Seven deadly sins of BPM — 4) Making it hard to find

The following is a continuation of the Seven deadly sins of BPM — 3) Reinventing the wheel

Seek and you should be able to find…very easily

All too often, users are asked to navigate process content on crude websites, intranets or in directory/folder structures…and the dreaded ‘portal’…to find the key information needed to perform their work. If the worker sees much more information than they need, the likelihood that they’ll come back to the repository as a knowledge source or work aid becomes more and more remote with each and every frustrated effort.

On the other hand, if the system is role-based, it offers each user personalized, easy access to the process content relevant to their role in the organization.  A role-based, personalized process repository becomes a useful performance support system…an electronic mentor.

Making it personal

Personalization means more than having login credentials or ‘remembered’ viewing preferences. A great system needs to recognize that people have complex responsibilities – nearly always serving more than one role in their organization. At one moment, I may be a hiring manager, under the guidance of an HR-owned process, and in another I am a rank-and-file employee that must perform safety procedures in a prescribed, approved manner. I can also be the owner of yet another process that requires that I change manage a process that is available to others in the organization.


Rather like context sensitive help available from most application software, the process repository should offer me easy access to the process information I require in relation to a task or my role.  The absence of such personalization and effective search capabilities leads to information obfuscation and organizational confusion.

For a system to be used…meaning it is the default place to find things, it must be dead easy. 

Up next: Seven deadly sins of BPM — 5) Failing to keep it up to date


Categories: The 7 Deadly Sins, Workplace Reality

Author:Chris Taylor

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing. There's no end to what we can change and improve. I wear myself out...

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4 Comments on “Seven deadly sins of BPM — 4) Making it hard to find”

  1. Lisa Marie Martinez
    November 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more. As a former business approver and governance lead on the structure side of the content hierarchy, you also run the risk of having people select the wrong or placement outside the desired placement.

    Personalization, isn’t a way to restrict rather a way to guide the intended result first and allow for a person to expand their visibility as an extension of other choices. Versus coming back to correct or deny someone, for something that was understood differently by the user.


  2. November 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    For me, the role determines which tasks I get to see. As you say, I could have one role today and a different role on a different day.

    If a task posts to my inTray, instructions relating to its performance will be local and any forms needed to capture data and provide evidence of task completion will also be local. The forms that post may have data enrichment facilities (e.g. type in the ZIP and you get city and state). Some of the forms have auto-links to algorithms that provide decision support, any case-specific data needed to perform the task should post automatically from the case history.

    Above any beyond this, the user can go to the organization’s KBase and if that does not give the user what he/she needs then you pretty much have to go to the internet or communicate with a peer/domain expert.

    If a particular set of outside data that is volatile is needed at the case to make a decision (today’s exchange rates) then you might want a copy of this in the case.

    If on the other hand you need to frequently go to government consulting rate tables that change infrequently, you might want copy in the organizational KBase so long as there is an expiry date.

    Most of the systems that purport to provide “context sensitive” help do anything but this, You pretty much have to know the answer to the question you are asking to find that answer.

    • November 16, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

      Couldn’t agree more. A great system allows you to designate one, two or all roles you perform and then provides the necessary behaviors and knowledge to get work done. The best BPM systems out now keep track of volatile data (links or expiring documents) as well as static knowledge but all centered on and reachable through activities.


  1. Seven deadly sins of BPM — 5) Failing to keep it up to date | BPM For Real - November 15, 2011

    […] BPM For Real A site about the realities of business process management Skip to content HomeAbout BPM for RealLatest posts ← Seven deadly sins of BPM — 4) Making it hard to find […]

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