Posted by: Adam Deane | 13/10/2011

BPM: Process Routing

Process RoutingAt the core of every BPM implementation there is always a workflow, a sequence of connected steps with process routing.

Process Routing should be the most boring subject in the world.
Should be… but not.

Everyone sees process from a different perspective.
You’ve got the Six-Sigmas that see the process from orbit.
Enterprise Architects that see the process from 10,000 feet.
The Business / Process and other analysts that see the process from 1,000 feet,
and let us not forget researchers, consultants, marketing guys, project managers and business philosophers and BPM theologians that see process from the office window.

At the bottom of the pile, you’ve got the guys in the trenches looking up and asking “Eh.. Hello…What the heck are you all talking about”

The recent discussions on dynamic vs structured processes provide a simplistic alternative to process routing problems. Dynamic vs Structured…
Its like explaining that sending a task to a group is an alternative to sending the task to a single recipient.

People sometimes tend to forget the range of options you can use in workflow routing:

• Send a task to a group in the organization
• Send a task to a queued group
• Send a task to a calculated user in a group
• Send a task to an employee role in the organization
• Send a task to a process role in the workflow
• Send a task to an email defined in one of the forms
• Send a task to calculated external users
• Send a task to internal calculated users
• Send a task to multiple users/multiple groups
• Send to a named user (ok… not the best practice)
• Let the system decide whom in the group to send the task to

Process routing is a bit more complex than “let the user decide who to send it to”


  1. Adam, absolutely relevant point you are making here. From my perspective I would not make that a key distinction in terms of structured or unstructured. Both cases and processes should support the above list of performer assignment options. Flowcharts typically predefine the type of perfomer assignment upfront. In case work typically not. ACM enables both.

    The distinction for me would be the ability to not only chose any of the above at any time, but to create the task on the fly, create dependencies to other tasks. assign task resources, add rules to tasks and resources and most of all link the task to a GOAL to be achieved.

    The whole thing becomes ADAPTIVE if someone authorized can pick up this newly created tasks(s) once the process is completed and create reusable templates wihout needing some expert! This allows continuous improvement and innovation without needing a governance bureaucracy.

  2. I am preparing a speech for one of my BPM customers in Portugal. And, sincerely, you solved finding 2 of the topics out of the four. Routing is a big differentiator among packages and of course regarding document based workflows.

    To Max, more a more I think we run too much for the market to follow. In my modest experience, I am still explaining the difference between workflow and bpm… Recurringly, in my presentation I have to devote time to explain what does all our acronyms mean.

    Thanks to you both since you supply inspiring comments.


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