Ask Us Answered: Process Roles and Responsibilities—Where Do They Belong?

Christine Kelley's picture

What’s on the minds of other process and knowledge practioners? Ask Us Answered is an APQC blog series that shares a sample of the questions members submit to APQC’s Ask Us service along with the resources and expertise provided.  If you’re an APQC member and have a question you’d like us to answer please Ask Us!

You can also follow us on Twitter @APQC  

Question: A member from the electronics industry recently asked a question sparked by the slide (found at the end of this post) in APQC’s Business Process Management: Maturity Assessment Benchmarks which asked, “How does process management contribute to job role creation and understanding?” Two interpretations of the question were being debated, and the member asked which is correct. Turns out, the answer provides insight into the maturity of BPM within the organization. Here are the proposed interpretations:

  1. This question is related to the embedding of process management roles—like business process owner, process architect, process manager, etc.—in the organization
  2. This question is to assess how process management is helping to “link and clarify” all organization roles to processes so that their “role to play” in the process is clear

Which is correct?

Answer: Both summations are correct. APQC defines process management roles as “the formal or informal process management roles and responsibilities that align with the organizational or functional roles (e.g., formal process owners).” Where these responsibilities lie depends on the maturity of the organization.

Initially or early in the organizations maturity model the organization’s process roles are very explicit   such as process owners (similar to the #1 interpretation from your team). But as the organization matures and it shifts from a functional to process-thinking culture, process roles are more broadly linked to functional roles within the organization, everyone has a process role, and you start to see process roles integrated with job descriptions and career paths (which is similar to the #2 interpretation of your team).

Recommended reads: APQC recently created a report that dives into the BPM Maturity model in greater detail, specifically 1-5 scale maturity model for each of the Seven Tenets. This question is related to the governance tenet and we would recommend The Building Blocks of Process Management Maturity: Governance for additional information.

Resources provided by APQC expert, Holly Lyke-Ho-Gland, Principal Research Lead, Process and Performance Management. You can follow Holly on Twitter @hlykehogland.

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