The Five Things I Learned at the "Adaptive Case Management" Conference

Yeah, I know – it was the conference, but my real interest was the Adaptive Case Management day (and the launching of the “Mastering the Unpredictable” book). Many thanks to Nataniel Palmer and Keith Swenson for setting it up.

1. My first take away is that adaptive case management covers a pretty wide swath of  approaches. Looking back at Keith Swenson’s chart on “Four Process Trends and 1 Gap” – the gap between human workflow and email is quite large – and some look at ACM as closer to the human workflow side of the spectrum, and we look it at as closer to email. That is OK, and will make for a rich set of tools, each with it own focus – but can cause people to think that we aren’t all talking about the same thing. I believe that all of ACMers are addressing the same business issue (the need for managing ad-hoc, unstructured, unpredictable human processes) – we just are going at the problem from different angles. I think all of the authors agree on that.

Swenson Gap Chart

2. People have no problem with the notion of ad-hoc, unpredictable processes – almost everyone  intuitively gets it right away.

3. The BPM folks sometimes have a difficult time with the notion that anything that has to do with processes may be outside the scope of BPM. I think everyone continually confuses business process management with what can be done with a BPMS. Since ACM handles business processes of a certain type, ACM is arguably part of business process management, but it  is clear that it is different than BPMS, and needs a different set of technologies and approaches. If you are interested in why – read the book “Mastering the Unpredictable” 🙂

4. The type of processes that lend themselves to ACM tend to be a lot like projects.

5. We need to find a wider audience to participate in the ACM community – and I am hoping that we can find business users that would like to become part of this community.


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