Where did BPM come from and what is its history?
Process thinking is not new. In fact it can be traced back as far as the craft guilds of the 13th century. Today, it represents a convergence of several disciplines that, enabled by technology, provide orgnaisations with the ability to develop, document, improve, automate and monitor business processes.
The main disciplines and milestones affecting the development of BPM as we know it today are:
Automation / Manufacturing
Commencing with the craft guilds in the 13th century, Whitney’s development of muskets with interchangeable parts in 1798, Taylors division of labour and time studies, Fords mass production (1900s) represent the major milestones in manufacturing / automation systems development.
Scientific Management: The emergence of quality assurance as a standalone discipline in the 1920s (Shweart, Dodge, Edwards, W Edwards Deming), the emergence of Statistical Quality Control in the 1930s (Sheward) and the work of W Edwards Deming and Joseph Juran in Japan in the 1950, the development and documenting the Toyota Production System (1920-present day) – also known as Lean, and the development of Six Sigma by Bill Smith, Motorola in the 1980s established the basis for modern quality management systems.
Quality Management Systems
Using scientific management as a foundation a number of Quality Management Systems emerged, the most widely adopted ones being: The European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM), and the ISO9000 series of standards emerged in the late 1980s. Initially, quality systems were documentation focussed. Over time, they have become process focussed. Most recently, the International Conference for Harmonization has created standards to create global quality standards in Life Sciences organisations. These standards build on the capabilities of the ISO standards and other regional Good Manufacturing Practices.
The work of key influencers in modern management such as, Peter Druker who developed Management by Objectives (1950s), Kaplan and Norton who developed the Balanced Scorecard (1990s), Mike Hammer Business process-re-engineering.
The emergence of computer science, computer systems, business applications and global networks has enabled the standardisation and automation of many business processes. Key influencers in these areas have been authors and practitioners such as Geary Rumler and Alan Brache, who commenced Business Process Management Notation standards and improvement methodologies. Today there are a number of notation methodologies and methodologies from which to choose. Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) enables the conversion of process language to programme code and it emerged initially in 2003 with its first major publication as a standard in 2007.