Forget BPM, we need holiday process management

As a native of France, few things are more curious than the process by which Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. It isn’t an easy holiday for anyone…except maybe the children. But Americans throw themselves into it. They bring their best game.

They rise to the occasion every third Thursday in November perhaps because they know it only comes but once per year and is arguably the most American of holidays (hey, everyone has some sort of 4th of July). They need to do it well.

For non-American readers, you have to live a Thanksgiving in the U.S. to understand how much Americans invest themselves. You can miss a Christmas or a birthday, but miss Thanksgiving and you’ve committed a crime against family.

Holiday process management

Thanksgiving is such a tradition that it varies remarkably little from house to house. There is a national process for Thanksgiving that involves not just the meal, but the journey, the parade, and after-meal NFL football games, watched through half-closed eyes in a near food coma. It’s the one day per year that guests can lounge on the couch and fall asleep in the living room. There is no decorum on an over-full stomach.

This will be my sixth Thanksgiving and I’ve become an expert. The process map looks something like this:

Could Thanksgiving use a little process improvement? Undoubtedly. But why fool around with tradition? This one is just fine the way it is.
UPDATE 11/21/2012: And from our friend Anne Lepesant who lives in SoCal with her French husband and multi-cultural kids on being an American on Thanksgiving in France:


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Categories: Process Management

Author:Jeanne Roué-Taylor

I'm fascinated by disruptive technology and its impact on our world. I manage sales operations for an excellent startup with a unique team of highly experienced data scientists.

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4 Comments on “Forget BPM, we need holiday process management”

  1. November 21, 2012 at 7:48 am #

    Well, we French also have something happening on the third thursday of November: Beaujolais Nouveau. Looking forward to my first thanksgiving in the US. Thanks for the tips.

  2. November 22, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    Jeanne, you have assimilated the true American Thankgiving! What a great post, and that process map…well done (like the perfect Thanksgiving bird).
    BUT – Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday in November, one week after the Beaujolais Nouveau (which actually goes pretty well with the turkey and the fixin’s).
    For our American Thanksgiving in France, we have added a cheese course, and pretty much eliminated the pumpkin pie (I have yet to meet a French person who likes it.) And we do very well without the whole football thing. Just sayin’.

  3. November 26, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    Dear Jeanne, that case is quite inspiring indeed!
    And actually I think the need for modeling the process is not just contingent.
    My impression is that there is a plethora of vacation-like personal processes that may need modeling.
    And the enterprise BPM approaches do not fit with the requirements of end users.
    I’ve been thinking about it for while, Personal Process Management (PPM) could be a discipline by its own. You can have a look at our concept and idea here: .

    What’s next? I’m experimenting with a few variants of PPM notations.. I’ll keep you posted about the outcomes of the experiment (so you can use it for the next holiday!).


    • Jeanne Roué-Taylor
      November 26, 2012 at 9:41 am #

      Thanks, Marco. I look forward to seeing your PPM when you have it. Keep in mind, Christmas is in just four weeks…

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