Keith Swenson Makes the Case

  • May 26, 2010
  • Scott

Keith Swenson makes the case for simpler run-time editing of a process in the comments on one of his blog posts.  This might even be a small insight into where his conversion to the Case Management fold comes from:

“The difficulty with changing a process comes when the person who needs to make the change does not have the skill to understand the process editor and the implications of any given edit.”

This is a failing of many of the BPMS tools ( and even worse, for the pre-BPM tooling out there – no one even tries to edit the process for an ERP system! ) …

“This has led us to believe that to allow a process to be changed, there needs to be a very simple process paradigm — like a checklist — that can be easily modified by 100% of the managers. It is not a technical challenge, but instead a usability challenge.”

I think the basic point here is: software vendors need to invest in deeply understanding the needs of the users (managers) and invest in giving them control over complex changes with simple analogs (e.g. checklists, but I’m sure there are other approaches as well).  I think the software vendors still have a long way to go to make the hard stuff easier, and this is really the whole point of software engineering – to make the previously impossible possible, the previously hard easier, the previously complex understandable.

(Just yesterday I was checking out RAVEN, for example, which converts text descriptions of a process into flow.  It is a pretty simple modeling approach.  Blueprint offers something nearly as useful – you outline, which is converted into process flow on the fly.  However, Blueprint doesn’t attempt to parse your sentences for nouns that indicate swim lanes or actors.  )

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