How Prolaborate exactly works
We’re going to look at:
|First we’ll looks at the kinds of information which NewCo have already put into EA, and why that makes it unrealistic to just give business users direct access to it.
See section 3 - What’s in EA
Then we’ll see what Prolaborate looks like from the point of view of a non-EA using business person, and how Prolaborate changes how business people can look at EA information. Dave, a business user will look at:
4.1. Dashboard, Curation and searching
3. Commenting and discussing
4. Updating EA
5. Getting other people involved
We’ll then go back and see how Dave ended up with such a great experience when he used Prolaborate. Andi, who is an EA user and Prolaborate administrator did the following:
7. Setting up a dashboard
8. Giving Access permissions
9. Editing Profiles
10. Featuring a diagram
Beth is the manager of Dave and Clare, and only uses Prolaborate to give formal approval to what’s happening, but also to keep track of what’s happening.
Clare is also a business expert, but unlike Dave, she isn’t a Prolaborate user at the start of the demo. She’s the kind of user who uses the company intranet today, and who we’d like to start using Prolaborate instead
In this part, we’ll look briefly at what information there is in Enterprise Architect, and why we can’t just give a copy of EA to people like Dave
Note: if you are a Prolaborate Partner, you may have direct access to the underlying EA model via EA Cloud or Remote Desktop. You can show what this model looks like directly. But if you don’t have access, see the image below.
Here’s a view of what’s in the NewCo model:
|Notes to demonstrators||The main point here is that there is LOTS of stuff in this EA model. After all, it’s the one model used by the whole of the NewCo company.|
No way can we just give business users access to EA: there’s too much going on which they don’t care about, and they will probably find it hard to find the bits which they do care about.
And the level of detail in EA is also probably too much for business users. After all, EA is a modelling environment, so it’s always going to have lots of function which non-modellers don’t need.
For example, if you open the details of an activity in a business process, EA shows you:
This is great if you know BPMN, but a bit frightening if you’re not. There are all the BPMN tagged values which probably don’t mean much (even to some BPMN experts!) And the stuff on the left-hand side may not be a surprise to EA users – just the standard attributes which all elements can have – but is really confusing for non-EA users.
And EA doesn’t let us customise the user interface for inexperienced users.
So this is why we need Prolaborate.
Dave is a business user, and he’s got involved with the Get Lost project to be the expert on some of the new business processes. He’s OK reading process diagrams, but he’s not a BPMN or EA expert.
This dashboard has been specially created for people like Dave, who are doing process reviews for the GetLost project. You can see how it got created in Section 6.1 below.
It shows all the stuff which Dave might be interested in:
a) The Start Here tile shows some diagrams which have been marked by other users as interesting.
b) A summary of the processes which he’s working on
Just click on the chart to see a more readable one
c) The Reviews he’s currently involved with (see reviews below)
d) Then some other diagrams and background reading, which Andi - who set this up – thinks process-review users might find useful. A process we call ‘curation’.
The Dashboard is the front-door to Prolaborate. Making it friendly and helpful will help to reassure business users that they aren’t being asked to use some deep-technical application, but instead, something which is simple and clear.
Prolaborate Repository Browser
In this section, we saw how Dave had a quick and easy way of looking at useful knowledge in EA.
We can now move on to see how Dave can start to add some value to this new process.
Discussions and comments are at the heart of Prolaborate. They let users get really involved with what they are seeing. They can see what other people think, and add their own knowledge. The aim is to provide them with a user experience which is as similar as possible to other 'comment and discuss' type application, which the user may have used elsewhere, so they can re-use that experience.
So we have seen how Prolaborate users can explore and comment on information from EA. We’ll now see how they can edit that data directly from within Prolaborate.
Dave has been asked to add some process ‘measures’ – times and costs – to the new process.
This gives quick access to the important things about this EA Activity Choose Attributes:
(note that this is Dave’s view of a BPMN acivity. Compare it to the raw EA view of the activity we saw above) Lots to say here:
1. The list of attributes which Dave can see is WAY smaller than what EA saves
2. He has been given write access to some of the attributes: just the ‘Documentation’ (EA ‘notes’) and the Measures
3. Hovering over the ‘i’ gives Dave some help about what the fields mean: he doesn’t need to be an EA expert
4. He can now input the Cost &Time (say 10 (USD) cost and 20 (minutes)
5. This data will appear immediately in EA, once he saves the changes
6. All this was defined by the Prolaborate Profile which Dave is using. It’s a simplified BPMN one, based on the supplied BPMN profile (from EA, but NewCo have added a few bits of their own) but made simpler so that business users can see what they need to do.
If time, go back to EA to see the TVs that Prolaborate created
Now that Dave is commenting on, and updating, the new processes, he decides that he’d like to consult one of his co-workers about this process – Clare has more experience than him about this area.
Dave has lots of ways he can choose to get Clare involved: Looking at the diagram, he can:
Dave clicks the ‘Share’ button on the diagram, chooses ‘invite collaborators’, and types “Clare” into the Email field:
Clare will now get an email, inviting her to take part, with a link to this exact diagram
Dave has had an informal look at the new process, and he’s now got Clare involved to help him. But Andi also wants Dave to review, and his boss Beth, to approve each process. Normally this would mean waiting until they are all complete, and create a huge document. With Prolaborate, Andi can just setup a Review (see below) to get Dave to look at a process, and when he is happy, Beth can approve it.
Andi has already setup a review for another process: ‘Supplier Setup’, and invited
..to open the diagram
Ok – Andi now knows that Dave has accepted those items, and he can get Beth to Approve them.
Dave has now successfully
Dave didn’t get such a smooth route through Prolaborate without some effort, so this section shows what magic Andi had to do behind the scenes.
His part of the demo assumes you have now understood how to navigate around Prolaborate, so doesn’t have such detailed instructions.
Andi is a Prolaborate Administrator, which means he has lots more options than regular users.
A key part of making Prolaborate simple for the user is to hide what they don’t need to see. Prolaborate does this through a simple access permissions mechanism.
A review involves:
Viewing the Profile that Dave was using
A user like Andi, who is an Admin, can flag certain diagrams as ‘Sticky’ (or ‘featured’). This is a system-wide setting, so any user who has a dashboard which displays the Sticky diagrams will see it. It’s a good way of making people generally aware of new stuff, without having to email everyone.
Beth is the manager of Dave and Clare. She’s not an EA user, not even a very regular Prolaborate user, but she needs to use Prolaborate sometime to approve things which Dave and Clare have already looked-at.
She needs a very different kind of Prolaborate, so Andi has created a different dashboard for her, and other NewCo managers.
He’s trying to give these managers an idea of what’s going on in EA/Prolaborate, without getting into too much detail
a) The reviews which Beth needs to look at.
i) Orange ones are being looked-at by her team
ii) Green ones need her attention (see below)
b) ‘What’s New’ is a list of the current diagrams which other users have flagged as ‘Sticky’ – worth looking at. Note these are just the ‘sticky’ diagrams which she is allowed to see – not all of them
c) The RAG status of some projects. These are just EA diagrams, created inside EA using information from the model.
d) Finally, some projects which are in progress, and a diagram which shows a new business model the managers are participating in.
The Supplier Account -FINAL process is ready for her to approve.
Clare, like Dave, is a business expert, but she is not currently a Prolaborate user.
She’s one of a large group of users who might need to use the knowledge which is in Prolaborate. So there is a dashboard just for them.
Here the demo, and the real system, differ slightly.
In the real Prolaborate system, Clare would be asked to provide an email address and some other details, and Prolaborate would send her a conformation email.
But this demo system doesn’t send emails to real email addresses for privacy reasons.
So, for the purposes of the demo, login to Prolaborate as
a)What kinds of model curation might they need to do in EA to improve that experience?
Andi is 36 and has worked in NewCo since he left university. He´s been a programmer, an analyst, and now works in the Architecture team. He's been using Enterprise Architect for about 4 years. Andi, think this should be and - and still part of the previous sentence. There should also not be a capital on the word The in biggest challenge The biggest challenge of his job is getting the attention of the business people he needs to talk to. He really enjoys doing workshops and talking 1:1, because he feels he learns lots about how the business works. But when he presents what he's discovered back to the business, he never feels he's quite 'got it'. He's missed something they already knew, or hasn't quite understood what they meant. What he needs is a way for those business experts to help him add what they know to what he knows. Then he'd have fuller picture, and they can all make better decisions about how to move forward.
Beth is 45 and has been working for NewCo for 8 years, since she was headhunted from a rival company. She manages the Customer Product Delivery team, which is a department of around 65 people, some in a small call centre who handle customer issues, some supplier relationship managers, and a handful of business experts, who she uses as troubleshooters for the really tricky customer issues. Beth is busy. Really busy. Her team are the public face of the company, so there are always issues to deal with...... She´s really keen to improve how the team works, both the way they tackle day-to-day problems, and the IT systems they use to fix them, but the IT guys seem to change every few months, so no sooner does she finish 'training them up' than they move on to some other project. So she has to start over again with the new guy. It would be great if just once someone from IT turned up knowing what the last guy knew, and understood the time-pressures they are under. And her team never have time for these 'workshops' the IT guys want. And she NEVER has time to read all the documents they send, let alone 'sign them off', so even though it's her who is responsible, she usually has to get one of the team to do it.
Clare is 53 and has been Beth´s 'go to' troubleshooter since soon after she joined the company, so they know each other really well. Clare's daughter even baby sits Beth's children. Clare has more than 30 years’ experience of the travel industry, and she's seen all kinds of crazy ideas come and go. Some make things better, some just make things different, so she's pretty cynical about whatever 'next big thing' IT come up with. She's done Quality Circles, Enterprise Databases, the Paperless Office project ("that was a great success = NOT") and a load of alphabet soup projects which were "going to change her life". She still spends most of every day fixing issues with suppliers and customers, trying to keep the show on the road. The only real change she's seen in all those years is the speed of the business. Everyone wants an answer right now, or yesterday. There's no time to think. She's always been frustrated with IT. They lock her up into 2 day workshops for some new project or other, (she usually has to send one of the team instead) then expect her to turn around a 200 page document in a couple days. Then, whatever they come up with usually shows they don't really understand what makes the business tick.
Dave works with Clare, in Beth´s team. He's not as experienced as Clare - he's only been in the business 20 years! Which still seems to be about 19 years more than most of the IT guys... Dave's speciality is supplier relationships. He's known some of the suppliers for years, and he thinks it's that personal touch which lets him get things done. Most of his time is spent sorting out payment issues with suppliers: they always complain that payments are wrong, or commissions too low, or sometimes both. Dave's role will be as a peripheral person on the team, who has read-only access to lots of things, and gets invited to collaborate in things.
Felix is 45 and has just been hired as Head of Architecture & Design for NewCo. He previously worked for a competitor company, but NewCo offered him a more interesting job, and a reasonable pay rise. Felix quickly realised that NewCo have a problem with getting IT to be responsive to the changing needs of the business. The business see IT as just another cost overhead - Felix want it to be what he calls a ´value centre'. He's aware that some members of his team use some tool called 'Enterprise Architect' to draw lots of diagrams, but what he really needs is some place to bring together all that IT know about the business, and which the business can add value to. His #1 problem at the moment is the 'Get Lost' project, which is creating a new customer website for booking environmentally-responsible travel. This is aimed at their business clients, and he knows that the board are very focused on getting this implemented - right - as soon as possible, as some of NewCo's competitors have solutions like this already. He really needs to get the NewCo business people engaged with this project, so the same-old-solution approach just won't get it delivered in time.
Gina is a Project Manager, and works for the same guy who is Felix´s boss. Gina is 34, has a young family, and has project-managed all kinds of projects in all kinds of companies: construction, finance, and now IT for travel. The first thing she noticed when she arrived at NewCo was how hard it is to get all her stakeholders to even attend meetings, let alone agree stuff when they get there. The IT team always seems to have to make assumptions, which make her risk register a bit scary.
For those who want to know some of the technical details, this is a diagram of what the moving parts are:
This demo usually works with the Share EA Database on the same server as the Prolaborate web server.
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