How to Develop People-Centric Process Management

Written by emily | 2 min read
Published on: June 15th 2017 - Last modified: May 28th, 2021
BPM with people-centric process management

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers,” says Voltaire. But sometimes in business, knowing what questions to even ask can be a challenge. That’s where Mark McGregor and Ian Gotts come in. Their book “Thinking of People-Centric Process Management? Ask the Smart Questions” explores people-centric process management from a new perspective -- one focused on asking the right (and sometimes hard) questions. Since Signavio prides itself in designing software that makes process management accessible for everyone, we’re excited to offer a free download of the book.

Asking smarter questions can lead to better processes that people will actually use. This is people-centric process management.


McGregor and Gotts believe that business process management (BPM) is not a discipline limited to IT or technical fields, but is instead a role meant to be filled by business professionals. And that’s their audience for this book: business professionals who are leading or involved in process change or business transformation projects, no matter the discipline or sector.


People-centric process management


McGregor and Gotts point out that, in today’s world, BPM can be applied in a variety of ways from System-centric BPM to Document-centric BPM to Human-centric BPM just to name a few. But none of these approaches take into account the people behind the processes. The focus has instead been on the technology and even, in some cases, replacing the roles of people involved.


But this approach is ineffective. Processes are ultimately unusable and inefficient if the people who are using them haven’t been taken into account during the design and implementation periods. The authors believe that engaging the people behind the process will deliver better results -- for the processes, for the business, and for the people. How do they suggest you do this? By asking smarter questions.


What’s a smart question?


Smart questions are ones that result in valuable insights when answered. Normally, these insights are gained through years of experience with failure, inefficiencies, or mediocre success. But with today’s rapid pace of change, there’s no time to waste during transformation projects. So how do you change processes in a smarter, more efficient way?


Transformation projects vary in size and scope, but what is at the very heart of them is always the same: changing the way people do what they do. McGregor and Gotts believe that starting out by just changing the process won’t be a sustainable solution. Instead, professionals leading transformation projects need to start by asking questions that get to the heart of the current process before diving into change.


They divide questions into three categories: people questions, process questions, and technology questions. The first category helps professionals understand the organizational and cultural context that will affect any transformation project. The second and third get to the heart of the process itself while also considering the IT factors that will directly impact the transformation project. Each set of questions is designed to lead you to smarter answers that will result in better processes that people will actually use, meaning people-centric process management.


No matter your industry, if you’re a business professional leading or going through a transformation project, knowing which questions to ask will go a long way in helping you succeed.

Published on: June 15th 2017 - Last modified: May 28th, 2021