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Critique of existing business
The development and implementation
of a new methodology
Maria Vakola and Yacine Rezgui
University of Salford, Salford, UK
Keywords BPR, Methodology, Organizational change
Abstract Explores the need for a business process re-engineering methodology and presents a critique of the existing methodologies. The identified weaknesses served as a basis for the development of a new eight-stage BPR methodology which was implemented and evaluated within three European construction companies. Summarises these stages, highlighting the need for a more integrated approach to organisational change where the human and organisational issues are incorporated in the implementation of the BPR initiative.
Business Process Management
Journal, Vol. 6 No. 3, 2000,
pp. 238-250. # MCB University
The most frequent question asked among business process re-engineering (BPR) practitioners is: ``What methodology do you follow?'', or, ``What model do you use?'' BPR consultants are characterised and differentiate themselves by the methodology they apply. Although there are many successful practices and methodologies, many famous BPR authors, including Davenport (1993), argue that process innovation remains more ``art than science''. Furthermore, many authors argue that BPR is a relatively new discipline and area of research and, as a result, the knowledge of the subject is not sufficient to enable methodologies to be defined and developed precisely (Simsion, 1994). Whenever both BPR practitioners and theorists are involved in BPR work within a given business sector, therefore, they have concentrated on principles rather than on prescription.
The need for an assessed methodology is crucial, however, not only due to commercial pressures from BPR and information technology (IT) consultants, but also for the evolution of the field itself. Potential customers need a methodology as an important criterion in selecting the consultant. Consequently, different types of methodologies and models have begun to emerge in response to increasing commercial pressures.
This paper presents the advantages and disadvantages of using a methodology in the context of BPR. It also provides a critique of existing BPR methodologies which served as a basis for the development of the CONDOR BPR methodology. The paper also presents the main points of the implementation of this methodology to three European construction companies.
What can a methodology offer to the BPR field?
According to Preece and Peppard (1996), a methodology is simply theory put into practice aiming at dealing with real world situations. According to Valiris and Glykas (1999) a BPR methodology should provide ``a consistent set of techniques and guidelines which will enable the business process redesigner to reorganise business activities and processes in an organisation''. The use of a methodology is essential for a number of reasons. First, a methodology provides a means of codifying experience, knowledge and ideas, in a form that not only can be easily applied, but also can be evaluated and tested. Second, a methodology offers a certain level of organisation, and facilitates planning and monitoring. In BPR initiatives, a methodology enables the organisation, on the one hand, to have a clear picture of its current processes along with their associated problems and, on the other, to design the new state of these processes. In addition, by following a certain methodology, BPR ``re-engineers'' have the opportunity to monitor and evaluate the progress of the re-engineering effort.
Third, a methodology enables those who are involved or affected by the BPR to understand their tasks and clarify their roles. A BPR methodology which is clearly defined and explained to those who...
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