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Chaos Theory in Business Change

    • A summary of our Breakfast Forum Launch.

      Chaos theory is a field of study in mathematics, with applications in several disciplines and I believe it has very real applications in the area of Modern Business Transformation (MBT) and its related BPM implementation concepts. I saw this pattern more clearly as we discussed these topics at our first Procensol Breakfast Forum.

      First, let’s summarise some key highlights from the breakfast which included:

      1. MBT initiatives strongly require senior executive buy in and sponsorship to succeed.
      2. MBT usually involve technology explorations too late, resulting in square-peg-round-hole syndrome.
      3. MBT using Agile as an implementation method tends to be unsuccessful due to lack of skills in the Project Management and Process Analysis areas. Agile works well on the development team side only.
      4. We discovered the idea that scope creep in MBT may not be a “bad word”. But how does this play out in Agile implementations when it comes to cost control?

      As you can see, just from these four points alone, how you start your journey greatly impacts the predictability of your journey. Hence Chaos Theory…

      Small differences in initial conditions yield widely diverging outcomes for such dynamical systems, rendering long-term prediction impossible in general. This happens even though these systems are deterministic, meaning that their future behavior is fully determined by their initial conditions, with no random elements involved. In other words, the deterministic nature of these systems does not make them predictable. This behavior is known as deterministic chaos, or simply chaos.

      – Wikipedia on Chaos Theory

      So in short, the initial conditions must be as consistent as possible to yield a better future behavior. We must focus on higher quality up front to increase our chances of success later down the journey. I can think of a few “condition” categories we can start to expand on for a more successful MBT:

      1. A forward-thinking senior executive team that respects innovation and BPM for change.
      2. A future-proof and robust enterprise technology platform. The Appian platform, for example, falls into this category.
      3. A high-quality Agile BPM implementation framework for high-speed, consistent MBT
      4. A well trained team of experts equally from Business and Technology sides.
      5. A great respect for Architecture-Driven approaches.

      Have you considered these conditions? How are you going with yours? Can you think of more conditions?

  • About the Author

    Mervin Chiang

    Chief Operating Officer

    As Procensol’s Chief Operating Officer Mervin brings more than a decade of experience in strategic thinking, software, systems and process-centric design for business transformation to the operations of the organisation. Mervin is responsible for Procensol’s Asia Pacific region. Originally from Singapore and now based in Brisbane Australia, Mervin has held positions ranging from strategic BPM consulting, channel management, CIO, CTO to vendor management.

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