Project Portfolio Management

The 5 Stages of Organizational Alignment for BPM

Your IT unit may be going through a “process,” adjusting to a new set of practices or procedures. It may be difficult at times to make the necessary changes, but Jim Casey offers some comforting counsel. In a blog for IBM developerWorks, Casey shares a unique perspective on aligning IT to the organization with business process management (BPM). In this account, adopting BPM sounds an awful lot like the five stages in the Kübler-Ross model of grieving (minus the sadness part).

The Initial Phases of BPM

  1. Disillusionment
  2. Reluctant Acceptance
  3. Socialization
  4. Alignment

Without reusable governance toolkits or frameworks, the IT outfit will be chasing its own tail adjusting to the business as it changes. Each new release that doesn’t map itself properly to business needs is the unspoken magical wish – Maybe it will work out this time. Then there is the hesitant phase of reluctant acceptance:

Business thinks that IT is off playing in the technical weeds and IT believes that most of the business users would be hard pressed to use an iPhone. At the same time, there is some minimal recognition of what it takes to work together although the partnership is adversarial and fraught with conflict. 

The true breakthrough begins to occur when members of both units sit down for lunch to talk shop. A little back and forth works to cement communication lines but there is still a longing for genuine cooperation. Then finally, in the alignment stage, a shared set of guidelines and coherent checkpoints are put into action between the business and IT. Their reluctance to cooperate has dwindled and given way to regular discovery workshops. Despite this achievement, there’s always room for improvement.

The Final Stage: BPM Nirvana

The fifth stage of BPM is elusive. In fact, it has never been truly achieved. What Casey describes is an enterprise that is dedicated in its very fibers to BPM with IT, necessitating the creation of a mythical Center for Excellence / Center of Competency to maintain this lofty state of alignment.

To read the original blog, visit:

Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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