Roles ? Where we’re going we don’t need roles ! – Don’t waste time inventing new BPM titles

Connie Moore from Forrester (@cmooreforrester) talked on Twitter about a large Healthcare organisation making a massive commitment to BPM and moving IT resources into the Business and redefining job titles from top to bottom. I argued that this wasn’t really necessary to which Connie replied:

“titles r great: Business agility & innovation leaders, process champions, COE leaders, modelers, designers”

Now I’m going to point directly to a previous blog post of mine where a software company ditched role titles when forming teams (Taking a leaf from the games industry…) which as a result sparked creativity and collaboration. However one of the main reasons for doing this was the fact that they couldn’t find the exact person to fulfil a particular role in helping shake things up.

“Throughout the first 11 months of the project we searched for an official “game designer,” — someone who could show up and make it all come together. We looked at hundreds of resumes and interviewed a lot of promising applicants, but no one we looked at had enough of the qualities we wanted for us to seriously consider them the overall godlike “game designer” that we were told we needed. In the end, we came to the conclusion that this ideal person didn’t actually exist. Instead, we would create our own ideal by combining the strengths of a cross section of the company, putting them together in a group we called the “Cabal.”

Now in my mind, and having a cynical view due to spending time with the troops, reinventing roles (and giving them really naff titles to boot) will ultimately lead to the same divisions that exist already between IT and the Business, it’s just shifting the boundaries around a little for a short term fix. On top of that will be the time and effort lost in both thinking up new job descriptions and finding the right people to fill them in the first place (and when you can’t, you compromise and shoehorn someone into the role). I say this because I’ve seen it all before, watched the slideshow by the Heads of, then watched a mexican wave of rolled eyes wash through the business and IT audience.

If you’re really going to innovate in BPM and fire up an organisational effort to create a process culture stop thinking about the titles and start thinking about the people. Let them be creative. Let them try to collaborate without boundaries.

And let’s look around us and see how others have already done it and learn from it….


4 responses to “Roles ? Where we’re going we don’t need roles ! – Don’t waste time inventing new BPM titles

  1. Is taking the driving force behind BPM from IT and given to the business almost a "do-over" situation? I am not arguing that the "business" aspect of BPM is indeed the driving force….in fact, I am all for it. But to obviate existing levels of participation and input from IT, as it seems it happening in this case, is comparable to the struggle I see with small kids. No one likes to have the dump truck snatched out of their hands by other child….and in fact, what happens is the first child becomes a sore loser and gets up and walks away.Either change strategies like this are to be considered a "do-over" in the BPM space or in fact, the sages of old that considered IT to be a valued input into BPM were all wrong. Do any of us have time for "do-overs" today? And what happens if you find out the the business team alone cannot fully champion the BPM effort? A "do-over" again?

  2. Though I agree with the fact that inventing new titles are going to be waste of time, I see that Roles would help scoping the responsibilities. In reality, the role could be played by single person or a team. Actually this is what that game company did – looking for single person to fit in a role (they should have thought through before spending that time) they formed a team to fit in that. So Roles would help in scoping the responsibility and accountability, but companies need to be realistic in defining and deciding such roles – should be practical when rubber meets the road. The fancy titles (like healthcare ) will never help in clear accountability that will help in achieving Business goals.Look for right roles with clear accountability and responsibility and that will solve the problem. Then identify a person or a team who fit for that role.

  3. Pingback: Social BPM and Social Enterprise Transformation roundup #socialbpm #bpm #socialenterprise | BPM redux·

  4. Pingback: Reinventing the BPM wheel 101: the unending quest for roles | BPM redux·

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