Delivering Results : Evolving BPR From Art to Engineering

Keywords Business Process Reengineering (BPR)
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This chapter presents an approach to BPR that is focused on achieving results
from the first stages to implementation. The engineering approach presented
utilizes an integrated set of methods applied incrementally. This allows BPR
practitioners to more realistically approach a project; assess its impact, duration,
and required budget; and mitigate the risks of failure. We present the approach
as a phased BPR methodology along with methods, proven strategies, and tools
we have worked with successfully at each phase. We present motivations for
initiating a BPR effort that have been shown to result in successful cases for
action. We present rationale for justifying change and a method for building a
business case that includes the use of cost benefit analysis in formulating the
justification rationale. An approach to planning for a BPR effort is presented
that uses the same methods normally applied in the BPR process itself. We
cover the issues associated with setting up a BPR project including: forming
cross-functional teams, and selecting method and tool technology for the BPR
project. A methodology is presented for base-lining the current business
situation, identifying the current value delivery system and the processes that
support that system along with problem-cause analysis. We describe eight
general principles of business process design and conclude with an objectcentered
technique for new process design. Finally this chapter addresses key
issues in the implementation process starting with transition planning activities,
model driven information system development, and initiation of a learning
system that will carry the results forward in a continuous improvement manner.


Business Process Reengineering (BPR) efforts are reported to be failing to meet
their goals at a rate of 70% [Champy 95]. The salient observation about this
statistic is that an enterprise or organization would have to be facing critical
business issues or have considerable problems to attempt a high-risk, highly
visible BPR project, given these significant chances of failing. However, a
closer examination of this failure statistic must be warranted to provide meaning
into how to reduce this statistic. We contend that there are three primary reasons
attributed to failing BPR efforts. The first reason is the lack of an adequate
business case resulting in unclear, unreasonable, or unjustifiable expectations for
what is wanted or expected to result from a BPR effort. A second reason can be
the absence of robust and reliable technology and methodologies for performing
BPR so that there is a failing in executing BPR efforts. A third reason is an
incomplete or inadequate implementation. Re-orienting a traditional
organization from a function to a process focus requires a major cultural change
in the organization. It also requires major change to the information systems that
support the organization. The organization does not know what to expect and is
often surprised, angered, or threatened by the change proposed. If the project
does not correctly manage the expectations of the organization it will not be
allowed to finish what was started. Finally, we contend that inadequate carry
forward of “lessons-learned” and “how-to” knowledge from project to project
significantly increases the chance of failure.

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