many people in our company. So most of the time the most knowledgeable process user is the process architect. We will always have a combination of roles.
Yes, exactly, I’ll pick up the role in a few seconds. So that’s the first important aspect from my point of view to differentiate between roles in the process and roles working on the process. And then, when we talk about the process management, roles working on the process. There a differentiate between process design on the one hand side, that’s where we have the process owner as the core role, the one who is accountable for the process design, and that person is then supported, for example, by a process architect who is taking over the responsibility for designing processes. That’s the real expert, knowing all the nitty-gritty details of the process and also being skilled in managing and improving the process. So that’s the architect in my concept. And there we also have the role of the process manager, because often the process, as you said, is executed at different locations, like inventory, for example. If you have different inventory locations, then you need someone on site as a contact person, not the head of the location, because that’s only the one being accountable for the execution of the process. We need a person who really knows the process and who can talk to the people and is a counterpart for the architect, who’s often centrally nominated and can talk to the process owner and so on. So that’s, in my world, the process manager. So we have a lot of process managers on site, often taken over by one person, the different roles for different processes, but that’s important on the design side.
And then, in addition to the design responsibility in this concept, we have the execution responsibility, and that’s basically the role of the line manager, the person who leads the people that are executing the processes. And this is what most of the people know from the past. So I’ve always been the head of this department. I’m the line manager. I tell my people what to do and how to do it. But when we are talking about standardized processes, we want to have just one process design, but this is executed at different locations. Then not all the heads of the different locations can be the ones designing the process, tell the people how to do it, and that’s why we can centralize that with the role of the process owner. So we have one design for the whole company and this is then executed at different locations, and for this execution part, we always have the line managers being accountable. So that’s basically the idea.
I think I have to dig into this again and fine tune the idea of the process owner and the implementation owner, to fine tune this with the design and execution part and to give them the clear explanation of those roles, because it is kind of matching with the ideas that we are having right now in how to set up the process management roles and the process roles in Camel.
Yeah, Okay, that’s super interesting. We did a lot of research on this. The concept was developed in cooperation with the University of Bamberg. We published the concept and introduced that at several conferences. We implemented it in different organizations and yesterday there was a colleague who has been working for Lufthansa in the past as well and he knows this role concept very well because he was in the purchasing department, being the process architect for a number of purchasing processes. He left the company and he’s now working for a small startup with about 40 employees and there he applied this concept and yesterday he told me Mirko, I’m using what you told me, what you teach me or taught me in the past, and it really works, even for the small company, and that’s super cool to have this there.
I’m really right now trying to scale down because most of my experience in process management is also really big companies, like actually talking about process management for 400,000 people. You have a for each process, you have a number of process owners and process experts and all this kind of stuff, and you can easily distinguish between all the different roles, because you will always find a new head for a new role. And right now, in a smaller company like we are right now with only 2000 people, and then they’re very highly diversified. They’re integrated into those 75 locations. So the location wise, we’re talking about roughly 50 to 100 people max per location, some a little bit bigger, some a little bit smaller. So it is always one person having a lot of roles. Yeah, yeah, that’s true, it’s just normal.
and then it’s important that the differentiation between the roles is there is understood, is visible and the people really can say when and how they have to change their heads.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that’s true, and what I can recommend there is to really communicate and train the people to understand the role concept and to know, okay, there are different roles which I can execute as one person. For example, I did that often with this pizza game. So basically, what you learn with the game is how process roles in the process really work, because there are different roles and so on. But if you play that in different groups, you suddenly have different locations, so different instances of the process.
There is still one process design which is now executed by one group and another group and they can try to optimize their execution, and then they have to talk to the process owner to convince him okay, we want to change the process because we think this and that is better if we change the design here and there, and then the process owner has to make sure that it also fits to the other locations, to the other teams. I have to train them. So it’s super interesting to use this gamified approach to train also process management roles, and I really enjoyed these games in the past, so that’s one thing I can recommend.
Sounds great fun.
Yeah, definitely it is. And then afterwards you can have a pizza and a beer. Perfect world. Yeah, for sure.
No, actually we are also working on this, really communicating and training the people into those new ideas and roles. In our company it’s very, very clearly divided between the different branches we have and between the headquarters, with all the management and support processes and the operational processes more or less only executed in the locations. We have the road construction locations, we have the query locations where we really harvest the stones, so to say. We have the asphalt production locations where we use all the raw material to create the asphalt that the road construction locations will then put on the road. So they all have different operational and main processes and for sure, the responsibility for those processes or the process ownership will probably not lie within the headquarters, but there has to be either a committee or kind of the best or the strongest process owner out there will be the process owner for all of them.
But then that’s then where my role comes into play. I will be the one orchestrating these when we have 25 different road construction locations, to bring them all under one process, because a road is still a road, no matter if it’s done in Western Germany, northern Germany, eastern Germany or wherever. So the process should in the end more or less be the same, but you can tell today that people are working differently in those different areas, in those different locations. Also because the company is kind of bought together by a lot of smaller road construction companies that had been bought into the corporation to make kind of the bigger company we are today. So this is also why process management comes on the table, because over the last 10 years the company has grown in doubled in size, but mainly by buying other companies, meaning buying in other process variants. Yeah, absolutely.
I can imagine that’s going to be a lot of fun in the future, because I did a lot of standardization workshops in the past, so bringing the people together, identifying best practices and agreeing on the standard which then can be rolled out and so on.
Right, actually, right now, really, it is the task to bring them together and say, okay, we are all doing the same thing, but we are not doing it in the same way. Let’s figure out what is the best way to do it on all those different variances. We are actually running this process. Then let’s try to agree that the best way, the common sense of the best way of this process, would be the standard process for us, and then we can figure out how we are wanting different variances. For sure, a company that has 250 people, a road construction company, will probably run a different variant of the process the same process than a company that only has 20 people.
Yeah, that’s true. What we did there is we used a I don’t know how is that called a morphological box? I think it’s product development tool which we used to put all the puzzle pieces of the process together. And then we talked about the best practices of the different locations and we put all the best ideas together into a new process. So it was not in the end that we had this one single process from that one big company dominating all the others, but they built their new process together, bringing in all the cool local ideas.
Right and actually the thing is and that’s a little bit of a problem because we do not have a constant data basis but the idea of process mining would really be to use the data of all the different locations running in the same process to figure out which of those processes is running well and which is not. So actually, I would say when we are having 25 road construction locations running the same road construction process, we max should have 30, 40 variants of a process. But if you ask even if we would have all the data available and we ask the process mining companies, they come up with okay, we have 100,000 process instances for this process. We will not have that much. But just thinking about it and that’s my experience with process mining, when I was process owner for an IT incident management process and they were looking at the incidents of three years, 250,000 lift incidents. So they had 250,000 process instances and the process mining company came up with okay, now we have 75,000 variants. Yeah, great. And what does this tell us? This does not tell us anything, because we have made up 75,000 piles of process instances with each like between two and 10 process instances. That’s not variants, that’s kind of for sure. The process will run different if I have a problem with a Lenovo laptop or a Dell laptop, because probably hardware will influence also the incident. And yeah, but this is not the process variant.
So we were starting to figure out, together with the process mining company, what are the allowed variants from the standard, from the best practice or process or whatever. From the happy past wonderful, wonderful word what are the allowed variants that we will allow for a happy past and try to figure out. Okay, this kind of variant we can put together in one box that is a process variant. So kind of like 1,000 different process mining variants is one process variant in real. So in the end we came up with 75,000 process variants from the process mining company.
We came up with 18 different IT incident management processes process variants, so to say, because it was working with a high sophisticated ticket system, everything was database and all streamlined and also a lot of locations all over Europe and all this kind of stuff.
And for sure in the process mining if the incident was written down in Czech or in German or in Swedish or in English. These were all different variants of the process, but it doesn’t help in improving the process by using the results of a process mining. So there is for the process mining as we see it today from my experience there is still a lot of work involved to get into the real needed numbers of process variants that you have to define and that you have to document in a way saying OK, the process will run this way or this way or that way and if it doesn’t run one of these ways it’s not running right and for sure. That’s very much dependent on the structure of the company, on the process itself, how many and how much difference we have in those variants. And, as I said, for us, we are having world construction locations with 20 people, we are having world construction locations with 200, 300 people and they will probably have a different variant of the same process because of size.
Yeah, that’s true. And then you need to identify the real experts, to bring them together, and so on, right.
And you have to figure out, we have to figure out OK, do we need to bring together the process experts per location, making 25 of them for 25 different world construction locations, so to say, and bringing them all together? Or can we kind of group it and maybe because the smaller the group, the better the chance that you get to a result? If you do it on your own, you will not get to a result. If you’re doing it with two, three people, it might not be the complete overview, but if you’re doing it with 25, you will never get to an information Perfect.
before you start, explain to all the people what you’re going to do to make it as transparent as possible, invite them to participate, offer on-site online participation or just following the results, commenting and so on, so that the people can bring in their ideas even if they are not part of the workshops. Yeah, yeah, wow.
I’m actually preparing a workshop for all the regional CFOs that have to report every quarter how they managed the last quarter or what did the work go as planned, what is the plan for the next quarter, what is the plan for the complete year? And this we want to standardize as well, because right now, each quarter we have 17, 18 of those regional groups that are reporting this, and we get 15 different reports containing the same information, but all for sure made up differently. And for the CEO, for the group of CEOs for sure, it’s a little bit tricky when you have 18 calls, 18 meetings in two weeks and you have to custom yourself in more or less every of those meetings to a new format of the same report. This is, for sure, also kind of not easy. So, but this is because of the regional locations where, most of the time left on their own, you can do what you want. This is what you have to report and do it as you like.
And now we are bringing together, at least we are inviting all 18 of those CFOs of those regions to come together and define the standard. This will be done beginning of November probably, and then we will define the standard and from next year on, everybody has to report the same way, so it will be always the same report and you will only see different data. And then this is yet just to tell you how conservative we are. This is yet based on something that has to be done in a way that we can also put it on paper, meaning that for each of those meetings, the CEOs get a binder of 30, 40 pages of paper to have a look at it, to be able to write down their notes with a pen on their teeth. Yeah, actually this is right now the status, but we are preparing it in a way that we can, kind of through the back door, make this more and more digitalized.
So, in the end we will just prepare everything digitally and then for the meeting we hit the print button and the binders printed for the CEO and he can have it if he wants and everything else will be running digitally. But this is because it’s an old and conservative company that really will only embrace change in very small steps and slowly.
You just have to go those small steps, yeah, but that’s normal, and I think that’s often the case in many companies out there.
Right and most important really is that you take the people with you, that you don’t lose them on the way. If you are doing a big over leap, you will probably lose 80, 90% of the people and you can crawl back and do it again. And just think about doing the smaller steps, making sure that each step you have still everybody with you and then you can prepare for the next step. It’s much easier in the end. It will take longer probably, but it might be much more effective in the end because you will not have to explain it again and again, and again and again and then you go back and explain it again because half of the people you lost Exactly yeah.
And then you have to get a core of the human-centric approach to think about the people. This often takes a little bit more time in the beginning, but it will definitely speed up in the end, as soon as the people understood what is going on.
I feel right now that I get more and more people on my side in the discussions, meaning that I have all around the company I have right now people that did understand my intention, how I want to go on, what I want to achieve, and are now kind of ambassadors for process management everywhere where they go and say, oh yeah, but we have a good idea and Martin is kind of running the initiative, centralized and aligned with this. So people are coming from around the corner to me that have not been in contact with me before saying, yeah, I heard that you are doing this and that and I have an idea. So it’s kind of self-propelling, starting to self-propell a little bit better.
That sounds very good, martin. Thank you for sharing all these insights of your BPM journey at Chemna. As I already said in the beginning, there is something which I would like to share which is on my radar right now. So we had this in-person meeting yesterday and I think it’s time for the overall, the bigger linked in new process podcast, bpm bubble out there to meet in person. So there are so many cool people out there which are commenting, which are posting, sharing their own experiences or just and I heard there is a huge number of people just reading what is going on or just listening without bringing in their ideas right now to meet in person. And that’s why I think I already talked about that last year, but now we already booked a location for next year.
So there is going to be a new process conference in April next year in the area of Frankfurt, so middle of Germany. So it’s easy to reach, even by aircraft. There is a shuttle from the airport to the conference hotel. It’s the Lufthansa training conference center in Seeheim, which I really love, and I have a lot of memories to this location which I’m going to share there as well. I would like to share these experiences with the community, bring the community there together. So we booked a space for 100 people. We’re going to communicate the how is it called? Save the date in parallel to publishing this episode, and maybe you will also be able already to buy tickets from that point of time on. We’re still working on that because there are some organizational issues with regards to the pricing, but we’re working on that and I would love to meet more people of the new process community in person in that location. So that’s what I’m working on right now and I’m really excited to share this. Should I even announce the date here? Maybe we can do that.
If you any, I want to save the date once this episode goes on, exactly.
It’s the 17th and 18th of April next year, so 20, 24. I have already blocked my time.
Perfect. Yeah, that’s super cool. So, besides having a beer in the afternoon and delicious food and food there is really first class yeah, that’s super good, and I really love going to Zeheim for not only the food, but that was all the reason to go there. We also try to convince you with content. So we haven’t decided upon the topics right now. Maybe we’re going to discuss some of the topics with the community during the next weeks, but there will be something like a bar camp as well, where the community, the participants, can bring in their topics. We’re thinking about having a live podcast in the afternoon. So I think it’s going to be a lot of fun, even just meeting the people, but there will also be interesting content. So that’s on the agenda and I’m really excited about that.
Yeah, yeah, me too, me too, for sure it’s a must go, yeah exactly, so save a little bit of your budget for this event as well. That’s very cool. So, looking into the future what is on your list right now with regards to the future? What topics are you interested in? What are you exploring right now?
Yeah, actually, besides the fact that I’m on the very basics in our company about BPM, I’m always looking at what is coming out in other technology areas and other areas and what is the research doing and all this kind of stuff. So for sure, over the past weeks I think everybody was kind of linked to the artificial intelligence discussion somehow, and how to bring this into business process management is very, very interesting. As we already discussed partially in our tool podcast, there are tool vendors out there already that are trying to integrate AI for creating new ideas or improvement ideas for a process. They’re even already starting to make AI create the process models from kind of prompting it to the AI. So it is really interesting what is going on there.
And with the very basic and the free of charge chat GPT version, I also did kind of a test to reverse engineer a process model from the XML file that chat GPT creates out of a process description that I have given a term. So that’s also on my LinkedIn channel. That is really a fun thing that I did there. That did not end up too well because of the fact that the XML and the BPM and tools are designed to go from the graphic model to the code and not to go from the code to the graphic model. Meaning that the code is limited in all those interesting parts that we as the people want to see in a process model. Meaning it’s hard to bring XML code to a stage where it automatically creates all the swim lanes, creates all the lines in the right ways together and also aligns the single parts of the model in the right ways.
So, thinking about what Kevin Tan always said processability means that you have to really have a nice and good, visible flow and easy to read flow in the model. This is for sure all, not part, of the XML code. And so if you make chat GPT, create an XML code that the real, then handover to a BPM and tool to create the graphical model out of it, you will end up with all the input, all the content that you need to have in the model. But for sure you will have to rearrange every single item and you have to draw line and you have to add that, you have to add roles and all this kind of stuff.
So, yes, partially it is possible, even with just doing it by the things that are available for free, but you have to still put work into this, and so this is very interesting to see how the BPM tools are kind of creating the graphical models of the process by using AI. But they will probably not go the way that I did from description to code to model but for they will probably go directly from description to model and then, like every other BPM and tool, from the model to the code, because the code in the end is just for the machines to be able to optimize the process in the end, and for the people it’s important to have a good and well readable process model. That’s much more important. So most probably, the tool vendors will go from AI directly to graphical model and the code will again, like always, be kind of something that comes out automatically if needed. But this is a very, very interesting development, definitely.
I already thought about asking Benjamin Duant for a second interview to even deep dive more into this, or maybe there are other experts out there who already experimented more with chat, gpt and BPMN and so on.
Yes, and how about your contacts with Oliver Zeller from Symbiote? Yeah, that’s true, I always you need to get him in. I have been in discussion with him a lot about the AI implementation they have and that’s different to the one that we have seen with IO and Glue, and it’s very interesting to look at that as well.
So, oliver, we have to look into our calendars. I think we rescheduled it three times already and maybe we’ll make it to find a date to have the tools to look at the.
I would like to see that and go into a deep dive with that as well, because for me it looks pretty promising what they have there.
Okay, cool, so that’s perfect. I think, martin, that’s enough of nerd stuff for today, so thank you so much for being my for the second time. Maybe we’re going to continue this conversation in the future, deep diving into other topics.
Maybe the people should really comment if they like it, because I enjoyed it very much. I think there is a lot of nerdy stuff that we can discuss in this kind of format every now and then, so just give us the opinion on how do you feel to have this Perfect.
That’s great. So, martin, again thank you so much. Have a great day. Bye-bye, I think you same.
Let’s recap today’s new process inspiration.
Yeah, I hope you enjoyed the conversation with Martin as much as I did. As a recap, I just want to point out two things today. So, first, if you’re interested in the new process role concept we talked about, I can recommend to listen to episode three of the new process podcast, where you can learn how to bring new process to life. So this also includes an explanation of the new process role concept having process owners, process architect, process managers on the one hand side, as well as the line manager within the execution responsibility, so to differentiate between these two worlds of design and execution and so on. So this is what I’m going to explain in episode three and you can also have a look into the toolbox on newproslapcom. Simply go there, click on to toolbox and navigation, or go to newproslapcom, then go to the next toolbox. Second and I’m really excited to announce that, and I said that in the intro in the conversation itself so we will have the chance to meet in person in 2024. Finally, at the new process conference. So to summarize all the important information, the date is the 17th and 18th of April 2024. We’ll meet at Lufthansa Training and Conference Center in Zeheim. Zeheim is about 50 kilometers south of Frankfurt. There is a direct bus shuttle from the Frankfurt Airport to the conference hotel, and we’ll not only meet and have a beer and delicious food there, there will be also as we already said in the conversation content. So the agenda is not finalized yet, but we’ll have a lot of topics to rethink processes there on site. So we’ll talk about community building, gamification. I’m quite sure that there will be a blog about BPM and artificial intelligence and some other nerdy BPM stuff. For sure. Now we’re also planning to have a bar camp. So that’s a format where you can bring your own topics to discuss them with the community, to get ideas, to exchange your experiences and so on, and I’m planning to have a live podcast recording in the evening and also some other fun events in the evening too exchange with BPM and artificial intelligence, just like you and me. So the only problem is we have only 100 seats available and best thing you can book your tickets now by going to newprocesslabcom slash conference. So on the website there is all the information which is available right now. It’s not only the announcement of the date. Today you can actually buy tickets starting today and there is a very special offer for the first registrations available. So just go to newprocesslabcom slash conference and make sure to grab one of those limited tickets, and then we can finally meet in person next year in Zeheim.
Yeah, have a beer, talk about BPM stuff and get some new ideas on how to rethink processes. Oh, I’m really excited. Yeah, perfect. So in the next episodes we’ll have interviews on process modeling methodologies, practical examples of process mining and automation, as well as experts from other disciplines to rethink processes. They are all in the pipeline. We are heavily working on these episodes and I’m really looking forward to share these insights with you. So now, thank you very much for listening. Have a great day. Bye-bye and auf Wiedersehen.
Before you leave no, no, no, don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about the conference again here. Just for you, if you’re new to this podcast and you would like to learn how to start to rethink your process, then I can offer you to download my free new process checklist, which provides a lot of ideas on how to push your process to the next level. To download it, just go to newprocesslabcom slash checklist. So have a great day. Bye-bye.