"Doing by design", "Design by doing"….or just plain "doing" ?

Jim Sinur has updated his Gartner blog post with an interesting follow up:

“As BPM picks up more “Design by Doing “aspects, BPM will reach new audiences such as knowledge workers at various levels in the organization.” Jim goes further by stating,

“In processes that are purely collaborative and dynamic, the process goes where it wants, guided by knowledge workers as long as it stays within constraints (special kind of polices and rules) and stays “on point to the desired KPIs. This kind of discovery is what I call “design by doing” aided by automated process discovery technologies and social BPM that can offer alternatives and additional knowledge for high level knowledge workers.”

I’ve got a bit of an issue with the DbD thing. If work is unstructured in this way then essentially we can’t design it, can’t constrain it, as soon as we do we commit something to a fixed point in time and path. Therefore this kind of work will always be organic in nature, constantly moving but in it’s own way and pattern. Same goes for likening BPM to the states of water (fluid, gas, solid). Actually I’d be more inclined to think of work in general as having quantum properties, in that no matter how you observe it it will constantly change, can exist in many places simultaneously and at different time periods. We can perhaps seek to measure it but not define it (but then you can argue that any form of measurement is in itself a property of definition) I’d love to observe these ‘special kind of policies and rules’ in action because they must take up the capacity of Deep Thought from Hitchhikers to play them out. (It’s 42 btw)

Where Social BPM is coming into play is removing a lot of these mechanical thought processes, “it must be done this way because….”, “it’s defined as x because y said so…” and so allowing BPM to become organic and fluid, interactive, agile. An enterprise can take advantage of this type of social agility if it stops thinking about “design” altogether and just “do”.

As Frank Sinatra would say, “DbDbDoo……”

I’m reading this back and it doesn’t flow like Jim’s water but like my quantum state; all over the place and in several at the same time…..I wouldn’t have it any other way 😉


2 responses to “"Doing by design", "Design by doing"….or just plain "doing" ?

  1. Nice twist, and I’ve been drooling over this as well. How unstructured can something get, and is it is really *that* unstructured, is the design an attempt to put a structure around it again…?I think the answer may lie in design around patterns. Performance improvement has always emerged out of studying "patterns" (not saying structure here), just like what Taylor and Hawthorne did earlier on. So, the design by doing could be around patterns and not really around the structured process design. It’s another matter that people would again confuse patterns with structures in practical implementation :)- Ashish

  2. I don’t like the description "Unstructured" because it is not unstructured. Unstructured means there is no structure to something, but when you do "design by doing" you actually structuring it. It is just not structured in advance. It is not predictable.Talking about "unstructured" leads people down the wrong thought paths. Knowledge workers don’t do "random" work, they do very organized work. It is just that the precise organization is not externalized and depends upon many details that are hard to specify in advance.Substitute "unpredictable" instead — then how do your comments change? Then you see it is all structured and organized. It just happens at a different time.

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