Sustainably implementing a BPM role concept. Or how to innovate an industry process.

Credits for the awesome picture of port of Hamburg go to Michael Lindner.

The sustainable implementation of a process management role concept belongs to the fundamentals of an excellent process management in every organization. – But how can a sustainable implementation look like? 

We have discussed this question within the fourth edition of the !nside-ouT series. !nside-ouT is a regular exchange of people being responsible for process management in an organization located in the area of Hamburg. The exchange was initiated by Phanthian Zuesongdham from Hamburg Port Authority to share know how on process management and digital transformation. Thus, we would like to share our results even beyond the borders of our Hamburg network with you around the world. 

To do so, Phanthian and I have summarized the results in this article. Enjoy reading, we are looking forward to your comments. 

Discussing the status quo, we were surprised how many different process management roles we have defined in the various organizations. Some roles were created to be easily adoptable and fit to each organization. For sure, the Process Owner role exists in every organization, but the definition of the role itself differs in numerous ways. – If defined at all… 

In addition to the Process Owner role, a long list of additional process management roles such as Process Manager, Process Consultant, Process Auditor, Process Architect, Process Executor and many more exists. And their definitions vary as well. 

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It seems as if no common process management role concept exists or we are not aware of the existence. Thus, we started to identify the critical aspects of a process management role concept and agreed up on the following three points: 

  • At first, a differentiation between the roles working “in” the process (e.g., Process Executor) and the roles working “on” the process (e.g., Process Consultant) is necessary.  
  • As a consequence, a process of process management has to be defined to describe how working on the process should look like. It is an important component in a good governance of a process management system. 
  • In addition, accountabilities and responsibilities for process design on the one hand (e.g., Process Owner) and process execution on the other hand (e.g., Line Manager) should be defined and assigned. 

We also agreed up on the fact that the definition and assignment of the process management roles may have to be individualized to fit the different organizational requirements and their maturity levels with regards to process management. Despite this, we see a great potential in a standardized role concept which can be applied beyond the borders of one organization to manage a complete industry process across different organizations. 

The vision of a cross-company process management role concept may innovate the way we manage processes today.

As an example, to have a real end-to-end supply chain process with all its participants integrated into can lead to new possibilities to manage and improve the process in a holistic way. Thus, to have one end-to-end process from the manufacturer, through all logistic units involved, to the consumer opens up the opportunity to let the real experts talk on a process level instead of sales and purchasing or even C-level management. A detailed understanding of the whole process chain may lead to innovations and facilitate digital transformation in a bottom up approach. 

A specific example of this trend can be seen in the shipping and ports industry. A port call is a collaboration-intensive process and involve several organizations until a vessel is berthed. There are many initiatives discussing how port calls can be optimized and standardized in order to reduce costs and resources as well as to enhance the service quality. To achieve this, the stakeholder in shipping and port are collaborating by discussing the process based on process model with roles and activities. This helps all parties to understand the flows of different tasks in each of the organization. The optimization of the process can be easily identified, and the discussion is more focused. This resulted in the willingness of standardization and harmonization of processes and data sharing. The later is very crucial and pre-requisite for digital transformation of the industry.

To bring this vision to life, a universally applicable process management role concept with standardized roles which are still flexible enough to be applied by different organizations would be required. 

As a starting point, the “Framework for Assignment of Responsibilities (FAR+)” may close this gap. The concept was developed in a research project by University of Bamberg and Lufthansa Group and is now rolled out to the whole Lufthansa Group with all its small and large entities. 

Now, we are looking for volunteers to test a cross-company process management role concept to rethink processes even beyond the borders of one organization and – maybe – innovate an entire industry process. 

Are you interested? Please contact me or comment with “FAR+” to this article! 🙂


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