Roles is a key concept in social and organizational studies and is a hot topic in these application areas; Enterprise Role Management (ERM), Role Engineering Assessment (REA), Role Life-cycle Management (RLM), Social Networking for Business, Business Process Management (BPM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Holistic Design of Active Knowledge Architectures. The definition of identity, authentication, authorization, accessibility, and traceability are security needs driving this growing interest.

In most IT applications authorization is isolated from the tasks, the enabling methods and data. Roles and role-specific workplaces with tasks and views, are not supported. Coherence, coordination and collaboration are poorly supported. Workplaces are programmed and can not be designed in context-rich workspaces. Roles operate in workspaces created by work-centric and situated knowledge.

In this post we therefore look at the benefits of designing roles in context-rich workspaces. How structured roles and work-centric knowledge form the basis for a new form of smart organization. A smart organization of service-teams must be able to design and engineer roles and workspaces as projects evolve to capture practical rules and methods. Agile project teams with clear responsibilities and rules for providing services to each other should be designed as part of project design. Read the rest of this entry »

Knowledge Management (KM) ranked high on corporate manager agendas in the early 1990s, but KM rapidly became a confusing term that managers scorned. KM systems never delivered what IT providers promised. However, some advanced information management methods were invented, and enterprise portals were developed.  

Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 technologies are providing new means for social networking and sharing of personal and public knowledge. However, the core situated and work-centric enterprise knowledge can not yet be expressed, shared and managed by these technologies.

Managing work-centric and situated enterprise knowledge demands fundamental rethinking of not only the nature of enterprise knowledge, but also the practical approach to realizing knowledge management. Knowledge workers must be equipped with services to manage personal as well as role-specific knowledge. Practitioners must be empowered to react to operational events, and become responsible for their own actions, data, workspaces and work plans. Personal competence and skill profiles must match the roles the person is authorized to perform.

This post looks at how knowledge management can be implemented across projects, stages, systems and disciplines, and lifecycles, using active knowledge architectures to update and configure workspaces of work-centric and situated knowledge. Read the rest of this entry »

In the 1990s most leading companies were very much concerned about knowledge management, recognizing that knowledge and competence are the driving forces of business, design and innovation. Industrial managers were also concerned about brain drain, loss of practical competence when skilled workers with multiple job experiences retired or left to join competitors.

This post is an attempt to revitalize industrial interest in KM by introducing new concepts and discoveries, such as knowledge architectures and families, and by giving good answers to industry questions like:

  1. What is enterprise knowledge?
  2. What inherent properties does enterprise knowledge exhibit, and what capabilities does it provide?
  3. How is enterprise knowledge best expressed, shared and managed by industrial users?
  4. How is work-centric knowledge best encoded to meet industrial needs?

The questions are answered based on scientific discoveries and experiences from industrial pilots. Read the rest of this entry »

Large projects are complex, involving multiple products, disciplines, methodologies, techniques, systems and stakeholders. They often fail to meet expectations, schedules and budgets, and results are often poorly validated and managed. Current IT support to project definition, planning, execution and management is fragmented and rigid. Lifecycle data exchange is transformative rather than evolutionary. Innovation is not driven by evolution, embedding experiences and lessons-learned. There are many uncertainties and unknown dependencies in the early phases, many nonproductive meetings, stove-piped and sequential information flows, poor data management, and limited knowledge sharing. Collaborative design, cross-functional team working, and service composition are inhibited. Work environments and user interfaces are rigid and discipline-specific.

This post raises the questions: Are we wrongly trying to generalize and program creative work, collaborative and adaptive environments, and human behavior? Are we doing right to standardize properties, embedding their parameters and values in code? Can this approach serve complex customers with dynamic demands for controlling dependencies, supporting innovation, and automating adaptation? Read the rest of this entry »

Business processes are commonly defined as a set of related activities directed at producing an outcome. In bureaucratic case processing, the outcome is typically a decision, which is documented in a case file and communicated using e.g. formal letters. For the management, improvement and automation of some of these processes, BPM and workflow systems are adequate. Knowledge intensive processes like engineering, design, and construction, however, produce outcomes that are far more complex. To manage, improve, and automate such processes, we must design product models and process models in parallel, with evolving product structures as the core and foundation. This post presents a case from oil&gas field development, outlines why a product-driven business process management approach is needed, and how it is applied. Read the rest of this entry »

The visual modeling editor of the Oslo platform is now available for community technology preview (CTP). Since the first Oslo CTP half a year ago, the focus of the public discourse has been the textual language M, taking a programmers’ perspective, focusing on the design of textual domain specific languages and repository database structures. For those of us more interested in visual modeling and a new paradigm for model-driven applications, it has been a long wait.

This post summarizes early experiences from playing with Quadrant. Its user interface is novel, uniform, and functional, but a bit cumbersome, and as an early preview it exposes a lot of the underlying wiring, nuts and bolts. Interesting features are the combination of textual and graphical views, and the use of multiple layers for zoom and navigation. Some functionality is well supported, such as customizing views and interacting with large models in multiple workpads. On the other hand, services for e.g. relationship modeling are poor. The current scope of Quadrant is limited to visualizing and editing instance data. Metamodeling and definition of new extents (storage areas) must be done in the Intellipad text editor. Read the rest of this entry »

Earlier this year, Henk De Man of Cordys published two papers on case management at bptrends, one about different modeling approaches, and another about the approach taken by Cordys. This contribution has also been submitted to the OMG as an answer to their dynamic business activity modeling RFI. I recommend these papers to anyone interested in flexible BPMS, and applaud the company for making this information public. These descriptions represent the best I have seen from any vendor in this field.

Our active knowledge architecture approach is well aligned with this proposal from Cordys, though our emphasis is the complex creative and artistic human-interaction processes that are typically organized in projects. Projects are larger and more complex than cases, requiring multi-dimensional modeling and continuous elaboration of project plans as instance level process models. This post explores similarities between case management and process-oriented knowledge architectures, and proposes some additional use cases and solutions that we believe would make case management simpler and more useful for a wider range of dynamic business activities. Rather than defining new languages for different kinds of processes, we believe that a common process modeling core standard should support dialects (or profiles) for different modeling scenarios, such as “BPMN for standard BPMS”, “case management”, and “project planning and execution”. Read the rest of this entry »