The 7 deadly sins of business process management.

Are the words ‘business process management’ followed by an eerie silence in your organization? Redeem your processes - say no to the 7 deadly sins of BPM.

The 7 deadly sins of BPM can wreak havoc with your business process improvement efforts. Escape the horror with these tips and breathe new life into your process improvement efforts.

Are your teams spooked by the (lack of) business processes in your organization? Did you embark on business improvement efforts once, but those efforts have since been laid to rest, now covered in cobwebs? Do your people howl in terror at the complexity they face in the workplace?

These may be signs that your organization has fallen victim to the seven deadly sins of BPM. Do not fear! Here’s what you should watch out for to prevent your teams from approaching business process improvement in a zombie-like state:

Pride – it’s not about you

Process pride comes in the form of the ‘process guru’ who sits in the corner office, documenting processes that no-one uses and will never look at. Why won’t they? Because the processes are mapped by someone who’s never actually followed any of those processes. Because they’re formatted in Visio diagrams and Word docs.  And because they’re stored in a folder on the shared drive somewhere, guarded by… the process guru.

To be successful, everyone across the organization must be able to participate in process management and improvements. Democratizing process management and involving the teams who actually use the processes is key to BPM success.

“These processes are mine, I tell you… MINE!”

Sloth – effort will be required

Business process management can be hard work. It takes investment and continuous effort. It requires the commitment of a process champion, along with the buy-in of your teams to review and update processes to keep your improvement efforts alive.

There is no place for laziness and complacency in a culture of change and improvement. Clear process ownership, accountability and governance are required. Put the right people in the right roles, and lead from the front to encourage process participation.

“BPM? I’ve tossed it in the too-hard basket.”

Wrath – angry people aren’t cooperative people

Ineffective process management can be frustrating for teams and for customers. When processes are complicated and hard to understand, or inaccurate and out-of-date, teams will give up. Processes will not be used. Without a centralized process repository, processes are hard to find when people are in a hurry to get the job done. It makes them resentful and angry, and it stifles collaboration and process improvement.  


Do your team and your business a favor – simplify your processes, make sure they’re up-to-date and easy to find where and when teams need them.

“I see red when I don’t know where to find the process I need right now!”

Gluttony – overindulgence will choke your BPM efforts

“The more the merrier” is a mantra that is best replaced with ‘less is more” when it comes to process mapping. Excess is a killer when you’re creating business processes.

Rather than packing your process full of detail, keep it simple and keep it smart. Your processes will help, not hinder, your team’s efforts. Your team will thank you and your processes will be used because they are helpful.

“I want to give a step-by-step account of exactly what happens in every situation… on this Visio diagram.”

Envy – focus here, not there

Many organizations are already reaping the benefit of a strong process culture – they’ve appointed a chief process officer and identified process champions, they have leadership buy-in and support, and they’ve invested in a good BPM tool. Those who are struggling with a weak process culture can be overcome with an envy that is paralyzing. Also, what works for another organization may not work for yours. You need to find the process improvement methodology and pace that works for your business.

Don’t wait - make a start. It’s never too late, and no effort is too small.

“I wish my organization prioritized BPM like those successful businesses that I read about.”

Lust – no longevity from single encounters

Process improvement efforts require passion. But building a healthy process culture requires a long-term commitment, not a one-night stand. Business process improvement is not a one-time project. A relentless focus on challenging the status quo needs to be embedded in the culture of your organization - and become a part of what everyone does, every day.


When it comes to a business process management approach that fosters a culture of change and improvement, slow and steady wins the race.

“I’m hot and heavy about processes. For a week. Once a year.”

Greed – BPM is a shared team effort

Processes belong to the people. It’s true that process ownership by individuals is key, but not to the exclusion of the teams who use those processes every day. Encourage process owners to share their processes and to invite others to participate in reviewing them and suggesting improvements.

Focus improvement discussions on the process, not the person. And remember, the teams who use the processes daily are best positioned to identify opportunities for improvement. They need to feel empowered to do so.

“I want complete autonomy over processes, and I don’t need anyone’s help to make them effective.”

Make BPM a treat, not a trick

At Nintex Promapp we have helped hundreds of organizations escape the horror of ineffective business process management. Get in touch if you’d like to hear more about how we can help you, or sign up for a free 30-day trial below to see Nintex Promapp in action.

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