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“In class when I mapped the freight process, I discovered that the operational process was not the main issue; instead we had some key decisions at the strategic level to consider. Back at work, I have already shared the maps I developed with others and I am developing some dashboards to collect data to focus our improvement efforts. Shelley asked some insightful questions that influenced my thinking and put me in a stronger position to demonstrate what needed to be done.”

Theresa Quinn Accurso
Director of Finance
Shure Inc.


Introduce Yourself for Success as the BPM Facilitator

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 5.07.22 PMDear i4Process:

We have been doing process improvement in our healthcare organization for several years.  I would like to know,  “How does a BPM Facilitator successfully position him/herself when working with a team for the first time?”

Dear Potential BPM Facilitator,

Let me begin by giving a definition of a BPM Facilitator to clarify what it means in the i4Process lexicon. The BPM Facilitator is an individual experienced with the BPM Methodology, but someone who does not need to know the specific steps of the process well.  Using strong group process skills and BPM skills, he guides the business process improvement (BPI) team members through the steps of the BPI Project.  If the organization has no staff to fill this role, the BPM Facilitator may be an outside consultant contracted for the project.

Here are three things the BPM Facilitator can do to get off to a good start and successfully position him/herself when working with a team for the first time.

The Charter

The charter preceeds the first meeting of the team.  The four team leaders (Executive Sponsor, Process Owner, Project Lead, and BPM Facilitator) formulate the charter and identify the team members.  Other blogs include more specifics on the charter  (Here’s one:          and the team members  (.,,..).  What is important is that in the charter the leaders give specifics on the improvement targets, vision, measures, and scope for the project.  The leaders also enroll the team members and provide time for the project.

Kick Off Meeting

The kickoff meeting is critical to the success of the BPI project.  It is run by the Project Lead and the BPM Facilitator, and the Process Owner has a role in it.  In this meeting, the Process Owner relates the key elements of the charter, the importance of the project for the organization, and thanks the team members for their participation.  The Process Owner provides the context for why this process needs to be improved (in other words some of the known problems with it now) and his expectations for improvements.

The Process Owner should also introduce the Project Lead and BPM Facilitator to the team during this kickoff.  The Project Lead and BPM Facilitator will then lead further aspects of the Kickoff meeting – namely reviewing the high level map and adding revisions from the team, talking about all the roles and responsibilities of the leaders and the team (which are documented in the charter), and providing a schedule for the working sessions.  The roles and responsibilities section gives everyone a chance to understand their role and differentiate if from others on the team. 

First workshop with the Team

Yet, it is possible that there was no kickoff meeting in your organization and the BPM Facilitator is just ‘diving into’ the first working session with the BPI team.  Then this first meeting has to cover some of the items listed above.  And the BPM Facilitator would run this meeting although the Project Lead will have important roles.  Without a charter and kickoff meeting ahead, these items need to be included:

Purpose of the project, current challenges, improvement targets, vision – It would be great if the Process Owner could be there for part of the meeting, and do this; otherwise the Project Lead should do it.

Roles – Discuss the 4 leader roles, and all the team roles.  BPM Facilitator should do this.    The BPM Facilitator should also explain the difference between his role and Project Lead role; here it is important for the BPM Facilitator to emphasize that he does not know the process well and will keep a neutral posture about comments and ideas with the group;  the Project lead on the other hand is a strong subject matter expert, is responsible for keeping the team on track to the Process Owner goals, and will operationalize the recommended improvements.  The BPM Facilitator should have a discussion with the whole team about what role each is playing, what expertise they bring, and how each member will contribute.

Roadmap –  Explain the meetings for the BPI improvement project with dates, times, and who comes to each.  Have the schedule laid out ahead for all the meetings.  The BPM Facilitator does this. 

The high level map.  This is usually part of the charter, but could be created instead by the Project Lead and Process Owner.  The Project Lead would review the high level map steps with the team and then the BPM Facilitator would ask the team

  • Are there any steps that are missing?
  • Steps in the wrong order?
  • Have we started at the right starting point and ended at the right ending point?  (This is critical for clarifying scope.)

These questions will facilitate a good team discussion.  Just be careful not to let the team get too detailed.  Remind them that will happen with the swim lane map. 

 That’s enough for the first meeting and should take about 2 hours.

Want to learn more about running a BPM Project?  Join one of my online classes, Starting and Organizing a BPM Project and Analyzing and Optimizing BPM Processes in Sept and Oct.  

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2 comments to Introduce Yourself for Success as the BPM Facilitator

  • Delia Clark

    Building relationships with the sponsor, project lead is critical. The three of you become a united team to deal with any challenges. As a facilitator we are there to guide them through the analysis process. If the sponsor sets improvement targets and identifies the challenges and the importance of participation be the team members it allows the facilitator to point the team to the sponsors goals.

  • Violet Fernandez

    A governance group could end duplication of efforts and bring teams together that are impacted by common processes. Additionally, in the hopes of fixing “their part” of a larger process, teams will build custom solutions that do not work well or integrate with the processes supported by other teams. They focus is solely improving “their” times and may offer up outputs, but not necessarily in a form that can be readily consumed by the next team/task. It is up to the next team to figure out how to digest that input. This might be flagged by a governance team.

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