6 Sigma and BPM

Due to the intrinsic role that BPM plays as a methodology for many companies, BPM is the key success factor to achieve continued improvement of mission critical processes that cover the entire organization. It naturally is also highly susceptible to be combined with a whole set of other disciplines and methods, as the following examples shows.

Becker, Kugeler and Rosemann (2001) created a lifecycle model for BPM that covers specific project phases, spanning the process automation project creation and the resulting charter itself, process analysis, its optimization, implementation and measurement, in turn enabling continued process improvements, which can be seen in the figure below. These phases have been tightly linked to the 6 Sigma model for process improvements, known as “DMAIC” (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control), summarized and published by Paul Harmon in 2007.


Figure 1 – BPM lifecycle (based on Becker, Kugeler, & Rosemann, 2001)

A unifying approach for 6 Sigma’s DMAIC and BPM’s lifecycle, taking into account objectives, methods and risks could represented as shown in the following matrix:

6 Sigma Step in the BPM lifecycle Objectives Methods Risks
Define. Process definition. Identify the process priority, BPM initiative owners, goals and metrics. BPM initiative owner objective matrix. SWOT analysis. Interviews, meetings and workshops with all involved process users. Mistakes during process scoping. Lack of knowledge regarding the current process ecosystem. Lack of technical and operational understanding from the end users’ side.
Measure. Modelling of the current process (as-is). Document the current process. Distribution of process knowledge and achievement of a shared understanding regarding the current situation. Identify weaknesses. Process model simulations.Modeling notations. Interviews and workshops. Gap between the modelled current process and the real current process. Loss of information due to ineffective communication and/or excessive knowledge-handoffs. Incomplete process design.
Analyze. Analysis of the current process (as-is). Discovery of the process objectives, its restrictions and limitations. Risks. Costs. Added values. SWOT analysis.6 Sigma analysis. Scenario and requirements analysis of the BPM initiative owners. Cost based analysis. Analysis of causal factors. Interviews and workshops. Unrealistic and/or misaligned expectations of the BPM initiative owners, exceeding the project limitations. Deficiencies in the applied analysis model and process knowledge is limited to only a few individuals.
Improve. Improvements to the process as a result of implementing BPMS platforms and BPM process solutions. Definition of the enhanced process to-be within the boundaries of the projects’ triple restriction (time, budget, quality/scope). Decreasing risk factors and surfacing process innovations. Interviews, workshops. Derived from the analysis of the existent processes and their activity patterns. Comparison and reviews against reference models of automated processes. Limitations to what extent processes process are going to be changed, imposed by the project team members. Different expectations of the outcome to be produced by the process “to-be”.  Insufficient analysis of the proposed processes. Lack of creativity (on an individual or group level).
Control. Process implementation. Implementation of a requirement change control methodology. Force field analysis. Insufficient attention to incidents and errors. Disconnection between BPM project objectives and change requests. Insufficient internal/external communication.
Process execution. Capturing and indexing process improvement opportunities. Automation. Excluding technology adaptations.
BPM control and measurement. Continued BPM process review and supervision. Mapping of process capacities and weaknesses. Process flow audits and in-depth log file review. Review of results against prior established SLAs. Delays in the final BPM certification and project sign-off. High rotation among the project team members.

Table 1 – Process lifecycle definitions and DMAIC mapping (based on Becker et al., 2001)


Questions to you:

  • Which BPM methodologies do you follow in particular (for example applying the CBOK of the ABPMP)?
  • With what others methodologies have you seen BPM being successfully (or unsuccessfully) combined?



  • Becker, Kugeler, & Rosemann, M. (2001). Business Process Lifecycle Management, White paper.
  • Paul Harmon, Business Process Change, Second Edition: A Guide for Business Managers and BPM and Six Sigma Professionals, 2007.


iFlowBPM will be presented in University of Minho on BPM Day.



5 “Process Ghouls” that go bump in the night


Diana Davis













Autor: Diana Davis – 5 “Process Ghouls” that go bump in the night



As schoolchildren prepare to impersonate ghosts, goblins and gnomes in the lead up to Halloween on October 31, we thought we’d compile a list of 5 process ghouls to look out for in your organization.

Here they are in no particular order:

Process Ghoul #1: The Scope Creeper

This nauseating nasty can be easily identified by its propensity to expand anything that is put in front of it. Recognizable symptoms of a scope creeper infestation are projects that continually grow in size and budget and a tendency to tackle multiple problems all at once.  The only known remedy of this ghoul is neutralization through clearly defined boundaries of what is in scope and what is not.

Process Ghoul #2: The Phantom Process Owner

It is very difficult to recognize a phantom process owner. These creatures are invisible and silent and often the only indication of a phantom presence is through analysis of the problems they tend to cause. Side effects of a phantom process owner haunting include continual confusion over responsibility and continually passing customers from one department to another. The only known way of exorcising a phantom process owner is through documentation (which can help to render parts of the phantom visible) and a ritual realignment of roles and responsibilities for all those who have been affected by this phantom.

Process Ghoul #3: The Which Witch

One can detect the presence of the Which Witch through its predisposition to lurch from one priority to the next and its inability to prioritize.  Those affected by a Which Witch haunting may experience feelings of work overload and frustration. An additional consequence of a bothersome Which Witch includes a backlog of projects and initiatives that never reach their conclusion. Which Witches are notoriously difficult to get rid of but can be contained with the help of decisive leadership.

Process Ghoul #4:  Disastrous Demons

Disastrous Demons are interesting beings to study because of their shape-shifting abilities. Within organizations these mischievous monsters often get celebrated as heroes and are showered with accolades because of their super human ability to put out the fires from any crisis through mobilizing the resources of others. For instance, they’ll get their staff to work the weekend to meet a tight deadline. Disastrous Demons are dangerous because although they look like heroes, they actually set the fire in the first place through a combination of poor planning and insufficient communication. Side effects of having disastrous demons in your organization include staff burnout and unnecessary levels of stress. Disastrous demons are endemic to most organizations and the treatment plan can include containment by greater emphasis on rewarding preventative action. However, there is no known cure.

Process Ghoul #5:  The Zany Zombie

The interesting thing about the Zany Zombie is that it is generally well-intentioned but ends up creating wacky outcomes that are undesirable for the business. The presence of a Zany Zombie can be recognized by unexpected consequences that typically arise, for instance, when the targets of different departments within an organization come into conflict. A target around call time resolution in a call center, for instance, can result in a customer having to phone multiple times in order to get the answer they require. The result is frustration for the customer and increased call handling by staff. The only way to deal with Zany Zombies is to remove them entirely by constantly being alert to their probable presence.

Top 10 Most Important Business Process Management (BPM) Capabilities


Janne Ohtonen







Autor: Janne Ohtonen – Top 10 Most Important Business Process Management (BPM) Capabilities


Whether you’re just getting started in Business Process Management (BPM) or have been doing it for a while, making sure that staff have the right combination of skills and tools is critical to success. So what are the common characteristics of companies that do BPM well? Contributor Janne Ohtonen looks at the top 10 capabilities. I have been doing scientific research on business process management capabilities. Improving BPM Capabilities (BPMC) ensures more likely success in business process management initiatives built through people, process and technology aspects. The research has lead me to conduct expert interviews, surveys and case studies with three international companies over last two years. Through that research, I’ve identified ten of what I consider to be the most important BPM Capabilities organizations should have.




Here is BPM’s top 10 list in order of importance:

What are the key capabilities you need to be successful in BPM?

#1: Co-workers have confidence and trust in each other

The employees of an organization implement processes. Those employees need to be able to work well together and have trust in each other. Otherwise, employees will have to check what others have done and they are not willing to share their load with others so easily.

#2: There is open communication between employees and managers

Open communication between management and employees is crucial. Employees need strong but fair leadership, which removes obstacles from their way while executing the processes. If there is no open communication, then problems tend to be hidden and they hinder smooth operation of processes. Managers’ job is to serve the employees.

#3: Managers share vision and information with employees

Employees need to know which direction the organization is heading. Vision, mission and strategy cannot be just fluffy words with a lots of management talk behind it. People need to feel connected to the vision and managers need to be able to make the vision to come alive for the employees. Also, sharing information is very important, so that employees do not have to second-guess what is going on.

#4: The organization is able to respond to changes in markets quickly

The business world today is very turbulent. Customer requirements and expectations have evolved significantly over the last decade. But for some reason, many organizations still treat customers as they have always done. It is important to be able to respond to changes in markets quickly and that comes from aligning your processes to successful customer outcomes (SCO) as well as implementing adaptive process management.

#5: Senior management has confidence and trust in you and your managers

Senior management’s support is very important. Many companies have problems both between employees and middle management as well as between the middle and top management. Senior (or top) managers need to be able to trust their middle management and employees, so that the atmosphere stays open and creative. Also, the board of directors should have an open mind towards ideas coming from lower levels.

#6: There are efficient communication channels for transferring information

Nowadays, there is so much information that it is overflowing in people’s head. People use mobile phones, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and many other mediums to acquire information. The communication inside the organization (and with the customer) can get lost in that jungle. People need to have the right and effective ways to communicate with each other (for example only one intranet website and instant messaging system).

#7: The organization has appointed people responsible for processes

Processes need to be identified and they need to have responsible people appointed. It is job of those people to make sure that the processes are running smoothly and if there are ways to improve them. It is easier for others send ideas and ask directions from a responsible process owner.

#8: The organization extensively uses information systems

Information systems are everywhere. Too often those information systems are not used extensively or cleverly. Legacy information systems may also hinder BPM initiatives. The IT strategy should be aligned with the BPM strategy so that the technology is used to optimize and automate anything that is worth automating.

#9: No one has to worry about losing his or her job because of process changes

Security is important for people. No one wants to improve and change processes if the first discussion is that who is going to get fired. There is no need for that. After using BPM you can transfer those people who are not doing productive work to other phases or process where their contribution is more meaningful. Nobody wants to do the dumb stuff, so giving your employees a good reason to do something cleverer they will gladly take it.

#10: Managers support changes in processes

Managers need to be on top of changing processes. Employees may have good ideas on how to improve processes, but have you actually asked them? And how do you handle those situations when they give suggestions? Do you listen to them and evaluate if there’s something to do, or do you just disregard them? Try to create an organizational culture, which fosters change in a positive way.

You can evaluate how these capabilities are in your organization and then make a roadmap for improving them. Each of these capabilities contributes to success in business process management initiatives and if they are not on an adequate level, you may face problems. If you are not sure on what level your capabilities are on, then you can do a BPMC (BPM Capabilities) research, which will use survey and interview methods to find out the current situation. That information can then be translated into a change roadmap, which will lead to increased BPM capabilities over time.

UALG – iFlowBPM University






Universidade do Algarve is the newest iFlowBPM University.

Counting  with a large number of Universities, iFlowBPM continuous to help students and teachers in BPM majors.


Learn more about this University:


10% 20% 30% What’s a “Good” Process Improvement?


By Craig Reid @ The Process Ninja | November 28, 2013


6a00e554fa70848834019b00f6150d970c-800wiI’m often asked by clientswhat levels of improvement they can expect from mI’m often asked by clients what levels of improvement they can expect from my work. Clients are fascinated by pinning a percentage on each process so that they can show this to senior managers and say “We’ve saved 30% of the total cost of the process!”

But let’s clarify a few things here…

Firstly – what time are we measuring? Is it elapsed time or actual effort time:

  • Elapsed time refers to the total time from start to finish of the process from the customers point of view.
  • Effort time means the actual amount of time your staff take to do work in the process

A classic example is that it may take 2 minutes for your staff to write an email (effort time), but if the email sits in an inbox for 2 hours that is adding to the time of the overall process (elapsed time).

Both types of timings are important depending on the goal – elapsedtime has a greater customer impact (“OMG! Why is it taking so long!”) whereas effort time is a more telling diagnostic for efficiency. Of course a reduction in effort time also decreases elapsed time – and it is still possible to have a process which is efficient in terms of effort time but a laggard in elapsed time (watch out for those sneaky ones).My tip is to measure both for whatever process you look at.

So what is a “good” level of improvement? Well it’s not quite that simple. A 0.5% elimination of effort time can be a fantastic improvement – it all depends upon one very crucial ingredient:volume.

A small improvement upon high volume can result in huge savings – take the example of a company that receives millions of calls to it’s contact centre – shaving even seconds off a call can be a huge cost saver. Converesly, if you can save 75% of effort time off a process that is only conducted 200 times a year, the costs of implementing the process change may outweigh the benefits.

So to answer the question, there’s no such thing as ”good” percentage improvement in terms of effort time – it has to be measured along with volume. But to quash the fires of curiosity I’ve achieved effort time reductions on processes up to 75%, but commonly from 30-70%. If we look at elapsed time, a percentage reduction on its own can be a useful measure – but again transaction volume should be taken into account as part of the cost / benefit analysis.

Courtesy to Craig Reid. This blog is also available on The Process Ninja.

How to take the best part of BPM Solutions?


Source: Semana Informática

O ritmo de crescimento na adopção do BPM tem sido lento, pelo que o seu impacto ao nível dos recursos humanos também não tem crescido significativamente. Mesmo assim, os fabricantes de tecnologia e as consultoras que trabalham nesta área reconhecem que há escassez de recursos especializados e que o número de pessoas nas empresas com formação adequada para ajudar a fazer do BPM um mecanismo de redução de custos e não apenas um investimento é reduzido.

O Semana perguntou a cinco especialistas em business process management (BPM) o que devem fazer as empresas para tirar melhor partido destas ferramentas. Aqui ficam as respostas:

«Mesmo com a tecnologia adequada e a implementação correcta, o saldo positivo na implementação de um projecto de BPM só será alcançado se também dedicarmos uma boa fatia do esforço às pessoas. Estes projectos têm por definição um significativo impacto nas organizações, na forma como as pessoas desempenham as suas tarefas, resultando numa mudança cultural.» Fernando Dias, Portugal sales consulting manager da Oracle.

«Para tirar partido das vantagens deste tipo de soluções é preciso que as empresas observem diversos factores, que vão desde o grau de preparação tecnológica ou do nível de consolidação dos seus sistemas, passando pelo estágio de desenvolvimento da sua estratégia de integração, até ao nível de preparação dos seus colaboradores, quer estes sejam técnicos ou funcionais.» José Tavares, business developer da SAP Portugal.

«Na área de BPM, o processo de mudança é fundamental. Envolver os diversos interlocutores e alinhar os conceitos, a abordagem e as linhas transversais que se pretendem para o resultado final são aspectos determinantes para o sucesso. A participação do negócio em cada momento é essencial, porque se sabe, concretamente, o que se necessita para atingir os objectivos colocados, e com uma intervenção activa contribui-se para esse resultado.» Pedro Moutinho, manager da Novabase.

«Mais do que o foco na tecnologia, é necessário que as empresas caminhem no sentido de aumentar o seu nível de maturidade nesta área e que sejam organizações efectivamente estruturadas, organizadas, geridas e orientadas a processos. Esta mudança de paradigma altera não só a forma como os decisores e executivos pensam e estruturam as suas instituições, mas também inclui alterações na estrutura organizacional, na lógica de avaliação do desempenho, nos papéis, nas responsabilidades, nos valores e na cultura.» Luís Correia, manager da Safira.

«As pessoas são um factor-chave de sucesso dos projectos de BPM. No contexto das soluções de BPM, o factor humano é ainda mais crítico, pois em muitos casos as pessoas escondem algumas ineficiências das organizações sob pena de serem dispensados, ou por sentirem receio que as ferramentas automáticas e as plataformas de BPM as possam substituir, constituindo um factor de resistência assinalável.» Jorge Pereira, CEO da Infosistema.

BPM market to achieve significant growth

Source: http://www.companiesandmarkets.com/News/Information-Technology/BPM-market-to-achieve-significant-growth/NI7648

The BPM market (Business Process Management) has been forecast to hit a total value of $8.3 billion by the end of 2019, increasing from a valuation of approximately $2.8 billion at the beginning of 2013.

Key factors set to drive growth within the market include the increased adoption of more efficiently ways to collaboration between people and provide an interactive process based on exception management.

BPM software is achieving the ability to connect people across applications within the siloed lines of business software capability. As enterprises realise that automation of process is key to market growth BPM is creating new market opportunities.

The global industry is poised to achieve significant growth. As people move to cloud computing and use their smart phones and tablets to access apps, exception management of business process becomes a significant aspect of doing business. Patterns are being used to control automated process better and interact with it in a more flexible manner.

Cloud computing, mobile computing, and smart devices represent the major forces impacting business process management (BPM) markets.

Using BPM as a regulatory tool is especially important in light of the challenges presented by cloud computing, mobility and social media.

When information is crossing organisational barriers and flowing between such diverse technological environments, it can be extremely difficult to identify where information is at any time and ensure it is available and secure. A significant level of transparency is needed to provide insight into these background operations.

IBM and others are leveraging patterns to gain competitive advantage in enterprise BPM markets. Managers use large BPM systems and small and mid-size business use the BPM cloud.

IBM gained two points of market share in BPM platforms as WebSphere extended its functionality to encompass cloud and more of the process interactions that occur on an everyday basis in an enterprise. IBM is positioning to let people connect across the lines of business from within the business process applications.