When I started in the field of BPM, I started hands on, creating workflows based on customer requirements. I hadn’t read any books on BPM as it just seemed like one of those fields that was really just common sense, surely no concepts and best practices could exist for just ‘workflow’, which I defined as just moving ‘stuff’ through a sequence of activities?!!?
Equipped with MS Visio and common sense, I used my own home cooked notations that people came to recognised within the company I worked for at the time. In a way I sort of faked it until I made it (isn’t that what we do in IT though?). Now this was all well and good and with most fields, you learn by mistakes but I started noticing that some of the process decisions I’d made during design didn’t turn out to be as efficient because I’d gone for the big bang solution as opposed to the agile. My ability to communicate my idea’s wasn’t based on any common concepts so became difficult in some instances and when I showed my home cooked Visio masterpieces, some people just didn’t quite get it.
Like most, I’ve learnt a lot over the years, working with different clients and within different companies, using their own standards taught by their BA’s and also using industry standard approaches and modelling notations. One thing I do know is that although BPM from the outset may appear like an easy thing to get into as its mostly common sense coupled with a good ability to draw shapes, it’s not and whether you have a technical background or not, BPM requires you read up on some fundamental concepts.
My point here? – If you’re starting in BPM, read white papers, go to BPM focused community sites and forums and start to understand the most common business processes (or level zero processes as they’re referred to by some). A nice starter is a free BPM for Dummies book. I personally like the ‘Dummies’ series of books for getting into most new subjects at a basic level. A free copy of the BPM for Dummies book is available via http://www.BPM.com if you sign up. This link may take you directly to the pdf copy of the book itself, otherwise click here to signup and get access to it.