Over 15 years of using the Metastorm BPM product, we have noticed that there are several common challenges. These are mostly caused by the rapid development environment that Metastorm BPM is designed for. While being extremely effective in the short term, to retain its effectiveness over many years, a structured approach is required.
Challenges: Reduction in development speed, increase in faults, loss of momentum of BPM initiatives.
Causes: Lack of documentation, lack of collaboration, inconsistent Design, development management, no monitoring of success factors.
Solutions: Technical documentation, development rigour, goal management.
Process Mapping has developed a BPM Methodology that addresses all of these challenges. This BPM Methodology covers the following activities carried out in the creation of BPM systems: Analysis, Design, Planning, Prototype, Development, Development Review, Testing, Test Review, Documentation, Deployment, Training, Surveys and Goal Evaluation.
The main benefit is the rigour that is placed around BPM development. Traditionally this has been an almost exclusively solo activity, and design, development and even testing has been carried out by single developers. In larger organisations where several developers are active, this often results in uncoordinated design techniques and systems. In this way, systems become less integrated and more scattered in their functionality, Maintenance becomes difficult and reliance is made in individuals, who rapidly become single points of failure.
Our approach allows shared development to occur more easily. It also allows good Design, Development, Review and Testing processes to be followed by different people. In addition, it encourages, and documents, the use of shared components across systems, thus making all developers more effective in their individual tasks. It allows designers and developers to document every piece of functionality as it is designed, developed and reviewed. As each change to every component is documented, and how it relates to each feature, the documentation becomes a hugely beneficial source of information.
When any component needs changing, every change made to that component, with links to the relevant feature or change request, can be viewed. All of the changes to related components to support each feature can also be listed. In this way, the potential impact of any change to any component can be assessed extremely rapidly. This is all from within the Release Management environment, without the need to keep and refer to separate documentation, although this can easily be produced from the same source.
Another area that is often left lacking is user documentation. This can be essential for the success of a BPM system, especially if new users are involved. Our goal was to make the creation of the User Documentation as beneficial as possible throughout the entire process. In this way, the effort expended in creating the scenarios was used as effectively as possible.
We maintain use case scenario documentation right through from the initial Analysis stage, through to the Training. Along the way, this is used for Design, Development and Testing, and added to as a result in each phase.
We have found these to be some of the most effective methods of communication of expectations and actual functionality developed.
We have found that in the main, development of BPM systems is seen as the destination of a BPM initiative. We do not believe this is the case. The important missing element is the actual measurement of the effectiveness of the solution. Without this, we cannot tell if the goals are reached. Our aim was to create a mechanism to define measure and report on goals. We also needed to lock this into the system to avoid the subsequent loss of view of the results through inattention at any later date.
We developed a mechanism to define the goals of the system up front. These goals are defined in terms of an expectation, and as a measureable outcome from the system. Each feature added to the system must support one of these goals, as these become the defining purpose of the system. Any features that do not support a goal are placed on a 'wish list'. This encourages everybody who wants features to find ways these features can support a goal, and we find they often do.
These goal measurements are then 'built in' to the system. Although this is additional effort, it is often very little. The resulting reports and measurements also often go a long way to define the success and future direction of the system. This is normally a difficult process, and this is much helped by these measurements.
Finally, the 'deadline' and metrics for the goal success are set. At the appointed time, or at specified preceding intervals, the measurements are emailed to the relevant parties. In this way, the benefits and success (or otherwise) of the system is not forgotten or overlooked. Where systems fail to reach goals, discussion can be entered into to determine how the system can be improved to change this.
What we offer
We do not want to confine ourselves to offering you development services. We also see long-term benefit in making your own development initiatives more efficient and productive.
In this we are offering a unique BPM service. We want your entire BPM team to be more productive, and to get the most possible benefit from your existing and future investment in BPM.
A tailored approach
We can provide advice, training and mentoring to help you use this Methodology as effectively as possible within your organisation. We accept that all organisations are different, and each has specific targets and needs. Because of this, we do not pretend that we can provide a 'one-size fits all' solution. What we can do, however, is provide a solution tailored for your own needs.
We also have a number of tools to generate test users, Test Cases and help to develop Use Case Scenarios and Business Rules.
We have a large number of reusable components that we share with our customers. These can be used as is, and we can help you develop similar reusable components for your own systems.
These are proven and invaluable tools for making continually accelerating the pace and security of Metastorm BPM development in your development team.
Training and Documentation
We can provide a Training Course and Documentation tailored to your specific needs.
Above this, we have our complete Methodology documentation to help understand how to make the best use of these systems to achieve your objectives.
We also have many Design Patterns that we can share with you and help you select and expand on those areas which are particularly relevant and important to your organisation.