My three pieces of advice to push your BPM ahead

My three pieces of advice to push your BPM ahead

#009: While I was pushing BPM in the Lufthansa Group, I often came across challenges where I didn’t know how we should proceed. In this episode, I share with you my three pieces of advice on how to approach such situations.

In this episode, I share with you my three pieces of advice on how to push your BPM ahead.

In all the years I’ve been driving BPM at the Lufthansa Group, we’ve always come up with questions where we didn’t know how to move forward.

In some cases, the issue was the standardization of processes, in others the definition of the role of the process owner, and in others how to better link process with the organizational structure. And again and again, the question was how to get employees and management excited about processes.

Looking back, three approaches have worked for me and I’d like to share them with you. They are benchmarking, collaboration with universities and innovations created by the organization itself.

You’ll learn

  • How to solve your BPM challenges by:
    • benchmarking and learning from other experts
    • cooperating with universities
    • developing innovations on your own
  • How to apply these three approaches on your own

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Transcript

Please note that the transcript was generated automatically and only slightly adjusted. It does not claim to be a perfect transcription.

Mirko: Welcome to episode nine of New Process Podcast where we’re going to explore how to push your BPM ahead. So with New Process Podcast I’m on a mission to rethink processes, as you might know, but how can we do this? So what are the tools and methods to rethink processes? And this is not specifically about the human aspect only.

It’s about how to rethink, how to innovate or even disrupt in general. What are the methods and tools there? And yeah, it’s also a followup on the previous interviews with Michael Bögle from Lufthansa Technik and Daniel Beimborn from University of Bamberg. So with Michael we talked about how to lead 20,000 and more employees by processes and there, he gave some interesting advice on how to rethink processes. And, in the other episode, last one with Daniel Beimborn from University of Bamberg, yeah, we talked about how to get to the cutting edge of the BPM development with scientific academic research methods. And, this is what I’m trying to push even further with in this episode. And I would like to share my three pieces of advice with you on how to push BPM ahead and stay at the very front of the BPM development.

Throughout all the years, while I was working for Lufthansa Group and there driving the BPM development, I always felt a little bit challenged to be innovative myself. So to find new ways to inspire people for processes and to get the system up and running and accepted by employees and management.

Unfortunately, often I experienced situations where I did not really know what to do and how to do this. So questions like how to standardize processes, how to connect processes and organization. That was a huge problem, which we had to tackle somehow. How to define the role of a process owner. How do you define process indicators? Also another interesting topic there. And, how to involve the people into processes. just to name a few challenges or questions that we had there.

So we’ve spent a lot of time to develop our BPM approach there. But we reached several questions where we could not find real answers and so we thought about how to solve these problems from a methodological point of view and this is what I’m going to share with you today.

So here are my three pieces of advice on how to push BPM ahead, on how to solve these questions.

And the first advice is to perform benchmarking. Exchange with others and learn from other experts. So experts from cross industry areas or cross methodology. This is always interesting to go into other areas and to find out what you can learn from these experts there.

But before we go into the details, let’s recap what Michael Bögle from Lufthansa Technik said in the episode as his third advice to rethink processes.

Michael: The third advice would be: seek advice from those with experience and, somebody put down and, or set down once and put together the 10 golden rules, for polar expeditions. And I’m going to cite rule number two here. rule number two would be called, seek out the winners. We wouldn’t have made it without the aid of polar veterans and they in turn learned from veterans before them. Every true success is a mankind joint venture.

And I think that’s, that’s very good advice. Also in the context of business process management, go out and search for others, who already have some experience and engage in benchmarking as much as possible. We did that, in the very early stages of our BPM project, like I said, almost 20 years ago now, and came back with so many valuable inputs and we continued to do that, over the years. And even at a point where we thought we were far advanced, we usually found somebody that we could, learn from. sometimes of course you don’t just take it like everybody else, or like they do it, you have to adapt it.

But, I remember many examples where we said, that’s a good idea and that’s a good approach and we should implement that. And in many, many cases we did.

Mirko: And I can add that we even founded an association once to push benchmarking at the process management Alliance. Its purpose was to identify best practices in process management, and it was just our platform there to invite other experts from cross industries, to perform workshops to ask them how they are doing something and then to learn.

And finally, also to give back and share the results we organize several bigger conferences and invited there experts and discussed topics. So that was our way to perform benchmarking. But yeah, it doesn’t have to be by founding an association right away.

You can simply perform benchmark workshops. And I will give you an idea on how to do this. So a first step would be to invite experts from other areas, like other industries, other methods and so on, and then bring these people together and let everybody introduce their solutions, their approaches to tackle a specific topic, which is on the agenda for today.

And all the experts can introduce their ideas and you can ask questions afterwards and try to identify the best practices. or the good practices, which you would like to apply to your own world afterwards. And, this is how a simple benchmarking workshop could look like. So you don’t need real indicators, just get the people together, let them introduce their approach and try to get the good ideas and use these ideas for your own BPM system. It’s so easy. So just, find the people on LinkedIn and invite them.

Nowadays you can also do that online. So that’s really easy. You don’t have to invite the people physically, but it’s always nice to also have a facility tour as well. And to see how the people are really working in the workshops, for example. So that’s quite interesting. Yeah. if you can’t find experts on LinkedIn, feel free to contact me and I try to get you in contact with an expert, which might fit to your BPM related problem. So that’s my first advice: perform benchmarking.

My second advice is to do academic research. As we discussed in the episode with Daniel, there are different ways on how to do academic research and there I’m not only talking about hiring some interns like students and, use their, new, innovative ideas. This is always a good start to bring in other perspectives into what you’re doing there, but I would go even further with regards to academic research. Sponsor bachelor or master thesis to let students work on your problems in a real scientific way. Or like the example which Daniel gave us of the MBA project where two MBA students, which we’re already working in another organization, came to a company, asked for the problem and had a closer look onto this specific problem found solutions there, evaluated these and in the end presented the solution to the organization.

Or, I would say that’s more or less the highest level there, to start a joint research project with a university and, having a PhD student there, or a team of researchers working on the organizational questions, which the business brings into that project.

Before we go into the details on how a project could look like, let’s listen, how Daniel described this approach and the benefits in the last episode of the New Process Podcast.

Daniel: And in this case, we did not build some it or something technological, we built an organizational model, we built a governance framework. But this researcher, this is important here, he or she also has to leave one foot in the university. So this person needs to be connected to the department, to the institute and the university to remain in this research and publication cycle. Of course, they also want to do their PhD after a couple of years, but this creates a very intense human based, a people based link, knowledge link between university and companies. And we as universities can learn a lot and the companies can, I would say, from my perspective, benefit a lot from this.

Mirko: And I would like to give you some more ideas on how a project like this could look like. So it’s called action design research, and I was once, able to listen to a lecture on action design research. So doing research on how to do action design research. So that was really crazy, but I just try to extract the benefits out of, that lecture, how I understood the approach and how we did that in the past.

First you need a problem from the business. This is something, which then the researchers take and they try to develop a solution. Based on science or based on research. And, then this solution is taken into the business and tested and evaluated the results are published and discussed on conferences. And you take all this feedback then and go into the next loop and try to improve your solution. And then you test it and evaluate it again and you always communicate and make it as transparent as possible there. So that’s, basis of this research approach and it’s fun to do it like that.

Having a PhD student in the company, supporting you there also. Learning how academia is working, visiting these conferences, discussing the questions with other researchers from all around the world. That’s great. So I can definitely recommend thinking about cooperations like these doing action design research with the university there. So this is my second advice to do academic research.

My third advice is to push innovation. Really go into the topics on your own. But what is innovation? It’s somehow really easy. One definition for innovation is to solve problems in a new and better way. So you don’t always have to invent something completely new.

You can always use a good solution from another area and apply that to the problem you are working on. Innovations are always context sensitive and you just have to look out for ideas out there, for cool solutions, which you can then apply to your own topic. And this is already an innovation.

So you can do research and benchmarking as well as basis for pushing innovation, but in most important, there is, to do these experiments on your own and just do something. Look out for cross industry ideas, cross method experts, diversity, try to have a diverse team as possible to get different views onto the problem.

Also facilitate intercultural exchange there. Invite people from other countries to discuss your problem to innovate. And then perform experiments, try out new things and, see how this will help to push your BPM ahead.

So just to give you an example of what I am doing right now: I’m combining BPM on the one hand side and new work on the other hand to new process and therefore I even founded NewProcessLab.com and started this podcast. So that’s my platform to perform experiments. And I’m also doing these think tanks from time to time. So this will be, also an offer to you: If you would like to get new ideas, then feel free to participate in the think tanks, or just involve into the discussion on LinkedIn that is going on all the time.

And the New Process Podcast is also just an experiment from my point of view, to push BPM ahead and to innovate BPM. So by listening to the podcast, asking questions or contributing to the podcast, you can be part of this innovative process.

And that’s it. That’s my third recommendation to push innovation.

Again, these are my three pieces of advice to push your BPM ahead:

The first one is to perform benchmarking. So exchange with cross industry experts or cross methodology experts to find new ideas to, yeah, apply these to your BPM approach or to your process.

The second advice is to do academic research as we discussed it in the previous podcast episode with Daniel Beimborn. Not only by hiring interns, but really by starting cooperations with universities to work on or to research on your questions to find solutions to your problems there.

And finally the third recommendation is to push innovation yourself as well. So find new ways to solve your problems, perform experiments, and participate also in the exchange I am offering on NewProcessLab.com activities like a think tank or the Ask Mirko sessions here as well. Or just by continue listening to the New Process Podcast.

By the way, with regards to my advice number two, to do academic research, a short reminder on the call for cases which we issued in the last episode: if you think that you have a problem, which could be tackled in an academic way by research, then please feel free to hand that in, have a look into the show notes of this episode to learn more on how to hand in your cases there and there is a call for cases out there.

So that’s it for today. To give you an outlook, there are the first tool interviews coming up. And there are also interviews with cross method experts, which I’m planning. So stay tuned and thank you very much for listening, bye-bye and auf Wiedersehen.

By the way, as I already mentioned in the recap, so there are also ask Mirko formats within the New Process Podcast coming up. So if you have questions which you would like to hand in, then please go to NewProcessLab.com/askMirko and let’s see if I can find solutions to your questions there and we can talk about that on the New Process Podcast as well. So have a great day. Bye-bye.

 

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