Finding a human-centric BPM tool
#007: A few weeks ago, I asked for a human-centric BPM tool in LinkedIn and received a long list of potential tools. Now, I’m starting my evaluation by defining the requirements and asking BPM tool vendors for more information to schedule podcast interview session. But this episode is also very relevant for BPM users, not only for vendors, to explore how a human-centric BPM tool could look like.
In this episode, I’m defining the requirements for a human-centric BPM tool. – A tool that supports the New Process approach and inspires people for processes. Is that realistic?! Let’s find out!
I’m deep diving into my requirements and explain my ideas along the New Process Principles.
Be curious and find out what such a tool might look like. – And feel free to send me your suggestions.
Request for Information: If you are a tool vendor, you can find an overview of all requirements and you can propose your tool here. – I will then sort through the feedback and get back to you for a podcast interview. I’m already looking forward to taking a closer look at the tools!
- How a BPM tool can support the human-centric New Process approach
- Which features of a BPM tool can inspire people for processes
- How employees can retrieve processes quickly and easily
- How a line manager can benefit from using a BPM tool to lead employees
- Which features help to integrate employees into the work on processes
- Request for information for BPM tool vendors
- Feedback to the New Process Podcast 🤗
- Episode 6 of the New Process Podcast on how to lead 20,000+ employees by processes with Michael Bögle from Lufthansa Technik
- New Process Principles
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Please note that the transcript was generated automatically and only slightly adjusted. It does not claim to be a perfect transcription.
Mirko: Welcome to episode seven of the new process podcast.
Today, we’re going to define the requirements to find a human centric BPM tool. Uh, a human-centric BPM tool? Why? That maybe your question now. Because I am looking for a tool to map process which fulfills my requirements with regards to human centricity. I’m doing this for me on the one hand side. On the other side, there are always customers looking for tools, which we can use.
So I’m also looking for the people out there. And also for you. So let’s see what we can put out here to define the requirements for finding a human centric BPM tool. Actually, I’ve been looking for a tool for several months now, and unfortunately I haven’t found what I’m really looking for. So that’s why I try to do this request for information here now via the new process podcast.
So in the last episode with Michael Bögle, from Lufthansa Technik, we already talked about his ideas or the requirements or the features to be more specific because this tool already exists, but it’s not on the market right now. So he told us a lot about the features he would push forward for a human-centric BPM tool.
And this is also something which I pick up here in this episode and integrate that into the requirements as well. When I think about a BPM tool, which is human centered, for sure it should be easy to use and easy to use for the normal, whatever normal means, employee. So, it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about an accountant or a mechanic, or I don’t know, a sales guy, whatever whoever is interested in finding information about how to execute processes, so that person should use this specific tool.
And therefore, I don’t want to have a complicated interface with long trainings I have to attend before I can use it. So that’s why the BPM tool with this human centricity should be easy to use. And then the processes should be easy to understand. So I don’t want to see a very complex notation there. Should be readable and understandable for everyone out there.
So just, look into the tool and read, understand how to do something. And then finally it should be easy to retrieve information, which is relevant for my specific task right now. So these are the three main requirements, I would say. Easy to use, easy to understand, and easy to retrieve processes. And, also it should inspire people for processes.
So these are just, my initial thought on that, and we are going to deep dive into the requirements within this episode. So, dear BPM vendors out there, listen carefully request for information is coming at the end of the episode. I’m planning to do, some interviews or interview sessions to give you the possibility to present your software and, to do this evaluation via podcast. So, let’s see how this will really work out. And I’ll tell you more about that at the end of the episode. And now let’shave a close look onto the requirements for a human centric BPM tool.
So to start with thinking about how a human centric BPM tool could look like, I would recommend to start with the purpose of what we are doing here.
So always start with determining the purpose of your BPM system, let’s say it like that, because this in the end then defines the method and tools you are going to use. So when we think about the why we are doing this, then we can easily determine also the tool we should use to bring this specific purpose into life.
So with regards to the BPM purpose, there are different levels. I would say, on a scale from starting with, oh, my only purpose is to depict higher level directives. For example, just having a process map to assign here and there some higher level directives, then it could be really simple having a tool where I can just map processes on the level of process map without all the details of having roles, activities and so on. So that would be the minimum. Or then we can go deeper and want to integrate more requirements into the processes. So we need a higher level of detail with roles and activities and so on. So if we would like to assign responsibilities, then we definitely need roles in the tools.
So there should be a possibility to, yeah, map processes, including role, and maybe also features to assign these roles to people, to employees, to users of the tool. If we go deeper with the purpose and we want to like to use the tool to train employees, then we need more details. So there has to be more, detailed notation explaining exactly what and how to do, or if we wanna also improve cooperation, then maybe we need some more features on the tool, like commenting or providing feedback and so on.
So these are just ideas and, yeah, with regards to the purpose, maybe, we wanna use the tool on a daily basis so that our processes support the employees, within their routine work on a daily basis. Then for sure, we need a specific level of detail. We need to be able to access the information quickly and easily and so on, or, even higher, going into this purpose topic, we could also use the processes to steer process execution.
So there, we also have to make sure that we somehow represent the execution in the tool as well. So the line managers, the employees that they can easily find the respective processes while they are executing the processes or enable the process owner to use the processes, to talk about indicators, to get ideas from the people out there to improve the processes and so on.
Just to have a chance to steer the overall process execution here. Or if we go further down we want to improve or innovate processes. then we may also need additional features in the tool, like having possibilities for the employees to hand in their ideas, send these ideas to the respective process owners, process architect and so on.
And finally, highest level here also with regards to maturity would be from my point of view to digitalize or automate processes. So this could also be features of a business process management system, but, there, I would be really careful if, it really makes sense to have these automation aspects in the BPM tool, where you present your processes to the employees, for example, to yeah use the documentation for training purpose.
So there, I recommend to be really careful and determine first which purpose you would like to contribute to with the BPM tool, before a tool. And in case of a human centric BPM approach, I think, we go down to, with regards to all the items I just named, supporting the daily business, maybe also steering process execution, but for sure, improve cooperation, train employees, assign responsibilities, integrate requirements.
These are definitely features a tool has to have from my point of view. So what it is not, when I’m talking about a human centric BPM tool, I am definitely not talking about execution of processes in the tool.
So no operational workflows provided by the tool. Because it’s really easy: if you’re going to provide a BPM tool to an organization, then you cannot run all operational processes in this tool and support these processes with workflows, for example, or automation features. That doesn’t make sense because thenyou,from one second to another become really relevant for the operations of the, the operational processes. And this doesn’t make sense to use a BPM tool where we present information to the employees as an operational system. So therefore I would always use business process specific operational systems like Camunda, uiPath or make formerly known Integromat or even use SharePoint, Microsoft power automate to automate specific business processes. But this shouldn’t be part of a business process management tool itself. So maybe there are some interfaces to tools for automation, and you can definitely link to specific tools like, having also an interface to process mining tool. That definitely makes sense.
Maybe via an import expert feature to BPMN 2.0, but even process mining, in my world, shouldn’t be part of the business process management tool you are using to map the processes, to present, present these processes to the employees, but we can argue about that. So this is just what I am looking for and what I’m not looking for when talking about a human centric BPM tool.
So let’s have a closer look onto the structure of the requirements. I would like to deep dive into now. So I, thought about using the new process life cycle or the new process principle as a structure. And in the end, I decided to go for the new process principles because they then can be assigned to the different phases of the life cycle.
So we are using the new process principles as structure to go through the requirements. And in the end, there are some basic technical requirements, which I have also on the list for the human centric BPM tool, but let’s start with the first new process principle inspire people for excellent processes.
And this is definitely, the new process principle with the most requirements which, contribute to this. So it all starts, from my opinion, if I would like to inspire people for excellent processes, then I definitely need a simple interface. So a toolwhere I can log into with reduced set of features and only a minimum set of features for the non-expert users.
So for all the normal employees out there, nothing special for the expert guys here. This is what I would love to have. A very simple interface with high usability and also a modern look and feel. That would be great if I want to inspire people then should look modern and, yeah, also some kind of fun to use and to explore the processes.
So these are my requirements there for a simple interface. And then in the second step. Besides having a simple interface, I would love to have a simple notation, which is easy to read, easy to understand for the people. So I don’t want to study BPMN 2.0 for years to understand processes. So just imagine you would like to use process documentation to explain your daughter, your son, your grandmother, how to, yeah, perform this or that process.
So it should be as simple as that. With regards to using then also the documentation to create fast a common understanding of the process, and maybe also use it for simple communication of process changes and, to use the process documents there for training purpose as well.
So therefore, please: simple notation. That’s what I’m looking for. Even simpler than BPMN 2.0, just with a very reduced set of objects and operators and so on. That would be great. Yeah. And then third, it should be simple to retrieve processes. Or whatever kind of information I need to execute my process.
So hopefully it’s a role based approach so that I can log into the tool, select my role and can easily retrieve the processes where I have to execute activities in. So with only a minimum of clicks. That would be a good measurement, I would say. So clicks to find the respective information in the tool.
Maybe it’s also nice to highlight revisions, so that I can only read what is really necessary to be up to date what I have to take into account when executing a specific. activity in the process. Maybe I can also subscribe to processes to get information in case of changes so that I know, ah, okay this and that process what’s updated.
Now I can go there and, check out the latest version. And then, yeah, also having access to tools and documents for process execution. So being able to link from the processes to the tools which are relevant to execute the activities or open up documents like checklists or training documentation, forms. Whatever is necessary to execute the process. So this should also be a feature, from my point of view, to inspire people for excellent processes. And finally, with regards to management system, so to also integrating legal and normative requirements, there should be a way to,put in all these legal and normative requirements, to integrate them into the processes, so that for, the user, for the employee executing the process, it’s really easy to follow all these normative and legal requirements. By just reading how to execute the process, work according to the process, and then be in compliance with the underlying legal and normative requirements.
So that would be an add on from a management system perspective here. So these are the requirements, flowing into inspire people for excellent processes. And, don’t worry,I’ll put all the requirements into the show notes and there will also be a link, which I can tell you later on in this episode where you can download, an overview of the requirements. So you don’t have to get all the ideas here from the session right now.
So then the second, important principle, here for human centered BPM tool is to involve the people in the process, into the work on the process. So therefore I’m thinking about making people visible, which are responsible or even accountable for the process design for process execution.
There should be a way to nominate the process owner, to make the process architect visible, but also features to make the line managers, which are leading the employees executing the process visible, or even the employees.
Maybe there’s a feature to find out who is the one executing this process at this and that location. And maybe I can contact that person here via the system as well, or at least open up an email or whatever way I would like to use to contact that person. That would be great. Or, yeah, offer possibilities to give input for process improvements, to be able to comment on processes, to send in feedbacks like, the feature Michael told us in the last episode.
So having the possibility to, hand in feedback for a specific process, which then goes to the respective process architect or even process owner so that they can use this feedback to further improve a process. Or having a feature to share processes with others. that would be nice as well to send a link to a process to a colleague: say, ah, here, I found this and that have a look onto the process maybe that’s relevant for you as well. And, um, also a feature to involve the management, for example, within the approval process. That will be great. So the process owner for sure should be integrated into the workflow to approve the process then, which is also one of the features Michael told us about in the last episode.
And we can also think about something like a cockpit for our BPM roles, so that the process architect can easily, get an overview about all the processes he is, responsible for within his or her process architect role to access the feedbacks and, yeah, open up the processes, work on the processes there and so on.
And finally, also I’m thinking about a feature, to assign roles to employees. So a feature for line managers, when I’m leading an organizational unit and I have a number of employees working in different processes, then I can use the tool to assign a role from the process to my employees to tell this employee, you are executing this role in that process.
And. in addition to mapping the processes, there should also be feature to map the organizational structure, to be able to assign the roles to org units and then to employees as well. That would be really great.
Yeah. And then talking about the other principles, I think they are not so tool related as the first two I was talking about.
So maybe with regards to encourage diversity and inclusion through processes, maybe there is a feature to, yeah, present local specifics in processes. So to have, different, how to say not versions, but different optional paths in an activity which are then relevant for a specific location only. Something like that. A feature covering this requirement would be also cool. Or with regards to foster the development of the people in the process, at least there should be an inspiring tool training available, maybe web based training or video webinar. However, this is implemented. It will be great to see the different options out there.
Then disrupt established processes. So maybe there are features supporting also process innovation. However, this looks like, so there you can be really innovative, but I don’t have specific requirements for that right now. Same with design corporation in and on the process to meet people’s needs.
There maybe a feature would be nice to run a report to find out who cooperates with whom in the processes. Not only the roles, but also the people there. To see where are they located? Maybe this is also an interesting feature for the ones working on process improvements, and then finally, give meaning to processes. So there the minimum for me will be to have a way to present the purpose of a process in an inspiring way to the people working in and on the process.
So maybe there is an info box where I can upload a video, something like that, to a process. Yeah. So these are the requirements. according to the new process principles. And in addition, I have some basic technical requirements. Like the application should be web based, for sure.
Best case as software as a service. also with single sign on via Microsoft 365, would be great or other, access management tools there. And also feature for import and export of BPMN 2.0 models. For the experts, as an interface to process mining and so on, that would be also great to be able to talk to the outside world via an interface.
Yeah. And that’s it. So maybe now you think, oh, Mirko, you’re so crazy. Uh, what stupid ideas are this? Um, yeah, let’s, let’s dream a little bit. That’s what I have in mind when I am thinking about a human-centric BPM tool. So always human centric and, let’s see how close we can get, or maybe we’ll discover something completely different here.
Yeah. Feel free to hand in your own ideas. Just send me an email to Mirko@NewProcessLab.com. If you have additional requirements or, ideas for tools, which can be used. And, um, the request for information for the BPM software vendors, this is what we have a closer look onto at the end of the session.
Yeah. So now you heard about my crazy ideas for a human centric BPM tool. So make it as simple as possible for the employees. Have a simple interface. A simple, very easy to understand notation, simple ways to retrieve the respective information, which I need to execute the process and so on.
So there I’m really looking forward for all the different solutions. Yeah. AndI’m so curious, what will be the outcome of this request for information. So if you are aBPM software vendor and would like to post your tool to the evaluation and hand in information, then please go to NewProcessLab.com/RFI.
So, request for information, RFI, to again, get an overview of the requirements and find out how to hand in the information and to schedule a podcast interview, to evaluate the software solution you are offering. So with regards to deadline, I would like to have the first interviews in September 2022 we’re talking about. So what would be great if you fill out the RFI as soon as possible, but if you listen to the episode later, I’ll leave the RFI and the form to hand in information open so that we can add more tools later on. So there is no real deadline, but, the earlier you put in the information, the earlier can be on the podcast.
Yeah. And now let’s, have an outlook here. After this really nerdy BPM tool topic, there will be a more holistic topic coming up. So we are going to talk to professor Dr. Daniel Beimborn from University of Bamberg about how to get to the cutting edge of BPM. So how to stay at the very front of the development to use all the insights to, yeah, push your own process ahead. To push your own BPM system within an organization ahead and to stay at the cutting edge of BPM. Yeah, this will be a very interesting session, I guess, coming out in two weeks.
So, thank you very much for listening. I hope you enjoyed this episode and got some new inspirations on how, a BPM tool can support a more human centric BPM approach.
Thank you and auf Wiedersehen!
Okay, before you leave, just one more thing. As this is already episode seven of the new process podcast, I really realized that podcasting is more or less one way communication because I’m just talking all the time and it’s really hard to get feedback. And that’s why I would love to get feedback from you after these first seven episodes of new process podcasts.
And therefore I prepared a very short survey, just to find out what you like, what you wish and, to get some brainstorming ideas from you. So it takes only seconds to fill the survey out and it would be so cool to get some feedback from you.
To provide me with this feedback, just go to NewProcessLab.com/feedback. So: NewProcessLab.com/feedback. I’ll keep the survey open. So even if you listen later to this episode, feel free to send me your feedback. That would be so great. Thank you very much and bye, bye!