BPM and Social Software Workshop

I attended the workshop on BPM and social software yesterday, but somehow didn’t get it together to actually blog about it. The workshop chairs, Selmin Nurcan and Rainer Schmidt, organized a good program of presentations covering a wide variety of topics in social software and BPM:

  • Combining Social Software and BPM, by Rainer Schmidt
  • Implicit Social Production, by Ben Jennings
  • Evolutive Vocabulary for Collaborative BPM Discussions, by David Martinho
  • Declarative Configurable Process Specifications for Adaptive Case Management, by Selmin Nurcan
  • Emergent Case Management for Ad-hoc Processes, by Martin Böhringer
  • Merging Social Software with Business Process Support, by Ilia Bider
  • Processpedia, by António Silva
  • Social Software for Coordination of Collaborative Process Activities, by Frank Dengler
  • Empowering Business Users to Model and Execute Business Processes, originally to be presented by Florian Schnabel but with a last-minute replacement whose name I didn’t catch

I picked up a few interesting nuggets during the day. In Martinho’s presentation, he discussed the gaps – in skills, concerns and lanuage – between business users, business modelers and developers, and some ideas for overcoming this in collaboration on process modifications. By allowing users to associate tags and other information to the underlying process models as they are interacting with a step in that process through a business application, this information and interactions between users at that point can be analyzed and fed back into the formal process design stage for eventual incorporation into the process model. I’ve seen a bit of this in practice, both in BPM (e.g., Pega’s SmartBPM V6) and in other types of software (e.g., Google’s Feedback Extension), and think that this model for allowing a user to feed back directly on their view of an activity rather than a potentially unfamiliar process model should be a feature in all enterprise software.

Silva’s presentation on Processpedia also makes me want to go back and read his paper in more detail. It is also concerned with collaboration on process models and how to address the different perspectives of different types of stakeholders. He advocates that not all process instance variations need to be described by a formal (standard) model: this is the underlying message in the dynamic BPM capabilities that we’re seeing in many commercial BPM systems. He also concludes that process instance deviations capture tacit knowledge from which abstractions can emerge, which is the core behind a lot of process mining research, too. The key is that there be no separation between the collaboration and working environments, that is, collaboration happens directly in the business users’ applications, not in some other tool or representation with which they might be unfamiliar.

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