Life Process Improvement

Yet another interesting week passed – and a new one has just started. As always, a week full of processes, questions and observations..

Last Monday I visited the SOAMED PhD school (PhD School for Service-oriented Architectures for the Integration of Software-basd Processes exemplified by Health Care Systems and Medical Technology) at the technical university of Berlin (TU Berlin).

I was kindly invited by Uwe Nestmann to talk about my work on flexible and adaptable business process modelling with applications to healthcare workflows – and it was great to have a day with hours of uninterrupted discussion with Uwe and his smart PhD students – presenting my own work and getting inspiration from their related work.

The fact that one can reach Berlin by a cheap one hour flight, landing in the middle of the very pleasant city, and after less than 15 minutes bus-drive from the airport find colleagues and an audience of 10-15 PhD students definitely makes it clear that this possibility should be exploited more often. An obvious candidate for a life process improvement.

It also make one think about the new airport being constructed in Berlin, which no one at TU Berlin seems to be  looking forward to, since it will make the commute much longer to and from the airport. It will hopefully improve a lot of workflows at the airport, but not the work and “life processes” of the people in Berlin and their visitors, who will need much more time to commute.

Having safely returned home, only slightly delayed by the snow, I made a decision for another life process improvement – namely to delete my account at FaceBook. I am sure I somehow will miss the updates from many dear friends around the world. But, I found my self checking FaceBook too often and engaging in stupid discussions, and then I became increasingly worried about the privacy policy changes and the fact that a private company earns money on selling my updates to advertisers.  I may give up and return – but so far I must say that it also feels like a candidate for life process improvement. At least I found my self, instead of checking FaceBook, picking up a great book that I left before christmas and starting to read it again.

And today, during my lecture on process modelling, I got a somewhat surprising, spontaneous applause from the students, when I mentioned that I just quitted Facebook. It may of course be because they think it was because I moved on to something more trendy, or that it would give me time to write course notes. But I choose to believe, that some of them really agreed that my virtual suicide was a clever decision – and that life process improvements are even more important than (and likely lead to) business process improvements.


Course on Business Process Modelling started – constraints first

The Spring teaching term has started at IT University of Copenhagen. It will be an exciting term.

This Monday I gave the first (joint) lecture at the IT & Business Process Modelling course (mandatory at 4th term of the Global Business Informatics bachelor) and the Business Process Modelling and Analysis course (offered as specialisation courses to MSc students at the Digital Innovation & Management and at the Software Development and Technology programmes).

This years course will be even more exciting than previous year for several reasons.

Firstly, we are able to use the DCR Graphs business process constraint mapping and simulation tool developed at Exformatics as an outcome of the industrial PhD project of my student Tijs Slaats. We have decided to teach “constraints first”, the point being that you need to capture and understand the constraints of your business process before trying to map the process flow as BPMN processes. Next week, Tijs will give an overview of flexibility needs in business process modelling and a tutorial on the tool (while I am visiting the SOAMED PhD school in Berlin, presenting the most recent research behind DCR Graphs – but that must be another blog post).

Secondly, we will try to coordinate the BSc course more closely with the IT-enabled Process-Improvement course, which is also mandatory for the Global Business Informatics students at their 4th term. In this course, the students will be introduced to several techniques for improving processes. As always, this is more interesting, if the students can work on a real process from a real business or organisation. We have a number of contacts (including companies at the 5th floor at ITU and healthcare processes from collaborators at PUCPR in Curitiba, Brazil) but are always interested in more. It need not require more than 2-3 meetings/Skype interviews with the students and in return you will get business process maps and a proposal for business process improvement.

Finally, the processes being modelled by the students will mid-term be given to the 2nd year students at the Software Development bachelor programme, who will then develop a distributed workflow management system that can support the processes. In addition to being an exciting project I hope the students will also find it exciting to interact and meet students across the bachelor programmes.

The slides for this weeks lectures can be found at slideshare.