business process analysis and interaction design?

21 Jan 2009 - 4:55pm
5 years ago
2 replies
1272 reads
Judy Stern
2009

We're on the verge of starting a new-ish project (some work done
already, but that's another issue).
The system is to be built using an SOA approach, which, it seems,
means that it will be be highly dependent on business process analysis
practices in order to define the Services. (In theory, there will be a
BPA and a UX person on the team...although we're both actually
interaction designers and will be covering both roles.)
Have you successfully integrated business process analysis practices
with interaction design practices? Have you worked on SOA projects as
an interaction designer, and if so, how did your role change? If so,
any advice or good references? (All I can find is a June 2007 IBM
paper "Integrate business modeling and interaction design".)

tia,
Judy Stern
University of California, Berkeley

Comments

22 Jan 2009 - 4:26am
Mike Padgett
2008

Hi, Judy!

I have a few (general and entirely personal) comments on this subject. First thing I'd say is: lucky you! Having had a bit of first-hand relevant experience, I'm a closet nut for business process analysis where once I might have yawned at it. Why? Well, the analogy is irresistible: BPA really is the interaction design of running a business. And like IxD, there's a lot of bad examples floating around.

I currently work for a government client that promotes the use of RUP (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rup - that's your friend and mine IBM again), which is, for those of us who don't know by heart all of the silly acronyms that blight our current epoch, a long-established process framework for software development.

What's great about RUP is that you can custom build your project processes out of a whole range of parts. What's not so great is that, unless you have years of savoir faire, how do you know you've selected the right parts? Nevertheless, the flexibility of RUP is usually preferable to the inflexibility of heavily prescriptive alternatives and it can comfortably work with other (often more stringently applied) management frameworks such as CMMI, ITIL and COBIT. Enough of the acronyms! ;-)

Business process modelling is also very similar to use case modelling, as I discovered a few years ago when the new BPM, seen by some as a mountebank and by others an angel, came to each dept and asked us to "map our processes". At that time, BPA was that org's way of achieving the ISO9001:2000 quality standard. I used the super-expensive Triaster toolset to do the job (which is basically a big Visio plugin) and I felt very much at home with it!

Accordingly the BPA and IxD roles are very much aligned and in my modest experience, out of everyone in a project team it's the relentless IxDer who will take the initiative and run with it. In the same way that the work of many IxDers often bleeds into ordinary business analysis.

The BP Managers I've encountered tend to be ex Project Managers for whom PM wasn't sufficiently stretching. These folks can sometimes be a bit passionless, with the cold calculation of a hitman orthodontist ;-)

On the other hand, the kind of professional *you* would have to be to occupy that *dual* role you mentioned is someone with a lot of curiosity and a near-dangerous interest in efficiency (that's many of us) but who doesn't have the blinkers for tech and interfaces (that narrows it down a little).

When you succeed in doing your BPA effectively, and I'd put money on you doing it better than folks who have it in their job titles, it will considerably broaden your capabilities because the results you need to deliver will be considerably broader and longer term than those you typically get in pure IxD projects. Crucially, you'll usually get to see the fruits of your labour maturing live rather than in the form of stats etc, which is another cool aspect of BP. Lastly, another by-product is that you may also find yourself tasked in the future with other, apparently 'off-topic' tasks.

Best wishes,

Mike

-------------------
www.mikepadgett.com
-------------------

>We're on the verge of starting a new-ish project (some work done
>already, but that's another issue).
>The system is to be built using an SOA approach, which, it seems,
>means that it will be be highly dependent on business process analysis
>practices in order to define the Services. (In theory, there will be a
>BPA and a UX person on the team...although we're both actually
>interaction designers and will be covering both roles.)
>Have you successfully integrated business process analysis practices
>with interaction design practices? Have you worked on SOA projects as
>an interaction designer, and if so, how did your role change? If so,
>any advice or good references? (All I can find is a June 2007 IBM
>paper "Integrate business modeling and interaction design".)
>
>tia,
>Judy Stern
>University of California, Berkeley
>
>
>________________________________________________________________
>Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

22 Jan 2009 - 11:01am
Mark Schraad
2006

Hi Judy,
Much of the information I am familiar with comes from the business side of
things, but, in general there a two high level approaches. One is focused on
cost management (TQM, TCM and six sigma), the other would be with 'adding
value' as the goal (reference GE and others). There are plenty case studies
you might reference from Harvard Business Review. These former is sometimes
an result of operations analysis, the later can come from anywhere, but is a
logical extension of market analysis (think SWOT analysis of Porter's five
factors).

Personally, I have found these sorts of analysis extremely helpful in
working with clients to find ways to not only improve products and services,
but in marketing and selling those services. When there is a distribution or
deliverable method outside of web or software...I have found that one on one
interviews with differing roles in the distribution channels very helpful. I
have done ride-alongs with sales folks that were (in an ethnographic sort of
way) incredibly insightful. Often times sales people have valuable tacit
knowledge that they do not know how to package and give to you (but I
digress).

Getting some experience in this would seam to me, to add some real value to
you and your career. Good stuff and I think its really fun.

Mark

On Wed, Jan 21, 2009 at 4:55 PM, Judy Stern <jlstern at berkeley.edu> wrote:

> We're on the verge of starting a new-ish project (some work done already,
> but that's another issue).
> The system is to be built using an SOA approach, which, it seems, means
> that it will be be highly dependent on business process analysis practices
> in order to define the Services. (In theory, there will be a BPA and a UX
> person on the team...although we're both actually interaction designers and
> will be covering both roles.)
> Have you successfully integrated business process analysis practices with
> interaction design practices? Have you worked on SOA projects as an
> interaction designer, and if so, how did your role change? If so, any advice
> or good references? (All I can find is a June 2007 IBM paper "Integrate
> business modeling and interaction design".)
>
> tia,
> Judy Stern
> University of California, Berkeley
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

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