Best Practices of Process Management: The Top Ten Principles (Part 1)

Roger T.  Burlton
Roger T. Burlton President and Managing Partner, Process Renewal Group Read Author Bio || Read All Articles by Roger T. Burlton

Years of successful and not-so-successful process management experience have led to a set of best practices -- a number of fundamental principles that must be honored in order to optimize returns to the company, the delivery of business results to customers, and to satisfy the needs of the organization's other stakeholders.  In this series, I outline the ten principles that underlie the methods of business process operation and change.  

Understanding and living according to these principles will get managers and practitioners alike through some tough debates about managing processes.  Without support for these the principles, teams can easily get lost and distracted from the intent of the mission.

The 10 principles are:

1.  Business change must be performance driven.

2.  Business change must be stakeholder based.

3.  Business change decisions must be traceable to the stakeholder criteria.

4.  The business must be segmented along business process lines to synchronize change.

5.  Business processes must be managed holistically.

6.  Process renewal initiatives must inspire shared insight.

7.  Process renewal initiatives must be conducted from the outside in.

8.  Process renewal initiatives must be conducted in an iterative, time-boxed approach.

9.  Business change is all about people.

10.  Business change is a journey, not a destination.

In this column, I discuss the first principle.

Principle 1:  Business Change Must Be Performance Driven

All change must be based on business performance measurement.  All the things we do we should do for a reason, and measurement allows us to know if we are acting consistently with the reason.  "You get what you measure" seems true for all organizations.

All must know their aim in life and set a scorecard to evaluate how they're doing and what's working.  We need predictive measures, not just after-the-fact reports, to see the total picture.  Constructing a connected measurement system is critical for us to break down overall targets into what people do every day.

After performance measurement factors are determined, the organization sets some performance targets.  There may be inherent conflict among the targets so a balance will be key.  Management must send clear messages on strategy and priority through performance metrics and not rely just on wishes alone.

The bottom line for any business improvement is that well-thought-out, targeted measurements will inspire progress and ensure that we allocate our scarce human and financial resources to things that matter most.


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Standard citation for this article:


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Roger T. Burlton , "Best Practices of Process Management: The Top Ten Principles (Part 1)" Business Rules Journal Vol. 7, No. 1, (Jan. 2006)
URL: http://www.brcommunity.com/a2006/b269.html

About our Contributor:


Roger  T. Burlton
Roger T. Burlton President and Managing Partner, Process Renewal Group

Roger is a respected pioneer in the introduction of innovative approaches for Business Management. He is a world leader in the field of Business Process Management, having authored one of the most read and followed books on the topic early in BPM's growth as well as the Business Process Manifesto. Roger's leadership is also witnessed by his position as chair of several of the most influential conferences each year on BPM and Business Architecture and by his role as chair of the BPTrends.com Advisory Board. The insights he brings to PRG's consulting clients are thoughtful and pragmatic.

Read All Articles by Roger T. Burlton

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