Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Need for other BPM patterns - business focused

A lot of research has been done in the area of process patterns, mainly performed by the TUE (The Netherlands, see here) and QUT (Australia, see here). These patterns are great for validation of the capabilities and semantics of process languages (BPEL, BPMN) and technologies.

However, I think we are missing a set of process patterns, that are business focused. If we would have a good set, I think it will help us delivering projects better and quicker, and also improve our communication between business and BPM technology consultants.

Comment: When I was working on the patterns below, I found that these are mainly task focused. Flow aspects can be served well with the workflow patterns.

Based on my projects experience, I could already see a number of task patterns:

A. Simpel patterns - typical serial workflow based processes

A1. Information capture
A task in which a person is required to capture information from sources outside the system, such as a phonecall or paper-document and enter it as structured and unstructured data.

Typical context:
- Salesrep
- Call center
- Internal HR procedures

A2. Information extraction and structured storage
A task in which a person is required to review unstructured data in the system (such as the scanned image of a document) and extract data and enter it as structured data.

Typical context:
- Backoffice document processing

A3. Prepare advice
A task in which a person reviews the data of a specific request, refines the data using functionality of the system (for instance certain calculations, risk assessments, price, etc) and prepares an advice ("yes, I propose to sell this customer a policy type X, with these conditions")

Typical context:
- Front office processing, sales, underwriting

A4. Decision
A task in which a specific person, based on her/his role needs to decide on something. The task will provide for the required information (case specific, possibly also other data), and the person will need to make a decision.

Typical context:
- Approvals

A5. Review based on 4-eyes principle/judgment
A task for which a person needs to review the correct execution of an earlier task (usual: prepare advice, decision) and make a statement of the correctness of the execution, leading to acceptance of the tasks output or rework.

A6. Inform
A task (or better: a notification) informing a certain stakeholder about critical facts about the execution of a specific process instance ("your request was accepted, your loan will be payed ...."

B. More complex situations
Many more patterns can be defined for process execution. This would support more complex knowledge work situations.
Think of:
B1. Collaborative event for sharing (plan, execute)
When more than 1 person is concurrently needed for a task, in this case: sharing of information
B2. Collaborative event for decision
When more than 1 person is concurrently needed for a task, in this case: deciding
B3. Add a dynamic task
B4. Add process participants

C. Controling & Steering (operational management)
Each process also has a "control" proces (the P, D and C parts of the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle). For this process it's valuable to also have standard patterns...

C1. Warn
Warn a certain person if specific KPI's of a certain process instance are out of bounds.

C2. Escalate
If a certain task has not been done in a certain predefined time period, escalate it to someone else (automatically, or manually after a signal), higher up the organization

C3. Re-assign
If the workload of a person or team is too high, reassign one or more tasks to another person/team, but on same organizational level

Has these types of patterns already been defined somewhere? Used? Curious.


Sterling said...

This is a great topic for discussion. I had similar thoughts a year ago when we developed a process to manage document processing similar to "A2. Information extraction and structured storage".

I was able to consolidate 3 different process maps into a single (very simple) process that facilitated a 3 month rollout.

I've been looking for similar patterns without much success.

Alexander Samarin said...

Slides 19-27 from


Craig Brown said...

great post.

wouyld love to see this list expanded.