Cool Evaluation Method for Workflow Systems (3)

Hi, there.

This post is a continuation of the series of «Cool Evaluation Method for Workflow Systems».

Looking back on the Evaluation method (2) and agenda

I have been posting a series of «「Cool Evaluation Method for Workflow Systems」» (Cool Evaluation Method (1)Cool Evaluation Method (2)) I wonder if those were helpful. In the last post, I explained a «knack for drawing Workflow diagram«.

«So, what comes next?»»
«How many settings do I have to make till I finish it?»»
«Tell me how to make input forms, now!»»
These are what I hear, now. Since the theme is «evaluation method», so I should not go farther for explaining our product, though…  I stated in Cool Evaluation Method (2) that

<Important point of Workflow system evaluation>
«to confirm how the workflow you want to achieve will turn out to be»

I would appreciate if you evaluate and compare with other products based on the (procedure of) settings of Questetra BPM Suite.

Now, Procedure of setting up Questetra BPM Suite will be done efficiently in the following order.

1,Drawing the Workflow diagram
2,Setting up data (Data Items)
3,Configuration of Input Forms
4,Configuration of Splitting conditions in the flow
5,Setting up the Operator of each Task

In this post, I will describe «2, Setting up data» and «3, Configuration of Input Forms» above. Those are the parts that will be caught by the eyes of people who will actually work along the flow. Let’s do it!

Extract Data Items from business rules

We will make settings based on the work we dealt with in the Cool Evaluation Method (2). Below is the «Business rule: summary» described at Step 2.

<Business rule: summary>
1, The superior instructs preparation of a report to a subordinate.
2, The subordinate prepares a report and submits it to the superior.
3, Checking it, the superior sends back if it has a problem, otherwise, ends the Process.

Before actually setting up Questetra BPM Suite, let’s organize information for making settings. The first step is to extract the Data Items to be set. It is extremely simple as a way of thinking for extracting. That is, just to extract the contents of «the output of each step«. I will put brackets to show you where.

<Business rule: summary>: Data Item extraction
1, The superior [instructs preparation of a report] to a subordinate. (Output:instruction of report preparation)
2, The subordinate prepares [a report]] and submits it to the superior. (Output: a report)
3, [Checking] it, the superior sends back if it has a problem, otherwise, ends the Process. (Output: a result of checking on the report

Thus, [instructs preparation of a report], [a report], and [Checking] are extracted. Settings of Data Items become easy if you confirm the outputs when you organize the business rule to draw the Workflow. Since the Data Items are information that is finally viewed by both the superior and subordinate, so the Items should be given names that are easy to understand for both of them.

<Example of Data Item name>
1, [instructs preparation of a report] – [Guideline of the Report]
2, [a report] ————————– [Report File]
3, [Checking] ————————– [Check Result]
In this case, it became one Data Item for one Task by coincidence, but it could be more than one Data Item. If in the contents of [Guideline of the Report], for example, there were «content to be prepared» and «submission deadline», these would be two Data Items. That would be clear at the hearing, by asking such as «What are the specific matters to be «instructed» in the term of Report Preparation Instruction?«. (Or, when you actually run in the test, the «superior» may notice the lack of items.)

Settings of attributes of Data Items

Once the total number of Data Items has been determined, the attributes for each Data Item will be set next. At the same time, set up the input format as well. (Although you may make the setting of the input format later, it is more efficient to do at this timing.) In addition to the input type, include required/arbitrary of input in considering input format. In this case, input should be «required» since if any of the Data Item has not been entered, it will be problems at the following steps. (For example, without the Guideline of the Report, nobody knows what kind of report should be prepared.)

<Example of attribute setting of Data Items>
1, [Guideline of the Report] – String type (required)
2, [Report File] ————- File type (required)
3, [Check Result] ———— Select type (required)

Example of settings is as in the figure below.
(fig.1: Data Items setting example)

There, it will be better to think as if you are the person who will be inputting. you may notice, for example, that «when the superior writes Guideline of the Report, it’s not possible to describe only in one line!» If so, you can set the subtype of String type to multiple-lines.

(fig.2: Setting example of «Guideline of the Report» Data Item

Settings of Input Form

After you finish setting up Data Items, set up Input Form next. That is easy as well! The setting is carried out on «Data editing permission» tab of Property screen of the Tasks on the Workflow diagram.

(fig.3: Setting example of Input Form of «Instruct Preparation» Task)

You only need to select one out of three in input/display formats, «Editable«, «Only display» and «No displayy» for each Data Item. Explaining in the example in Fig. 3, there is no problem as long as the superior can input «Guideline of the Report» since what the superior does is to instruct to prepare a report at the Task of «Instruct Preparation». (Editable)
Since the Data Items of «Report File» and «Check result» will be input later at the subsequent Tasks, it will be proper to be set to «No display«. Regarding the “Title,” it is desirable that inputting to be completed at the first Task.

It is completed by setting in the same way as these manipulations to the Tasks of «Prepare/Submit» and «Check»! After finish setting in each Task, let’s confirm by clicking «Form Preview» button in the middle of the Task property screen (under the memo column).

(fig.4: Form Preview of «Instruct Preparation» Task screen)

Closing

Now, ««2, Setting up data» and «3, Configuration of Input Forms» is (almost) done. Of course, this setting is not always necessarily correct. If you ask the user carefully, «If you say, I have let my subordinates submit some other materials. (Oops…)» Couldn’t it be? But don’t worry. It is easy to add Data Items or change input forms with the operations described above.

First of all, try to create and confirm the best content based on the obtained information

It will also be one of the points of evaluation that if you can build the workflow little by little like this or not, and if it is easy to do or not. On the other hand, it can be said that a high-precision Workflow can be completed quickly if the business rules have been organized in advance. I would like to recommend that first you analyze the business rules and organize it (to a certain extent), and then to try out the operability with it!

Series conclusion

Now, I have posted Cool Evaluation Method (1), Cool Evaluation Method (2), Cool Evaluation Method (3) in a series of «Cool Evaluation Method for Workflow Systems». These are the contents of up to «3, Configuration of Input Forms» written in «Looking back on the Evaluation method (2) and agenda» section.

4, Configuration of Splitting conditions in the flow
5, Setting up the Operator of each Task

Do you say «What’s about on #4 and #5?» When I hear from you, I will write another post concerning those.
In this post, I think I have shown you «a typical example of Workflow system settings» based on the settings of Questetra BPM Suite. That means, Workflow systems and BPMS (Business Process Management System/Suite) etc. have roughly similar settings, and I suppose that the procedure may proceed in the same way. I hope that you can utilize, not only for Questetra BPM Suite. (Though, I strongly recommend Questetra BPM Suite, of course!)

As Questetra BPM Suite offers an environment (starter plan) that you can try out immediately, so I believe that it can be said it is the best for evaluation. I would be happy if you could evaluate by adding the work you want to workflows, according to the procedure I introduced.

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