Implementing workflow rules – Making your workflows more efficient

Make your workflows more efficient by implementing workflow rules.

There are sometimes things that can’t be changed, like breaking the law by going faster or ignoring other rules of the road.
Xpeditor provides mechanisms to selectively restrict change to flows.  With the potential for serious missteps in the execution of flows, organizations need the balancing capability to lock down certain steps in their flows, ensuring compliance on the one hand, enabling goal-centric behavior on the other.  This provides flexibility while still ensuring control where variations are not permitted.
Many complex systems are based on simple rules. A set of several simple rules leads to complex, intelligent behavior, while a set of complex rules often leads to dumb and primitive behavior. There are many examples of this.
Flocking geese follow a simple set of rules when flying in formation: don’t bump into each other, match up with the speed of the other geese flying by, replace the lead goose when it gets tired, and always remain with the group.
From these few simple rules, a complex and efficient flying pattern emerges.
The point is that workflow rules are used sparingly in Xpeditor compared to what you would find in traditional BPM. There is no attempt to nail down each possible path or every possible exception. This provides the individual participants a large degree of autonomy, while reaching the group’s objective efficiently under many different circumstances.
There are 3 types of workflow rules that can be included:
Hard rules
These are rules that can’t be broken or require extraordinary authority to override them. These are often used to enforce compliance requirements, for example. Going back to our football analogy, these would be the rules of the game.
Soft rules
Soft rules are designed to steer users in the right direction. They are more like suggestions that ultimately get enforced based on user judgment. These are the plays where participants are expected to keep within the bounds of the play formation.
Sequence rules
These rules ensure that a step cannot start until the prerequisites for starting the step can be met; e.g., the quarterback can’t throw the ball until the receiver is in position. You can’t ship an order until it is complete, or until the buyer’s credit has been checked. Sequence rules can be hard or soft.

The function of rules

  • Rules ensure that processes do what they are supposed to do.
  • Rules determine the path a process should take based on different conditions.
  • Rules constrain the selection of specific tasks, or trigger other tasks and flows based on the user’s selection of tasks within a flow.
  • Rules can be used to determine when a task can be marked as complete, when a task can be started, when exceptions need to be processed, etc.
  • Rules ensure compliance with regulations, security and policies.
  • Rules provide a full audit trail of what was done by whom, where and when.
  • Rules provide an element of consistence.
Workflow rules are an important part of your workflows, but now you should learn more about process management by requesting a copy of our white paper.