AGILIPO: Embedding Social Software Features – a literature review
Antonio Rito Silva, Rachid Meziani, Rodrigo Magalhaes, David Martinho, Ademar Aguiar and Nuno Flores
Center for Organizational Design and Engineering – INOV, Rua Alves Redol 9, Lisbon, Portugal
AGILIPO: Embedding Social Software Features
Rito-Silva et al (2009) discuss the view that business processes should not stifle human intervention and social technology should be embedded within the modelling and execution phases of these processes. They believe that this will support the bottom up design approach to model development and execution. By way of example, Rito-Silva et al (2009) describe how by employing a folksonomy approach, process stakeholders can tag their activities, share and search these tags, for the activities and comments of others (Marlow et al, 2006; Wal, 2007; Wu et al, 2006). Process modellers can then analyse these activities and create a newer version of the process model.
Rito-Silva et al (2009) discuss the work of Morgan (2002) and Cumberlidge (2007) who view BPM to be inherited from the Business Process Reengineering approach from the 1990’s. This top down, as is/to be view of process modelling is related to the model-reality divide between the process model development and implementation phases. This gap leads to a lack of understanding between the business model user and the IT model developer.
Rito-Silva et al (2009) provide insight into this issue by defining an Agile Business Process Methodology (AGILIPO) and tools designed to support a collaborative and incremental approach to BPM. The underlying concept of this paper is the iterative cycle of process improvement driven by user feedback. In addition, this collaborative approach empowers all process stakeholders to model and execute business processes iteratively and simultaneously.
The traditional as-is/to-be approach to understanding and defining process flows requires lengthy modelling activities before any intervention can commence (Rito-Silva et al, 2009). According to the Authors, this approach is not ideal due to several factors such as the different organisational perspectives of involved parties; undiscovered tacit knowledge of model users; rigid models of future change and modelling complexity for exception handling.
Rito-Silva et al (2009) believe that the solution to the model-reality divide is that the organisational BPM methodology should be agile enough to support short feedback cycles (Beck et al, 2001) and after each cycle a review is conducted to understand the impact of the last process change (Magalhaes and Rito-Silva, 2009). Key features of the agile business process proposal are model incompleteness; empowerment of the user community; intertwining of process design and execution; and design processes on a case-by-case, individual instance level.
Rito-Silva et al (2009) provide a case study to discuss the application of their AGILIPO tools to the Selling process of an online bookstore. In this case study, Modellers suggestions are captured in a wiki like application with new suggestions supporting the creation of process model revisions. This organic, knowledge creation process provides motivation of the contributors through the contributions of others (Garud et al, 2008). Communication and collaboration between process stakeholders is enabled through the use of the social technology features of folksonomy based content tagging, model versioning, stakeholder commentary and process model suitability ratings.
As outlined by Rito-Silva et al (2009), a key factor of emerging Business Process Management methodologies will be agility (Dreiling, 2009), and this is supported by the application of social technologies. This continuous improvement and knowledge creation & retention approach will assist to narrow the perceived gap between BPM designers and those who execute the models.