The Tomb of ACM isn’t Empty!

– On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into  the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.” – Luke 24:1-8

The Resurrection of Christ by Noel Coypel

Actually, the story of the empty tomb that signifies the resurrection of Jesus is found in four different gospels, Mark 16:1-8, Matthew 28:1-10, John 20:1-13, and Luke 24:1-8 the shortest one as above. In 1 Corinthians 15, St. Paul says “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”

Well, it has been three days since I provocatively pronounced the death of ACM and buried it in a tomb and rolled a huge stone in front of it. I am standing next to the tomb that I have buried ACM in and it is not empty. Our savior and king is still in there, wrapped in his burial cloth. I want to roll away the stone that protects the tomb, but I am missing the earthquake that should have kicked it aside. I would like to step inside to see if some facial image has imprinted itself on the shroud, so that we would have at least some sacred object to worship. No such luck. Maybe I am missing the two women who wanted to visit the tomb of the slain king. I can’t see two shiny angels, who would tell me to go to Galilee where I could meet the resurrected king.

All you ACM proponents disappointed me! I was hoping for a kind of uproar. I was hoping for a resurrection in more shiny splendor than before. I wanted to show that our lord couldn’t be crucified by Romans (BPM believers) as an unpleasant usurper. I hoped for proof that our faith was unwavering and true. I wanted to challenge the faithful to pronounce their faith loud and clear and rally behind their king and pronounce me the antichrist, the false prophet and the goat-footed devil. No such thing happened. Where art thou ye faithful???

It truly seems as if your faith in ACM was too weak or even just pretended for your own benefit. You all have your flags hanging in the wind. Not one of you stood up to challenge me and accuse me of the most horrible crime. I admitted to being Brutus and I got more accolades than boos. When I proposed my faith before, I was accused of trying to ‘carve out a fiefdom’ or ‘hijack the acronym’. Honestly, those accusations have also been exposed as self-serving.  Yes, you are all honorable men, but you all serve your own purpose more than you are willing to serve the faith.

That is all I wanted to show. Enough of metaphors and similes and back to business. I will continue to promote ACM as a subset of BPM and I will more than ever focus on my own faith in Complex Adaptive Systems.  Thank you for reading!

I am the founder and Chief Technology Officer of Papyrus Software, a medium size software company offering solutions in communications and process management around the globe. I am also the owner and CEO of MJP Racing, a motorsports company focused on Rallycross or RX, a form of circuit racing on mixed surfaces that has been around for 40 years. I hold 8 national and international championship titles in RX. My team participates in the World Championship along Petter Solberg, Sebastian Loeb and Ken Block.

Posted in Adaptive Case Management
12 comments on “The Tomb of ACM isn’t Empty!
  1. You almost seem downbeat in this one…


  2. Andrew, TOO FUNNY! Isn’t is strange how one can never judge how someone else feels!

    Thanks for the comment! Max


  3. Tom Shepherd says:

    Perhaps the “faithful” are tired of religious wars as they only ever lead to bloodshed, disappointment and fractured factions? :-)


    • Tom, I would agree with you. But why is it seen as a religious war? Do you? All I have tried is to clarify for the benefit of our prospects what ACM is supposed to be. I even asked the question on the ACM forums and on my blog if it is the same as i.e. Forrester’s DCM? The answer was no but without the next step to define what the differences are.

      I have said that I am tired of the arguments about what ACM is or not is and whether it is part of BPM or is the same as other BPMS. But if there is no sufficient definition, then using the term makes no sense as it just creates more confusion. One of the reasons that the ACM is loosing its luster, is because Forrester did the DCM Wave and the vendors being ‘allowed’ to participate are happy to go with it.

      If the ‘faithful’ are tired too then we can stop using the term ACM. I am ok with that too, because at least that is a clear limitation of functionality but it is at least a definition. Is that now the official position of Global360? ACM equals DCM?

      Thanks for reading and responding, Max


  4. Tom Shepherd says:


    My original response was intended to be a bit of humor, hopefully that wasn’t lost. :-)

    Perhaps “religious war” was the wrong term. Maybe it’s more like a session of US Congress, complete with filibusters? And increasing number of the conversations about ACM seem to drone on and on and focus on what MOST people see as subtle differences, argued by the same five or six people, all of whom have a vested interest in their points of view. For that matter, I don’t think many of the “experts” even agree what makes ACM adaptive. That does ACM no good.

    Stepping back from this small community and looking at it objectively as someone new to ACM might, I don’t see a cohesive, aligned group of individuals driving the concept forward, so failing that, many people will look to the analysts to drive the definition as they see it.

    Is Adaptive the same as Dynamic? Some would say that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” I said “some” would say, not I would say, however given Forrester’s focus on Dynamic Business Applications, it’s no surprise that the Case Management market was badged as Dynamic as well.

    Do I believe that the DCM Wave represents what I see as Adaptive Case Management? No, not exactly, even if there is an overlap in some areas. As I’ve said in the past, I feel that the DCM Wave scored things differently than I would have, or than most of the folks who participated in the WfMC Case Management Summit would have. And I believe that one or two of the vendors in the Wave were rewarded for products and solutions that “could” be integrated leading them to appear to have more comprehensive solutions than perhaps could easily be put into production. I personally value a single, integrated solution over the universe of possibilities that I could get from integrating three or four or five solutions, but that wasn’t scored.

    So, where does that leave us? First, make no mistake, I’m glad that SOME form of Case Management has analyst coverage. At a minimum it increases awareness that there are solutions that tackle knowledge work differently than BPMS would.

    Second, I don’t believe ACM is losing its luster. I’ve been out in the field more for the past few months working with customers on what they consider to be Adaptive Case Management projects, and the technology and approach are being very well utilized. So in practical terms, ACM is alive and well.



  5. Tom, I take all of this humorously including your reply, even if some think that my writing is ‘violent’ or at least blunt. Yes, I am quite direct, but I don’t attack people and I have valid arguments that hardly are ever disputed, but if inconvenient simply ignored.

    That it is still unclear what I think is adaptive about ACM amazes me, to say the least. I don’t think that this is by chance or that my explanations lack in clarity. It is intentional.

    I don’t see ACM loosing it’s luster, but it is loosing its credibility if we fail to come to a cohesive and understandable definiton. My original definition is still on the ‘Mastering The Unpredictable’ website and still this is not what the proponents can agree on.

    We do mostly projects that utilize the ADAPTIVE paradigm. It is received well, but there is a lot of uncertainty in the projects with customers as to why the community and analysts don’t seem to validate what we are doing. When then projects take a bit more time a lot of convincing is necessary to keep them hanging in there.

    These projects are therefore live and well, while the ACM acronym in my mind isn’t. You and me agree on a holistic system perspective, but that is exactly what many others oppose.

    Anyway, I am just trying to shake things up to move the subject forward from these frozen positions. I don’t seem to be successful and I won’t continue to try, but simply go ahead and do my thing.

    Thanks again for commenting, Max


  6. Tom Shepherd says:

    Max, that’s the thing, YOUR definition of ACM is just that. Yours. It’s based on your experience, your customers and your product. So saying that it’s unclear what you believe isn’t accurate. It’s that not everyone agrees with you. And in all honesty, I don’t see that as a BAD thing, it’s just human nature. Much as not everyone agrees what makes a BPMS or even BPM the discipline.

    Take for example, integrated versus distributed systems. I agree that holistic systems are better because they lead to faster implementations, but I also accept that, especially related to content repositories and data integration, there are times when integration with other systems is necessary and even desirable. Still, I don’t expect everyone who supports ACM to agree with that opinion, because it is just that, my opinion backed up by my experience.

    What we all agree on is that Adaptive Case Management allows just that, adaptation. Whether it is automatically through user trained agents, or manually through the ability to deal with unpredictable work via task management, that’s a feature level discussion best left for proof of concepts, and one that makes for interesting selling and implementing. I’m sure your customers are as happy with the outcome of their implementations as customers of other vendors are, it’s just a matter of their perspective and requirements.

    Best regards.


  7. Tom, thanks again. Unfortunately, no one reads and listens. This is not about my definition of MY system. I try to lead a discussion about business needs and not about unique selling points.

    I have absolutely no problem with someone not agreeing with me. I am trying to push for a consolidated definition of the business need for an ACM system that will actually allow a business to run processes in an adaptive manner without a business user having to cross system boundaries.

    I have never said that we don’t want to integrate or think that customers should just have one system. We have a substantial list of integration options without which we couldn’t do a single project. What I propose is that the larger business benefits of ACM can’t be truly achieved with a fragmented process landscape. That is something totally different than not integrating archives or other silos.

    If ACM is just runtime adaptation of processes then we can just stick with Forrester’s DCM. Don’t take this the wrong way, but you have just proven my point.

    I do REALLY appreciate the conversation and I absolutely respect your opinion. We just don’t get any closer to what a business should get from an ACM system to make the investment worthwhile in the long run.

    Thanks again for your time to comment, Max


  8. Tom Shepherd says:

    Max, I also appreciate the conversation, but I’m not sure if you’re saying I’m not reading and listening or someone else. I read what you write, I agree with some, I disagree with others, and I find that points are often misunderstood. For example:

    Max – “That it is still unclear what I think is adaptive about ACM amazes me”

    Tom – “So saying that it’s unclear what you believe isn’t accurate. It’s that not everyone agrees with you.”

    Max – “Unfortunately, no one reads and listens.”

    Who’s not listening? Your point of view is clear, you’ve been very articulate and prolific in your writing about it. Again, I just don’t always agree (as I’m sure is the case with many of our peers).

    As for validating Forrester’s point of view by disagreeing with one point that you hold dear, that’s a large leap. That is but one aspect of what I believe about ACM where we diverge in our opinions. Still, if you believe that my comments support your argument, so be it.

    Thanks again for the conversation, I appreciate your time and insights!


  9. I apologize Tom, I wasn’t implying that YOU aren’t listening. You obviously are! I was writing a blog post as we commented and typed this very quickly. But in the discussions that is the main problem but I am not even looking for agreement as I said. If I could get people to state their BUSINESS NEED LIST of ACM features that would already be a huge step. DCM has a very simple definition that does overlap with ACM. But we would need to define what the delta is. I already tried.

    No need to discuss it in the comment sequence again.
    Thanks again and all the best, Max


  10. Max, I want to support you in adherence ACM


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Max J. Pucher
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by Max J. Pucher. All rights reserved.

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