The Project vs Process Dilemma

How Processes Disguised as Projects Can Hurt Your Business (and What You Need to Do About It Today)
   
A while back, Alex Hughes wrote about the Project vs Process dilemma like this:
Project management is a term that gets thrown around a lot in the enterprise environment. These days, it seems that any organized effort that includes tasks with due dates is deemed to be a project.
But what if it isn’t? Misidentifying it could set your project or initiative back at the very outset.
Ask yourself: “What are the main tasks for my next project?” If you answer with responses such as, “begin requisition,” “send notification letter,” or “log hours,” ask yourself another question. “Is what I am describing actually a project?” Are you sure that it is not in fact a process that you are describing that just happens to have steps with due dates associated with them?
 

Why knowledge workers have to build their own solutions

In the future of work, employees must be empowered to operate at their full potential, and this requires a workplace that has freed itself of unnecessary and debilitating boundaries. It is only then that companies can hope to meet the business challenges of the fast-changing global economy.
– Cognizant , Future of work enabler: Worker Empowerment
 
At the edges of the organization, where employees interact with customers, partners, contractors and suppliers, employees have to quickly find answers to questions and be agile in their ability to match the requirements of the market and its customers in the online globally competitive environment. Their success lies in their ability to coordinate many information feeds, harness personal connections, and process interactions. The ability to navigate this maze effectively and quickly is based on knowledge that is frequently not written down or readily available to others.
There are in fact many factors that make traditional application development ill-suited to meeting the needs of knowledge workers:
“One- size-fits-all” is not appropriate for knowledge workers. Knowledge workers have individual learning and communication styles; they need the ability to approach their activities in the way they feel most comfortable.
   
Most businesspeople do not find the idea that they can “use an app builder to develop their own software solutions” very appealing. They have plenty of work to do without building apps. And the thought of having to be a part-time “developer” is especially unappealing. The same is true for Salesforce Administrators.
But the barrier to building apps is falling – more Salesforce Admins are becoming developers whether they want to be or not – but not in the traditional sense.
In the old days, if you needed something typed, you wrote it by hand and gave it to a typist. Today, it seems incomprehensible – we are all typists now.  But you wouldn’t see yourself as a “typist”.
While Salesforce provides a variety of tools to automate structured business processes, it does not provide the same level of functionality for “unstructured” processes (better referred to as “situational” processes – an unstructured process is an oxymoron). Thus, Salesforce tools must be augmented by tools that better support the increasingly complex, dynamic, and fragmented nature of work.

When you hit a wall with Salesforce process management

The Salesforce platform offers 4 different workflow tools, all of which are focused on process automation. Instead of doing repetitive work manually, you can configure processes to do it automatically. For example, assign tasks, send emails and update records based on conditions.
Work-Relay goes beyond Salesforce process management in key ways:
In an earlier time, the supply chain was thought of as just that…a chain of linear activities that moves a product from Point A to Point B. In truth, years ago, the supply chain was much simpler. However, today, the supply chain can be better thought of as a supply network consisting of multiple suppliers, customers dispersed often around the globe, and constantly changing shipping demands, conditions and capacities.
Supply-chain practitioners now think of supply-chain management as the coordination of information, and material and financial flows at all stages of the supply chain to obtain a competitive advantage. While the overall concept of supply-chain management has remained consistent for decades, digital transformation has radically changed supply chain and logistics management.

Seeking Competitive Advantage through Dynamic BPM

Today, competitive advantage for a logistics management service provider lies in the ability to utilize the supply chain and supply-chain capacity data to track the movement of goods, predict available capacity, seamlessly adjust to changing conditions, and price to achieve both profitability and competitive advantage. To accomplish this, logistics organizations must be able to strategically leverage enormous amounts of available data for quick and accurate decision-making.
It was precisely this collection of needs and opportunities that led a market-leading logistics company to Work-Relay. This logistics player sought to improve both competitive advantage and operational efficiency by leveraging their data integrated by the Salesforce platform to facilitate sophisticated workflows and dynamic business process management (BPM).   More specifically, the logistics leader sought:
  • Workflows that can accommodate a dynamic, semi-structured, or structured sequence of events and would include important factors: weather conditions, fuel rates, worker availability, equipment/container availability, distance, business rules and policies, analytics, information flows, decision-making by both humans and algorithms, and work performed by software systems, machines, or humans.
  • Minimal development resources – the goal was a high-productivity app enabling business users to modify and improve workflows with the need for little IT development.
  • Real-time or near-real-time tracking of conditions affecting processes and cases and other factors.
  • Rule and decision management providing guidance for human or automated operational decisions according to business directives or policy statements. This capability needed to support the development of business rules that are independent of a particular process and may be re-used across processes.
  • Robust rules management including versioning of rules, the ability to maintain and work with multiple versions of the same rule, central management of rules, packaging of rules for future use, and tools to govern users’ rule modification credentials.

Operations & Customer Service Responsiveness Greatly Enhanced

In the end, a key opportunity for transforming this logistics company’s operations and pricing responsiveness was rooted in the ability to create and manage rules that leveraged historical data to predict future conditions for the purposes of competitive, profitable and quick pricing; creating rules and operational workflows that aided with operational efficiency; real-time tracking of shipments in process for improved customer service; and transformed equipment and personnel tracking and utilization projections.
Work-Relay’s BPM solution was perfectly suited to rise to these challenges. Although previous generations of BPM software solutions were not well-suited for managing variable conditions, Work-Relay thrives within changing conditions consisting of many variables. Powered by the Salesforce platform, Work-Relay’s orchestration engine utilizes libraries of dynamic rules to facilitate many types of decision-making, including automated and ad hoc decision-making for pricing, operational, customer service, and many other purposes.
Have complex processes that need to be managed? Learn more about downloading “13 Practical Ways to Turbocharge Your Digital Transformation Journey Today.”
We’re thrilled to announce that BP3, recently recognized in The Forrester Wave™ BPM Service Providers report as a leader, is partnering with Work-Relay. BP3 has partnered with Work-Relay to support Salesforce enterprise clients for business process management (BPM) projects. As experts in BPM in the financial, energy, healthcare, and manufacturing, BP3 excels in automating and taming complex, often unpredictable, business processes for their customers.
 
Work-Relay’s business process management solution for the Salesforce platform was designed to minimize user dependence on IT departments and developers. Simple drag-and-drop functionality gives owners of a given process the ability to weave together building blocks and automatically generate or manually create complete end-to-end processes on-the-fly. Rather than requiring large IT investments, the lack of reliance on developers.
 
“The combination of Salesforce technologies with process centric capabilities is a place we see a lot of growth,” said Scott Francis, CEO, BP3.
 
“Organizations using Salesforce generally have a tremendous amount of data at their disposal, yet there are few enterprise BPM applications capable of harnessing that data and making it actionable, transparent and scalable. Since Work-Relay’s process management solution is 100% native to the Salesforce platform, it is the ideal solution for BP3 to help their Salesforce enterprise clients leverage the data at their disposal to orchestrate their business processes,” said John Shap, CEO, Work-Relay. “We are thrilled to help BP3 solve BPM challenges for their Salesforce enterprise clients and in turn BPM’s extensive experience will be a valuable resource for the growing Work-Relay customer base.”
 

Powerful Business Rules Management System (BRMS) enhances complex rules creation capability for growing a Business Process Management (BPM) application built on the Salesforce Platform

 
CHICAGO (March 15, 2017) – Work-Relay, , today announced a technology partnership with Business Rules Management System (BRMS) leader, InRule Technology®.
 
InRule® is an enterprise-grade BRMS for Salesforce. By integrating InRule and Work-Relay, customers can author and deploy business rules in conjunction with their Work-Relay business processes on the Salesforce platform without the need for complex code modifications.
 
“This partnership is a very natural fit because both Work-Relay and InRule seek to allow their clients to gain greater ROI from their Salesforce investment,” said John Shap, CEO, Work-Relay. “Since rules creation is such an integral part of business process management, our collaboration provides customers with an enhanced ability to bring mission-critical enterprise applications to market faster and with greater configurability.”
 
An increasing number of organizations seek the ability to automate and streamline BPM and business rules, and require solutions that can be customized and executed without developer support. Because most enterprise-level systems have complex workflows that include rules, criteria and decision logic, BRMS and BPM technologies can be effectively combined to meet these demands.
 
“Integrating Work-Relay and InRule provides our Salesforce customers with transparency into rules and processes, delivering agility to meet evolving operational demands, customer needs and regulatory requirements,” said Rik Chomko, co-founder and CEO, InRule Technology. “We are excited to partner with Work-Relay, an established Salesforce partner with a record of bringing value to customers through its proven BPM solutions.”
 
Salesforce, Salesforce Platform and others are among the trademarks of salesforce.com, inc.
 
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About Work-Relay
Work-Relay combines Business Process Management (BPM) with project management to help knowledge workers better plan, execute, manage, scale, measure and improve complex processes and projects. Headquartered in Chicago, Work-Relay works with both startup and Fortune 100 companies across a broad range of industries, including media, healthcare, professional services, manufacturing, distribution, oil & gas, and finance.
 
About InRule Technology, Inc.
InRule Technology® enables organizations to make faster, more effective decisions by reducing change cycles and automating business rules. IT and business personnel use InRule’s Business Rules Management System (BRMS) to easily put Policy into PracticeTM, in hours not days, to increase productivity, grow revenues and improve customer service. More than 350 members of the InRule User Community in 21 countries rely on InRule’s rule engine to reduce development and change cycles by up to 90 percent for their core systems and customer-facing applications. InRule Technology is a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner and has been delivering significant and measurable business and IT results to customers since 2002. For more information visit www.inrule.com.
 
CONTACT
Ben Bradley
Macon Raine, Inc.
630-430-7267
ben@maconraine.com
Work-Relay, a 100% native workflow and process builder for the Salesforce platform has released more than 30 WorkFast templates that help Salesforce administrators accelerate the development and deployment of workflow applications. The templates can significantly reduce the need for Salesforce Administrators to depend on programmers, and empower them to increase their ability to produce powerful business solutions for their organization. Work-Relay helps business users with no programming knowledge to rapidly build and customize workflow applications.
 
“Work-Relay’s WorkFast templates accelerate the development of fully functional workflow applications on Salesforce App Cloud without a reliance on expensive Salesforce Developers and Architects,” said John Shap, Work-Relay’s Chief Executive Officer. “Salesforce administrators want to be responsive and they don’t want to be locked into off-the-shelf approaches that can’t evolve with their users and business needs. Work-Relay’s WorkFast templates enable administrators to rapidly author complex workflow and process applications and reduce complexity, accelerate time to market, optimize platform adoption and user experience.”
 
Work-Relay’s new process application templates provide an easy-to-use method for building a wide-range of process functionality that can be quickly customized and configured as complex process workflows, including:
A recent report “Hot Vendors in Business Process Management (BPM)” by Jim Sinur, Aragon Research’s Vice President and Research Fellow, suggests that “the secret sauce in Work-Relay is its ability to handle many styles of processes and projects through dynamic process execution managed by rules or constraints. Additionally, the many unique visualizations can help process managers plus process participants watch and adjust process or projects dynamically.”
 
Interested seeing WorkFast process templates in action? Click here to request a demo.

Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) In a Nutshell

  • Product development projects, like many other types of projects, often can exceed their planned schedule by 50% to 100%.
  • Often this is attributed to uncertainty or the unforeseen.
  • To compensate for this age-old dilemma, managers and project personnel have learned to compensate by adding additional time to their schedule estimates. Yet even when they do, projects still overrun their schedules.
  • Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) is an outgrowth of the Theory of Constraints (TOC) developed by Eliyahu Goldratt to scheduling and managing manufacturing.
  • TOC focuses on identifying and fixing bottlenecks in order to improve the throughput of the overall system. Likewise, Critical Chain focuses on bottlenecks.
  • Using the Critical Chain Method, projects can be completed more quickly and with greater scheduling reliability.
  • The difference between traditional and Critical Chain scheduling is in how uncertainty is managed. In traditional project scheduling, uncertainty is managed by padding task durations, starting work as early as possible, multi-tasking, and focusing on meeting commitment dates.
  While Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) delivers all these benefits, CCPM has yet to become the standard in the industry. In some respects, it still seems to qualify as a new technology introduction. In fact, most project manager in the service industry have never heard of it, and an awful lot of training and qualifications make no reference to it. But innovations and new ideas take time to spread.  
In short, CCPM allows you to: