Patterns

 

In line with the software engineering and the business process modeling practices, we identify the most common social scenarios in BPM and we define the corresponding design patterns, i.e., archetypal or best practice solutions to recurrent scenarios where cooperative tasks are executed using social software.

The formal specification of the patterns in terms of business process models and application models will be available soon.

Here is the list of patterns we identified so far:

Dynamic enrollment:

The aim is to support the involvement of people external to the process. Platforms like enterprise and public social networks are exploited for dynamically adding new actors  to social activities. Example of enterprise social network are Yammer and Jive; of public ones are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Poll:

The aim is to collect input from a community of users cooperating to a social decision. An internal performer publishes to a social platform a question  (e.g., an open or closed list of options to choose from). Internal/external observers receive an invitation to participate in the poll and contribute with their choices.

People/ skills search:

This pattern focuses on finding the right competencies for performing an activity. A social community is exploited to find people with required expertise, considering the trade-off between level of expertise and social distance. The process usually consists in publishing a call for people, to which internal/external observers respond.

Social publication:

This aims at making a process artifact visible to social actors, e.g., by posting a document to a social platform. Artifacts contain limited views of the process status or of the associated content, which is shared with the community.

Social sourcing:

The purpose is delegating an activity to one or more social actors. Internal performers publish the description of the work and share a resource link to start contributions. Internal/external observers contribute to the execution of an activity, e.g., by co-authoring or enriching socially produced documents, e.g., through tagging.

Advancement notification:

This pattern aims at informing social actors about process advancement, for instance by using micro-blogging platforms like Twitter to keep the users updated, thus increasing transparency and involvement.

Feedback:

This pattern focuses on acquiring qualitative/quantitative feedback from social actors by asking internal/external observers to rate some content or to insert comments into the social platform.

 

As an example, the following image is showing the Social BPMN diagram of a specific social sourcing, namely the tagging case:

Tagging example for Social BPM [BPMN Diagram]

 

Notice that the patterns we identify are application-level patterns. As such, they may exploit control-flow level patterns (e.g., the ones defined by van der Aalst et al.) in their definition, but do not aim at substituting or complementing them.