Guest Column | November 20, 2017

7 Deadly Sins Of Business Process Management

By Sarah Berkowski, Promapp Solutions


Like the seven deadly sins – those transgressions which are so grave they destroy the spirit and put individuals on the path to eternal damnation – the seven deadly sins of business process management (BPM) can wreak havoc on your company’s process improvement efforts and ultimately prove to be fatal to your organization’s growth.  

There are signs to watch out for that indicate your business has fallen victim to BPM’s seven deadly sins. The good news is that salvation, in the form of business process improvement, is still possible.

Pride – It’s not about you. Process pride comes in the form of the “process guru” who sits in the corner office, documenting business processes that no one will ever use or even look at. And why should they? The processes are mapped by someone who has never actually followed any of the processes. They’re formatted in Visio diagrams or Word docs which are difficult to use. And they’re stored in a folder somewhere on the shared drive, guarded by – surprise – the process guru. To be successful, everyone in the organization must be able to participate in process management and improvement. Democratizing process management and involving teams who actually use the processes are keys to BPM success.

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 improvement participation.

Wrath – Angry people aren’t cooperative people. Ineffective process management can be frustrating for both teams and customers. Teams will give up if processes are complicated and hard to understand, or inaccurate and out-of-date. Without a centralized repository, processes are hard to find when people are in a hurry to get the job done. This makes them resentful and angry, and ultimately stifles collaboration and process improvement. Do your teams and your business a favor by simplifying processes, making sure they’re up-to-date and easy to find.

Gluttony – Overindulgence will choke your BPM efforts. When it comes to process mapping, “the more the merrier” should be replaced by “less is more.” Rather than packing your business processes full of detail, keep them simple and smart. Doing so will result in processes that help, not hinder, your team’s efforts. Your team will thank you and your processes will actually be used.

Envy – Focus here, not there. Many organizations are already reaping the benefits of a strong process culture. They have appointed a chief process officer and identified process champions. They have leadership buy-in and support. Those companies struggling with a weak process culture can be overcome with envy. Organizations should recognize that what works for another company may not work for them. Find the process improvement methodology and pace that works best for your business.
Lust – No longevity from single encounters. Process improvement efforts require passion. But building a healthy process culture demands a long-term commitment. A relentless focus on challenging the status quo needs to be embedded in the culture of your organization, becoming part of what everyone does every day. When it comes to a BPM approach that fosters a culture of change and improvement, slow and steady always wins the race.

Greed – BPM is a shared team effort. Processes belong to the people. It’s true that process ownership by individuals is important, but it should never be to the exclusion of the teams who use those processes every day. Encourage process owners to share their processes and invite others to participate in reviewing them and suggesting improvements. Focus improvement discussions on the process, not the person. And remember, teams who use the processes daily are best positioned to identify opportunities for improvement. They need to feel empowered to do so.

Don’t fall victim to ineffective business processes. Keep the seven deadly sins of BPM in mind, and reap the rewards of successful process improvement efforts.


Sarah Berkowski is Chief Marketing Officer for Promapp Solutions, an industry leading provider of cloud-based process management (BPM) software for creating and managing business processes online. You can visit Promapp at