MicroPact Blog

Design by Doing Delivers the Goods

Creating a Dynamic Case Management Solution Relies on Input from the People Who Will Be Using the System

Roger Hughlett's avatar

By: Roger Hughlett

October 22, 2013 | Case Management/BPMSocial BPM

We all love good design. Even if we don’t run around ooo-ing and ahh-ing over every well-designed product we use on a daily basis, we love what works and we hate what doesn’t. I hate how my desk phone slips out of my hands or off my shoulder on a regular basis. And I love how my smart cover props up my iPad at just the right angle for writing and viewing.

I would wager that the designers of my office phone didn’t do much real-world research when creating it. If they did, they certainly didn’t test it on someone who routinely types and talks at the same time. (I just can’t use a headset.)

There are countless examples of designs that don’t work, and one of the biggest reasons they don’t work is because the users were never consulted. (For more on all sorts of great designs and how important user-centric designing is to our lives, check out “Objectified” on Netflix. The documentary by Gary Hustwit explores the impact industrial designers have had and will continue to have on the world.)

The same think-about-the-user principles apply to software design.

In the world of BPM, the concept of bringing users into the design process up front and crafting the solution in a more iterative, agile fashion is known as “Design by Doing” or “Social BPM.” The process may be a little bit messy, but so are most things in business.

MicroPact CEO Kris Collo took a deep dive into why Design by Doing is such an important part of entellitrak’s success in a guest blog he wrote for Washington Exec, an online magazine for executives in the Washington, D.C., region. In his blog, Kris shares the story of a federal agency that took it upon itself to survey the front-line users before embarking on the buildout of their case management solution. They conducted focus groups and user tests before finally making a huge list (more than 4,000 line-items) of issues that would need to be addressed. And while the build out took more time than if the users had not been involved, the end result was a better solution. “They are able to see their vision come to life – the user vision – not the abstract vision of somebody that isn’t connected to the day-to-day system usage,” wrote Kris.

Design by Doing is very much tied to our Data-First ™ approach to dynamic case management. When implementing a case management solution, it is important to start with the information or data to be managed, rather than the process (which is a contrast to more traditional process first BPM approaches). The best way to make sure you start with the right data is by involving those who work with that information.

These front-line knowledge workers understand what information needs to be collected, tracked and analyzed.

One of my favorite quotes from “Objectified” is from David Kelley, the founder of design firm IDEO.

“Bad design is where the customer thinks it’s their fault that something doesn’t work,” he said in reference to a user blaming himself when a technology didn’t work. “Instead, the user should be upset with the person who designed the device and demand better design.”

The best designers and developers work to avoid upsetting a user, and the most direct way to ensure that is to involve the users in the original design and development of a system.

Taking a Data-First approach to dynamic case management while applying the Design by Doing methodology not only empowers the end-users but it delivers the best possible solution for the enterprise in the long run. A truly well-designed case management system is built around two things: the data and people who interact with that data.

To learn more about how entellitrak delivers dynamic case management and BPM solutions to organizations around the globe, request a demo or free prototype.

About the Author

Roger Hughlett was a member of the Marketing Team with MicroPact from 2013 - 2015.