Everybody lies! ™ or casuistry of business process description

    One of the methods of collecting information about the process is to conduct an interview with the owner or participants of this business process. This traditional approach is very common, especially among novice business analysts and seasoned consultants from Big4. It would seem very reasonable to listen to a person, formalize his monologue and coordinate the result with him - this is quick and not costly. One thing is bad - at the stage of analyzing the adequacy of the results of modeling activities (if this is provided), the collected data is rejected because of their inconsistency and inconsistency, the process of collecting data on the process should be repeated first, “to the joy” of all project participants. Why is this happening? As you can see from the headline, the matter is in the respondents. Below, using concrete examples from personal experience, I will show why such a conclusion was made and how to deal with it.

    I'll start with a small disclaimer: I'm not a psychologist, but a business consultant, all conclusions are based on project management in fictional organizations, coincidences are random. Of course, in a small organization with small processes this may not be observed, but starting from the level of "management" and "department" this is very close. I must say right away that people often do not lie intentionally and unconsciously, believe in people and all that.

    1 reason: camouflage own incompetence

    At the planning stage of the project, the head of the unit responsible for providing the data appoints experts in full confidence that they certainly know the whole process and will be able to answer all questions. After appointment to the project, these experts have nowhere to go, they have to bear responsibility for providing information. If he is asked a question not out of his competence, then he shares his fantasies on the topic “how could this happen in my opinion”. Saying “I don’t know, contact another expert” means for him a painting in his incompetence and the corresponding possible organizational conclusions from the head who appointed him.
    In one of the projects, I was invited to a group cross-section interview as a third party in order to participate in a farce. Everything was beautiful - consultants ask questions to a specially designated person, the person solemnly answers, a protocol is being kept. At the end of the meeting, the consultants read out the results and clarify with the person whether everything is correct, he claims that everyone is happy and is preparing to disperse, but here I ask a question like “And at what point are documents A and B actually created?” The responsible person darkens and recalls that yes, indeed, he lied a little and the process goes “a little differently”.
    In this case, I just prepared for the meeting as a processor - I studied the process according to the methodology, made a couple of calls to the participants of the process in the field and noted for myself all the inputs and outputs, so as not to be bored for the interview.

    Hence the first advice - do not let people lie. Instead of asking, “How does A turn into B?”, One must ask, “Do I understand correctly that this and that are needed to turn A into B?” So the expert will chide you "What do you understand in sausage scraps!" And with a sense of self-esteem will tell all the details as in spirit. But for this you need to conduct an interview prepared.

    2 reason: corporate solidarity

    The fact that process management makes corporate governance transparent is not only a slogan of BPM vendors, but also the harsh truth of life. The processor can ask simple, but uncomfortable questions for the unit manager. There are a lot of skeletons in corporate cabinets, especially where the development of the organization is ahead of the stagnation of one unit.
    At the stage of constructing the VAD value-added model, it was not possible to tie in any reasonable value to the work of one unit. The draft contract fell into this unit for three to four days, then with a visa he went further along the process. The subdivision is not specialized, it does not control; process locks never occur at this stage. It’s strange. Several times I sent business analysts to this division to figure out what happens to the documents in the division, why do I need the signatures of its managers? After some time, the management of the unit surrendered: it turns out that once upon a time they themselves kept their register of draft contracts, it was important for them to be aware that such contracts exist. Then they introduced special software for risk analysis of such agreements, gave them access to it, and they forgot to change the process.

    There is only one advice - always ask not only “How”, but also “Why”, the performers are involved in any activity.

    3 reason: self-interest

    This is the most common case. Everyone probably came across sometimes with the tasks of the leadership - to paint their tasks. For those who are head over heels in work, a couple of lines end their imagination, and loafers write down three pages each, sticking out a tongue (I saw it myself). Therefore, an attempt to increase its significance by increasing the complexity of operations is not even a lie, but as a means of resistance to possible dismissal.
    Recently, a department head asked me to help him in calculating the efficiency and disposal of his employees. In one of the lines of the data provided, the eye caught on the operation “Photocopying documents - 1 hour (figure changed).” I specified, is there really so much low-skilled work in a unit of such a solid organization? The boss says:
    - Yes, a lot of such work.
    - And how many copiers do you have?
    - One
    - And the employees?
    - 15 (figure changed)
    - Everyone lies!
    (Buddy Watson! An 8-hour working day, 15 performers physically will not be able to use one resource exclusively for 1 hour)

    Advice - whenever possible, give priority to data obtained by instrumental means, rather than subjective assessment of interested parties.

    4 reason: trust, but verify ...

    I do not want to mention this here, but in life everything is found. Sometimes there are participants in the project who not only do not help, but also intentionally lead by the nose, taking the results of the project away from reality.
    The process data collection phase in one of the projects stalled in the most unpredictable place. While all organizations measure effectiveness in one understandable amount, for example, in rubles, this organization used parrots per square meter as the unit of effectiveness. All attempts to obtain the necessary data from the business unit failed. The deadlines for the stage are delayed, but there is no result. I am writing a service in IT, where I use SQL and use my fingers to explain which report is needed. They did everything right, send a report to me, open, drive in new columns with formulas in Excel, he thinks, and I am surprised. The desired schedule turned out to be not quite the form that I expected (and I was well versed in that topic, being a technologist of this process in the past). The answer to the weirdness of the schedule was found in one of the contracts that we managed to collect,

    Well, do you still believe the results of interviews with experts? I hope you are lucky and the results are adequate, no matter what.
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