Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Project management vs. process manage...

Project management vs. process management

Ayalew Kassahun raised an interesting question on the LinkedIn BP Group
For many it may be weird to imagine a world in which no distinction is
made between projects and processes. However, I think that every
process instance is a mini project. ... Just for sake of discussion I would suggest that it is more appropriate
to make no distinction between project and process management. In such
a world what will then be the consequences on management,
specifications and tools?

Firstly, I think that distinctions between process and project are hard to make outside the toolsets that attempt to specialise.

My interest is in business process management toolsets and I have been following much of the discussion about BPMN, BPEL and how the process model should end up being 'executed'. I am convinced that there is a need for a specification of the process that endures from the business idea through to technical execution of an instance of the process.

If we merge the concepts of process and project, I can see some real benefits in the process design world. For example, some analysis and modelling of the process can be done at the instance level rather than engineering a highly complex general model which attempts to deal with every possible eventuality. This alone has the benefits of redeucing impact of process design bottleneck and allows for a common way of dealing with business activities leading to common reporting, management. We would no longer have to treat activities differently if they were being handled through a PMO or through BAU.

However, in the BPM world, the toolsets are not very mature and some radical rethinking would have to take place.

Because the instance of a process/project could change during its life, then tools that do not have a tight relationship between model definition and execution will really struggle to deliver. The executing process will need to be changed through the business expression and not through some programmer intervention. So I would expect the run time BPM system to be executing a development of BPMN rather than a transformation in BPEL,JAVA or whatever.

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