Cleaning the backlog
Business Process Management (BPM) enables an organization to transform into a digital enterprise. The first step of a BPM approach to digital transformation is to understand thoroughly the current state of the products and services delivered. During the process of defining the true current state, a list of backlog items for a specific product or service is generated that becomes the input into the next step in the process: achieving a target state. Understanding the target state (goals and objectives), which must be satisfied to transform the business, and working towards reaching that state, is a critical component along the journey to digital transformation. Read the first part of this series here
Step 2: Achieve a Target State
The digital transformation journey requires a clear understanding of how the organization wants to change the delivery of its products or services, with more quality, requiring less time and/or in a manner that is easier for the ultimate customer to consume. Typically, this change will require more automation and a reliance on data.
Upon understanding the current state of the delivery lifecycle, the product/service owner works with the delivery team to define what the next ideal target state would look like for that specific product or service. The identified backlog items, from the current-state phase, provide insights into what areas of the process, technology or data might require modification or improvement to realize the highest value for the consumer. The target state should be achievable between 2 weeks and 2 months, and it should result in increased value, decreased cost and/or reduced delivery time for the consumer.
Once the new target state is aligned and the team is in agreement, additional gaps between current state and future state may be discovered. Additional backlog items are recorded and added to the full list of backlog items for the specific product or service. The team categorizes or groups the backlog items into themes or topics. The themes are then prioritized based on what is most important to the consumer. The business-value metrics are often an indication of what the customer perceives as the most valuable aspect of the product or service, and should be a key element in determining which backlog items should be worked on first.
Once the themes are in a prioritized order, the team selects which backlog items will be included in the first enhancement effort. The team agrees on the expected outcomes from resolving the selected backlog items. Team members also review the current-state metrics and measure and define new target-state metrics and measures that will be used to evaluate the success of the Business Process Management improvement effort.
The team then plans the first iteration of work. The target state may not be reached after the first iteration of work, but the team should learn from the effort and be able to make changes during the next iteration, which will be moving the overall solution to the target-state conditions. There will be times that an iteration has a negative impact on the various metrics: process time, lead time and business value. This should not be considered a failure, but instead an additional learning opportunity, which will lead the team to be more successful in the next iteration. Business Process Management continues to provide the mechanism to realize the benefits of digital transformation as the team works consistently to obtain the new target state. Digital transformation doesn’t happen magically overnight, but all those involved must make a dedicated effort until the goals are reached. Once the target state is achieved, the work doesn’t end, as will be discovered in the last phase of digital transformation: continuous improvement.
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