Ian (Gotts) wrote an excellent post on Redux about monkeys, possibly one of the best corporate analogies I’ve read in a long while. But it makes a valid point. It is very easy to almost “indoctrinate” behaviour in people to the point they no longer question it but equally very hard to snap them out of it. BPM promises change at a fast pace, sometimes that pace can be aggressive because the Exec matra is often “ROI now!” and they expect it yesterday. And there appears to be a bit of a gap here because of it. BPM projects succeed because the people have been involved right from the start and change is introduced to them and they’re educated and taken through the journey from start to finish.

More often than not however change is used as a blunt instrument wielded by slap-happy management in the hope the numbers will stack up with the spend. This boils down to the maturity of understanding in the organisation of what BPM is about. Poorly executed programmes have little to no real understanding as to the “why are we doing this?” and “what are the benefits?”. I’ve come across one recently where the badge of “process champion” is handed out almost wholesale but there are no real responsibilities or understanding of what it means to ‘champion process change’, only that it’s the ‘done thing’ in a BPM programme.

So it’s almost as if the monkey analogy has started to creep into the BPM cycle itself, hindered and compounded by the lack of education for those who really need it. So whilst we’re scrabbling around to decide what Social BPM actually looks like let’s not forget about those who are still trying to figure out how to get on the first rung of the BPM ladder and perhaps focus some energy in helping them become as flexible as we keep promising they’ll be.