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Great Introduction to Agile BPM

September 22, 2010 Leave a comment

In a recent article, David Roe provides a great introduction to Agile BPM.  It should be mentioned that the article refers to some of the materials from a recent webinar sponsored by Fujitsu and presented by Sandy Kemsley and Fujitsu’s Keith Swenson.   In his article,  David outlines what is Agile BPM, identifies key trends that drive its adoption in the enterprise, and makes the case for Agile BPM that combines traditional BPM, Social and Agile BPM.  He concludes with the following assertion:

While still there’s much work to be done to combine BPM and Agile BPM across the enterprise at least the value of doing so is becoming increasing clear.

Using both, enterprises can expect to achieve more efficient processes that take less process development time and with the social element the ability to gather all the available information from the workforce to create the most effective processes possible. Read more…

Dancing with Elephants — Making Your Business Processes Agile

September 7, 2010 1 comment

Learn how Agile BPM allows you to get results by striking the right balance between structure and flexibility in processes and how Fujitsu’s Agile BPM solution can help you to achieve that goal.

Join Sandy Kemsley and Fujitsu’s  Keith Swenson for a Webinar on Sept 9th at 11am PT.

Topics covered include:

  • Why the need for Agile BPM Platforms? What are the benefits?
  • How is it different from traditional BPM?
  • How do companies use Agile BPM Platform? Where is the fit?
  • How can Agile BPM be effective in response to change in your business?

All registrants will also receive a complementary white paper on tips and best practices for implementing Agile BPM in your organization.

Register with one Click – or – Visit the Event Site for More Information

Covering all sides of the BPMN Debate

September 7, 2010 4 comments

There has been a vigorous debate of the role of BPMN.  These posts are relevant:

The discussion boils down to one thing: is BPMN the best choice for a business professional?

The BPM community has been developing BPMN for a number of years.  If you want to represent your process as a flowchart, then is seems that BPMN would be the best way to do this.  BPMN is kind of like a dictionary but instead of providing words, it provides shapes that can be used to express certain ideas on a flowchart.

Interstage BPM Supports BPMN

With Interstage BPM, if you wish to use BPMN as you only representation of the process, then this is possible.  BPMN can be used in the standalone studio modeling environment, in the on-line collaborative modeling environment, and in the run-time execution environment.  Through all of these various environment, the product assures a single consistent underlying model, without requiring any transformations along the way.

However, we have found that many business professionals are not comfortable with designing and using a flowchart approach, and we don’t force this on them.  The studio has two “perspectives”:  Business User and Power User.  You can use either one you are comfortable with, and you can switch back and forth at any time.

The business user perspective shows the process as a list of tasks, using an outline organization to display nested tasks.  We have found this approach to be much more comfortable with users who want to focus on the tasks to be done, and less on the automation of them.  The business user is not forced to use this, they can switch to power user mode at any time and get the full BPMN support.  But they often don’t want to; it is something about the flowchart formalism that gets in the way of thinking about the tasks.

The standard pattern we see is business users sketching up the process as a list of tasks.  Then later, it may be switched to BPMN view for more detailed automation tasks.  Offering both perspectives is a distinct advantage over just offering BPMN.

Switching Between Alternatives

To let you know what this might look like, here is a simple process generated in business user perspective:

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This is quite comfortable for business users.  If you, though, you can switch to power user perspective on this same process, and see it displayes as this:

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It is the same process — but displayed in two different representations.

Shouldn’t We Just Have One Perspective?

Some will argue that if you train the whole organization well enough, you could use a single notation.  That is a good theory, but it does not reflect the realities of the jobs that people must perform. Go back and compare the two different representations, and you will see that they each emphasis different aspects of the process.  The business user approach can visually represent the time dimension, and the duration that different tasks are expected to take.  The BPMN diagram can not represent that, but it can represent more complex sequencing logic.

The idea that there should be one single representation is an oversimplification.  Clearly, if an organization wants to do this, and wants everyone to use BPMN, then they certainly can with Interstage BPM.  But you also have the choice to use the representation that fits the audience best.

Where is the controversy?

Jim Sinur made a blog point pointing out that BPMN is too complex for regular business professionals, and that they are preferring to use other formalisms.  Strong BPMS vendors and providing multiple formalisms for user.  At Fujitsu, we have to agree.  This does not seem so controversial, but be sure to read all the posts and note how some people seem to find this controversial.

Categories: BPM, Fujitsu Interstage