We have a lot of discussions about the role of business process management (BPM) in enterprise management these days. I believe that BPM has no meaning without a variety of tools, such as process models, rules engines, activity monitors and business analytics. But I also think that BPM initiatives cannot succeed without deliberate governance. Formal governance ensures that BPM focuses on the sustainability of enterprise processes rather than application of individual technologies.


Visual management is of particular interest in this context, as the following example shows.  You certainly remember Forrester’s Lean Business Technology maturity for BPM governance matrix. Transformed into as a multi-choice questionnaire the matrix becomes a powerful governance tool.  Business process executives can use this tool to identify the constraints that hamper BPM in the enterprise and determine where to improve next and why.  The following Figure illustrates the results of a real business assessment, where we used the matrix.


The green dots show the evaluation of the IT executive team, the red dots that of the business executives. By visualizing the results the executives identified the alignment gap between business and IT and a few critical issues related to the set up of the value management, waste management and demand management processes. IT executives were surprised to hear that business perceives IT’s orientation as reactive, in particular after they made strong efforts to deploy a new enterprise platform in time and budget. The common understanding of the situation helped both groups quickly zero in the issues and agree on the most important improvement actions.