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BPM – Evolved

Six Sigma approach to BPM outdated
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's portals writer
Johannesburg, 17 Apr 2012

The 'Six Sigma' approach to business process management (BPM) is not yielding the expected benefits, as businesses are rapidly evolving.

So said Steve Towers, co-founder of the BP Group, speaking during the ITWeb BPM Summit, at The Forum, in Bryanston, today.

Six Sigma is a business strategy that seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects and minimising variability in manufacturing and business processes.

Towers likened the Six Sigma approach to weight-loss programmes, saying they typically start off well, generating excitement and great progress, “but all too often fail to have a lasting impact, as participants gradually lose motivation and fall back into old habits”.

Recent studies, he added, suggest that nearly 60% of all corporate Six Sigma initiatives fail to yield desired results.

“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. Add to that, if you do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got.”

He explained that Six Sigma failures could be a result of escalation in commitment, which he said refers to the tendency of decision-makers to continue investing in a failing course of action.

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'BPM needs agile approach'
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's portals writer.
Johannesburg, 18 Apr 2012

Unlike the traditional waterfall approach to business process management (BPM), the agile approach is highly disciplined and flexible.

This is according to John Hayden, chairman of consultancy firm John Hayden and Associates, speaking during the ITWeb BPM Summit, in Bryanston, which was attended by 113 delegates.

Hayden defines a business process as a series or sequence of activities, often across departmental and organisational boundaries, that involves different functional disciplines that are initiated by a trigger. A business process requires input, adds value and produces outcomes for an external or internal customer.

He then explained that the traditional waterfall approach to IT systems development requires that full specifications are completed and signed off before IT development starts.

“Waterfall is very structured, stepping through requirements analysis, design, coding and testing in a strict, pre-planned sequence. Progress is often measured in terms of delivered artefacts like design documents, requirement specifications, test plans or code reviews,” he explained.

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Reporting from BPM Summit:

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