Looking for Real World Process Patterns

February 12, 2009
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Much has been said or written about process patterns, but the debate usually focuses on academical theories or technical considerations, both of which get boring pretty fast. What’s more interesting (to me at least) is the discovery of real-world process patterns, and their implementation into easy-to-use tools. One such tool is Zapproved.com, and it does a great job at handling the multi-party approval process.

The approval process is a great candidate for process automation, for the following reasons: it’s asynchronous, it usually involves more than two parties, and it requires auditing and non-repudiation. Zapproved.com is a new Office 2.0 application that does it all, and quite a bit more. Its user interface is very intuitive, and its pricing makes it affordable to virtually any organization (even by today’s standards).

Another process pattern that is screaming for automation is the multi-party event scheduling process. While publishing a free/busy calendar makes it easier to schedule events among two parties, something a bit more robust is required when more than two parties need to meet or have a call. In this area, nothing beats Presdo, and I am pleased to report that I r

Much has been said or written about process patterns, but the debate usually focuses on academical theories or technical considerations, both of which get boring pretty fast. What’s more interesting (to me at least) is the discovery of real-world process patterns, and their implementation into easy-to-use tools. One such tool is Zapproved.com, and it does a great job at handling the multi-party approval process.

The approval process is a great candidate for process automation, for the following reasons: it’s asynchronous, it usually involves more than two parties, and it requires auditing and non-repudiation. Zapproved.com is a new Office 2.0 application that does it all, and quite a bit more. Its user interface is very intuitive, and its pricing makes it affordable to virtually any organization (even by today’s standards).

Another process pattern that is screaming for automation is the multi-party event scheduling process. While publishing a free/busy calendar makes it easier to schedule events among two parties, something a bit more robust is required when more than two parties need to meet or have a call. In this area, nothing beats Presdo, and I am pleased to report that I recently joined their Board of Advisors.

Yet another process pattern I like is the task delegation process. Here is how it works: as part of your GTD routine, you identify a task to be completed by someone else. For the workflow to work (or flow), you need a simple mechanism to request someone to perform the task, then notify you when it’s done. Ideally, you’d like to create the request by sending an email to some kind of web service. The email would look something like:


TO: task@intalio.com
SUBJECT: Link to Matt Asay's recent CNET article from intalio.com website
BODY: crow@intalio.com

By convention, the email’s body would contain one of more email addresses to which the task would be sent. Recipients would receive an email requesting the task to be performed, and showing two buttons (or links), one called “Completed” and the other called “Denied.” The web service would also provide a REST API that would allow it to be connected to existing task management systems. I do not know any Office 2.0 application doing that today, and we might very well create one as part of our Dogfood Project.

If you know other generic process patterns like these, please send them our way.

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