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IT Directions

Keith Harrison-Broninski

The new process modelling - Roles are not swim lanes

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People new to object-oriented process modelling often confuse HIM Roles with swim lanes in procedural notations such as BPMN and the UML.  This is an easy mistake to make, since at first glance, both appear to be a way of assigning people (or machines, or organizations) to tasks.

This is exactly what a swim lane is.  However, a  Role in HIM is not this at all, but rather a set of responsibilities.  Taking on a Role in a HIM Plan means accepting those responsibilities - and you may wish to decline.

Taking on a Role also means that you get what you need in order to fulfil its responsibilities:

  • Understanding of the goals to which those responsibilities pertain (the Stages in which your Role is included);
  • Membership of the appropriate teams (the other Roles in those Stages);
  • Structured communication channels with those teams (Messages sent within a Stage);
  • Definition of the expected Deliverables (defined as part of your Activities in each Stage);
  • Access to the Resources required to produce them (the inputs to your Activities in each Stage).
A Role is much more than a way to group tasks - it has purpose, behaviour and content.  In particular, your Role actually contains data and documents (or more likely, links to data and documents stored in enterprise systems), and you may well add new data and documents to it as you do the work required to meet its responsibilities.  A Role is therefore also a mechanism for creating, sharing and maintaining knowledge.

More about Roles in the next post.  In the meantime, if you would like to try HumanEdj, visit http://rolemodellers.com/get_started to register for an account on the demo Web instance.

Keith Harrison-Broninski cuts through the hype in his hands-on guide to where enterprise IT is really going

Keith Harrison-Broninski

Keith Harrison-Broninski is a researcher, writer, keynote speaker, software architect and consultant working at the forefront of the IT and business worlds.


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