The book takes a holistic, organisational approach to BPM; automation via IT projects is rightly treated as one of only several possible mechanisms for change. In discussing this topic, the book also touches on a number of other business hot-topics, such as service-oriented architecture; process improvement frameworks such as Six-Sigma; compliance directives such as Sarbanes-Oxley; and outsourcing. Framework Jeston and Nelis provide a ten-phase framework to BPM and suggest ways of customising these to match the primary method of commencing a BPM project: a strategy-driven approach top down ; or an operational-initiative approach lower level. Organisational Strategy.

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Davenport Jeston and Nelis have given us a highly reasonable approach to the advocacy and implementation of process management. They not only simply and calmly lay out the principles of managing by process, but also present several in-depth case studies about organizations that have realized how important process management is to their success.

The answer is that it probably would. As they note in the first chapter, continuous improvement is well-suited for some leading firms, but not if you need rapid and radical improvement in your processes. This seems common-sensical, but it is all too rare in the process management world for leading thinkers to approve of multiple different approaches to process change. The insistence on a particular approach—be it Six Sigma, Lean, TQM, reengineering, or whatever your favorite—has probably been one of the reasons why process management in general has not developed as it should.

No particular approach to process management encompasses all of the methods, tools, and objectives that a large organization needs in managing its processes. Hence the synthetic, agnostic approach taken in this book is almost always best.

One last process management crime of which this book and these authors are not guilty is overengineering. Advocates of process management often believe that the world presents a great opportunity to be engineered and re-engineered. These people believe that a detailed process flow diagram is the answer to virtually every problem of organizational performance. Jeston and Nelis are not members of the over-engineering fraternity. They realize that organizations and their processes are comprised of people, and that process flows and maps—while undeniably useful—are only plans for how work should be done.

As with any sort of plan, getting people to actually follow a process is a matter of leadership, change management, and human culture and behavior. Read this book, implement these ideas, and you will be on your way to achieving these longsought yet entirely practical goals.


Book review: "Business Process Management" by John Jeston and Johan Nelis



Business Process Management: Practical Guidelines to Successful Implementations


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