BPM’s New Use for Ad-Hoc Subprocesses

In BPMN, an ad-hoc subprocess is one which has no sequence: the order in which their constituent tasks are performed is unknown or unspecified. The tasks therein not only have no stipulated running order, they don’t have to execute at all. Until recently, when modelling business processes, I’d use ad-hoc processes to denote business activities for which order was irrelevant or ‘unknowable’. But the use of BPM tools has thrown up a new rationale for ad-hoc processes. One which may make their use considerably more common…

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BPM Task Selection: Why More Choice Means Less Control

One of my assumptions about Business Process Management (BPM) systems is that they can empowers users. By users I mean task participants—human workers who actually perform the jobs defined by the BPM.  These systems orchestrate processes, make them visible to the participants and facilitate collaboration across the enterprise. BPM installations, within the confines of the process defined by SMEs, provide workers with: a choice of the tasks they select from their ‘work queues’, a shared process context so they can see where they fit in to the ‘bigger picture’ and metrics that show how they are performing.

I now understand that, in some cases, this ability to select jobs is the last thing workers or the SMEs really want…

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