Very interesting post from Tom Baeyens on Activiti's approach to ad-hoc processes and how that plays into their overall BPM strategy - as well as how it relates to BPMN2:
The first step that we're adding now to Activiti is a snappy environment in which that kind of collaboration is supported. Apart from the tasks that are created by process instances, you'll be able to create tasks dynamically on the fly. It will be possible to involve people with these tasks, have discussions and associate any kind of content like plain URL's, Alfresco docs, Google docs etc to the task (aka case). Furthermore, it will be possible to create sub tasks dynamically. Here's one of our early mockups:
I think it is smart for Activiti not to *just* focus on the engine, but also think about collaboration and other features that weren't as strong in the previous generation of BPM tooling. The interesting tidbit in Tom's email (to me) was this:
In some cases, this might grow to become pretty complex processes. At that point, Activiti KickStart modeling might be too limited as that is targeted at non technical people. Because Activiti is based on BPMN 2.0, it will be possible to move these organically grown processes into full BPMN 2.0 based modeling tools.
This reveals that even with KickStart and their tackling of ad-hoc, they intend to represent the outcome as a BPMN2 model (XML), and therefore it is a model that can be "uplifted" to a more structured or managed process as it matures or when it becomes valuable enough to manage in that way. If they can pull this off gracefully it sets a high bar for other BPM products.
I'll share some more thoughts on "unstructured" knowledge work in the next post...