Collaborative Minds Blog Plan.

Manage your processes without BPMN

Many…No…MANY times in my life I observed situations, when someone enthusiastically started using inappropriate tools in their daily life. When, some time ago, Japanese restaurants became popular here, my best friend was so enthusiastic about chopsticks, that he started to use them everywhere. Imagine – seriously, an adult guy consuming French fries in McDonalds with chopsticks. OK – don’t worry, this didn’t last too long.

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But what if this serious guy is in charge of some company? What if he has 10 subordinates and some day he visits a management-related conference and hears for the first time about such a great standard as BPMN (I’m not kidding). Next day he spends some time to find a software solution, which fully supports BPMN 2.0 and asks his ‘IT-guy’ if we can use this tool in our company. If I was that guy, my answer would be: ‘Of course we can. But boss, BPMN standard is ~600 pages. And I doubt our employees can learn this tool in a few days. And I doubt we can use this tool effectively – it is complicated and it will actually slow down our processes, instead of optimizing them’. But, very often, small and medium companies start using such tools without expert overview. And that’s a waste of time. They do not need full BPMN support, they need a simple and effective tool to design and track their business processes.

Comindware Tracker introduces a simplified approach for processes management. You do not need to plough your way through a huge 600 pages manual. You do not need to hire a professional, who has spent the last 3 years using BPMN software. You simply open Comindware Workflow Editor and design your processes using simple concepts – workflow steps and transitions between these steps. A Workflow step is part of the business process. Workflow transition is moving a business process from one part to another. There are no gateways, swim lanes, artifacts and other ‘scientific’ concepts, which are hard-to-understand and, what is even more important, not required for small and medium businesses. And, by the way, you can design your workflow in a convenient and easy-to-use interface, which is provided to you by our great engineering team.

You will ask – what if I need some advanced features like parallel execution of process steps or restrict time for a process step? That’s where Comindware Tracker beats other industry leaders. Although, basic workflow design is very easy, it provides many advanced features for those, who need them. Just open the step or transition configuration and you will be able to use the following features:

  • you can split the process step by using the parallel tasks feature. Just open the step configuration and make several people responsible for this step. It’s pretty easy, even for a non-experienced user;
  • you can set up time-based transition to another step if the process is ‘stuck’ for whatever reason. For example, when you are designing the customer support process – if the support employee hasn’t replied to a user for several days, that’s a good chance to reassign a process to the employee’s manager. This can be done using ‘Time-based transition’ tab in workflow step edit dialog.
  • do you need some validation rules? Like ‘Please fill in the following field before moving the process along’. You can use the transition and step dialogs to select mandatory fields;
  • do you need to select users, who can move the process via the selected transition? Please open the transition dialog and use the ‘Permissions’ tab to select users or users groups for that;
  • need more control over the process? You can use Comindware Expression Language almost everywhere. This allows you to make complex validation rules (please fill in field1 if field2 hasvalue1), configure time based transitions using field values from the process, etc. Expression Language is an awesome feature, however it requires some learning. Of course, it won’t take as much time as for BPMN & BPMN.

Here’s another benefit especially for you – you can make any changes to workflow at any time. You can add new steps, new transitions, new validation rules, new time based transitions – and there’s no need to manually update existing processes. Comindware Tracker will do that for you. And you do not need special skills for that, except for those, you’ve acquired designing workflow. Wow. I really enjoyed telling you about these great features of Comindware Tracker. And I in admiration of what our developers have created. They have created a great tool for business management, which is easy-to-learn and easy-to-use. Let’s give them some gratitude!

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Anastasia Chumakova is Product Marketing Analyst and Workflow Automation Expert at Comindware.
She currently explores online process management product development trends, contributes to and provides tips for better use of Comindware Tracker and online work management solutions.

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Posted on:  in Leadership, Project World

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