Portfolio > Blueworks Live
IBM Blueworks Live is an app available on the Web for documenting your business processes as you interview peers and discover how things are done in your company. The online tool allows each user to login and collaborate on artifacts in the account, with permissions tailored based on their role.
Adding the ability to discover Decisions
Since the beginning, Blueworks Live has been a collaborative tool for discovering and documenting business processes. Now, analysts are documenting even more. There's a new notional model around documenting decisions. How are decisions suppose to be made? What rules do you follow? Standards had popped up around using tables to document rules and how they lead to a decision being made. In this release, we build a new diagrammer for modeling decisions and how they relate to each other, each with their own table.
A new experience just for viewers
Business analysts who create and edit their processes in Blueworks Live wanted to share their work with other people their organization. They wanted management or other analysts to be able to review them or other employees to reference and follow the approved process for doing their work. We call these folks "viewers" of the process. Since a viewer need only be able to search for a process and reference it, the existing product experience was too heavy for such a user, who need not be confused by all the navigation and actions available to analysts. Therefore, I designed a new experience just for the viewer license with a focus on their primary tasks: search, review, and find again easily.
Over the years, Business Analysts have been using Blueworks Live to discover their processes. In doing so, we observed they often choose various colors for their activities in the diagram - and for various reasons! For example, they might color an activity red if it's incomplete, meaning they still need to finish providing details for that activity. The end goal? To have no colors on their diagrams. We learned that they would like to be able to communicate what their colors mean with each other. Afterall, this is a tool that supports collaboration. So, we gave them the ability to do so in a color legend that becomes available while you are using colors - a color legend that automatically shows when you're in read-only views or our playback mode for presentations.
Attached intermediate events
While there are many notations possible in the BPMn (Business Process Management notation), Blueworks Live started simple by supporting the most commonly used elements. Over time we can observe what users need most, especially as the notation matures over time with the market. We discovered a need for supporting events that are attached to activities. The following are my icons and interactions to support this, matching our existing style and behavior.
Organization of spaces into hierarchies
In Blueworks Live, the artifacts you build live in "spaces." You specify who can participate with various items that are in the space. Starting simple, we supported a flat list of spaces. You could only see those for which you could participate, filter by the name, and narrow down to your favorites. But after years of use, organizations still struggled to find their spaces after building hundreds if not thousands of them. They wanted to organize things similarly to their organization, and hacked this with long naming conventions. Instead, they wanted to nest spaces into spaces, and name the spaces appropriately. The challenge, to provide this capability with ease and simplicity - not with a clunky, traditional tree view.
Space managers were finding it difficult to set up and maintain permissions for their spaces. For example, when they added a new user to the account, they would need to go into several spaces one at a time adding the person as a participant in those spaces. With the addition of user groups, people could set up groups of users and add those user groups to spaces instead. Now, they need only maintain users in a group, which automatically gives users permissions to spaces that have the group.
Preferred glossary terms
When business analysts add details to their process diagrams, those details are added to the Glossary. These business terms are often used across processes. We learned that analysts want to be about to encourage each other to use certain terms for their properties when possible. To do this, we now allow them to set a term in the glossary as a preferred term. Doing this recommends the terms to users as they are entering in their process details. We specifically chose not to force users into picking one of these terms, as this is a process discovery tool where users should still be able to enter a new term.