Processes don't do work, people do.
-- John Seely Brown, Former Chief Scientist, Xerox
Read Excerpts and Related Articles
Despite advances in business automation over the past fifty years, the heart and soul of every organization is still its people--without whom the organization will stop dead in its tracks. Yet there is presently no complete way to manage the complex, continually changing work processes carried out by humans--and current work support technologies treat people as if they were cogs in a machine. Frankly, we need to do better.
This landmark book combines insights drawn from biology, psychology, social systems theory, and learning theory with a deep understanding of business process analysis to form a complete theory of human work. Itís about how we really work, and provides management and information technology techniques that will help us to work better. The book shows how to deal properly with human issues in the workplace, transform the working relationships on which success is founded, and leverage intangible assets. Government agencies need this in order to meet the demands of citizens, and commercial companies need this if they are to survive. In todayís world of globalization and extreme competition, it's not satisfied customers you are after--itís never-satisfied customers. In the networked future, repeat business from loyal customers is no longer just the best business; itís the only business. And to get it, you need Human Interaction Management--the breakthrough that changes the rules of business.
THE MISSING LINK IN BUSINESS PROCESS MANAGEMENT
Thereís a new breed of competitor on the block. In todayís uncertain global business world, these fierce new competitors are dominating industries by leveraging the universal connectivity of the Internet with a new category of business technology, Business Process Management (BPM). But the BPM techniques currently available are suitable primarily for activities carried out by machines. What about the many processes centered on the very foundation of commercial successóhuman-driven processes?
After all processes don't do work, people do. Indeed, technology support for human interactions is the missing link in todayís BPM systems. Even the early process-based competitors are eager to reinvigorate human-centered work processes, for they know that these are the heart and soul of performance improvement and innovation.
So, what is work? What does an information worker actually do all day? Read and write emails, create documents, make phone calls, attend meetings, talk to people, research, think, decide, agree, reject, ... this is the process of work; itís how real work works. But because little of real work is augmented by modern computer systems, how can it be properly managed for greater effectiveness? The solution is not to try and find systems that replace humans--to automate people out of the picture. We are nowhere near the (perhaps mythical) stage at which humans have become irrelevant to the daily functioning of the enterprise. To the contrary, we need to make the best use of human skills by facilitating how work actually gets done, by real people. Amplifying the work carried out by people not only benefits the enterprise as a whole, but also improves job satisfaction of the individuals who are its life-blood.
To amplify human-driven processes, we need to first
understand how to formally describe such work, and then capture this
understanding in a computer system. This calls for a change in kind in
both business process modeling, and the BPM systems being proffered by
todayís IT vendors. This book examines the true nature of work, and
shows how it can be supported by the next generation of BPM systems.
Drawn directly from first-hand experience, itís a practical guide, not
an exposition of abstract theory. In this groundbreaking book, a
high-level discussion, written for business people, is supplemented with
a technology focused discussion for enterprise architects and
developers, providing them with detailed guidelines for implementing
computer support for human-driven processes.
From the Inside Flap
Oh my, what can you say about the 20th century marvel, the World Wide Web? The Web presents an immense opportunity to connect every person, every computer, everywhere, across a company, across trading partners, across the globe. Such connectivity can revolutionize the very ways companies operate, the very ways they conduct business, leading to extreme efficiency and extreme effectiveness. But, even more revolutionary is that such connectivity can transform the very business a business is in.
Now, in the 21st century, Starbucks is no longer just in the coffee business, itís also in the music and Internet services business. Exxon/Mobile is no longer just in the oil business, itís also in the coffee business. IBM is no longer just in the information technology business, itís also in the claims processing business in the insurance industry. The Virgin Group is no longer in just the music and airlines businesses, itís also in the financial services, cell phone, wedding, train, book, gaming, wine, auto, cosmetics, health club, resort and experiences businessesó-Sir Richard Branson has been very busy knitting together this tapestry of diverse, customer-pleasing businesses by weaving innovative business processes throughout the fabric of the Web, to the delight of its loyal customers.
What business are you in? Indeed, Virgin and other companies that "get it" understand that they are in the "customer business," aggregating ever more complete solutions for their loyal customers who are, in turn, placing ever more trust in their brands. Industry boundaries have become a blur. Welcome to extreme competition in the 21st century, where customers are gaining supreme power over suppliers and getting what they want, when and where they want it, with greater and greater ease. If your company cannot make that happen, your customers are but a mouse click away from one of your competitors who can.
Yet, with all the opportunity, the Web also posses an immense challenge in that the humans, the very heart and soul of any company, can be overwhelmed by the sheer amounts of business information that can flow through the Web. To harness the Web for business innovation and transformation, breakthrough thinking and new systems will be needed to provide the freedom that workers need so that they are helped, and not hindered, by the system. That new way of thinking is Human Interaction Management, and the capability needed to harness the Web for helping people work better in the wired, flat world of global business is the Human Interaction Management System. In this groundbreaking work, Keith Harrison-Broninski instructs us in how people really work and how they can be helped to work better.
Todayís greatest business challenge is to offer total experiences that delight your customers, experiences that exceed their expectations. Itís no longer viable to offer commodities, or just the best products or services. Companies must now open a two-way dialog with their customers in order to meet their needs throughout the consumption process, for they donít want your products and services in and of themselves, they want solutions to their needs. In todayís fiercely competitive business environment, you must provide the complete experience that delights each and every customer. If you donít do that, you wonít be able to compete for the future. If you do do that, you will need the support of the Human Interaction Management System, the breakthrough that changes the rules of business, the breakthrough that changes your relationships with both almighty customers, and the trading partners you must band together with to meet the needs of your present and future customers.
Join Keith on a journey that will change your
business, forever, by helping your people and your suppliersí people
work better to provide extreme value to your customers.
About the Author
Keith Harrison-Broninski is the CTO of Role Modellers Ltd., whose mission is to develop the ideas necessary to support human-driven processes, and implement software applications to support them. Keith spent many years as an independent IT and management consultant, working in a wide range of sectors, technologies and countries. His primary interest has always been to integrate advanced software implementations with social workplace issues. Keith designed the software RADRunner, a dynamic process enactment engine based on Roles and interactions. Keith also established the Web forum Role Based Process Support, whose purpose is to discuss and synthesize work on human-driven processes. Forum members are drawn from varied academic and industry backgrounds, and debate approaches to social analysis of business processes. If you are interested to take a look or enter the debate on how to advance computer support of human co-operative work, membership is open to all. Keith obtained a BA in Mathematics (starred double first, 1985) and MSc Computation (1986) from Oxford University.
Table of Contents
1. The Problem of Work 19
The unhelpful workplace 20
Where the problem lies 32
How to solve the problem 36
Where the problem doesnít lie 42
The journey through this book 44
The rest of the journey 46
Tools to support the workplace of the future 46
2. What Is Work? 50
How people communicate 51
How people decide what to do next 59
How people find things out 66
How people work things out 76
Putting it all together 80
3. A New Theory Of Roles 88
Show and tell 89
States of a process 109
Putting it all together 133
4. Modeling Human Interactions 137
Adapting the world 138
Separation of control 143
The helicopter view 185
Reasoning about processes 192
Putting it all together 204
5. Improving Human Interactions 208
Why we need Human Interaction Management 208
Better human relations 209
Quality revitalized 211
Refactoring human processes 221
Assignment of process participants 225
Putting it all together 238
6. Implementing the Human Interaction
Management System (HIMS) 242
Why we need Human Interaction Management systems 243
Content Management 249
Categorizing collaboration 257
Service-oriented architecture 263
How to build a Human Interaction Management System 266
Putting it all together 269
7. Human Interactions in a Nutshell 272
Epilogue: The future of process support 277
What is a process made of? 278
Human-driven processes 282
Modeling the why and how 283
Small talk 287
All information is personal 289
Knowing what you know 291
Getting on better with each other 292
Managing human interactions 294
Putting it all together 296