Choosing a Process Management Tool

One question that I continually ask myself is what makes email+spreadsheets the preferred method of process management for most processes (I think most people now agree with this statement – see my previous post on the subject). So as an experiment I decided to try and find user criteria for a process management tool and compare it with what email and spreadsheets provide (this post ran a bit too long, so I’ll cover the comparison in my next post). I was interested not in what vendors say users should want, not in what developers want – but what the business users that own and participate in the process want). I didn’t want to base it solely on my own experience – since that would be too subjective. I thought using other peoples criteria could help make it more objective. 

It wasn’t easy to find such a list but there was a LinkedIn discussion on the topic a while back that is summarized by Gary Comerford in his post: Your Criteria for Choosing a BPM Tool? I took some liberties with the lists in the blog post (leaving out what is clearly technical criteria, and adding the points in the comments) and came up with the following list (in no special order and which I hope will generate a lot of discussion):

1. Ease of to use for all the constituents involved in the proces implementation and execution – developers, business analysts, process owners and process participants.
2. Existing product usage patterns and successful deployments – not just in general, but with the same type of processes.
3. Process implementation speed and agility.
4. Cost – not just the software, but the overall project and maintenance cost.
5. Tool reliability, ubiquity and acceptance.
6. No vendor lock-in.
7. Multiple language support.
8. Participant control – an environment that can be configured into an actual, useful production interface without coding.
9. Ability to implement true end-to-end processes (this is my translation for – powerful, eay to use integration capabilities).

I would love to hear feedback on these criteria – in my next post I’ll check how email and spreadsheets stand up.

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