Sunday, April 1, 2012

From Form and Process to xCP

Inherent in a form, paper or electronic, are the fundamental components of an xCP application. The following are some of the possible components:


  • What is the overall intent of the form?
  • What will it to ultimately accomplish?
  • Is the form one step in a multistep process?
  • Is the form meant to automate a previously labor intensive activity?

  • Each field has a purpose toward the goals of the form. 
  • Who is sending it? 
  • What is it for? 
  • When is it due? 
  • How will you know it has been received? 
  • When a field has a format or regular expression sometimes this will be explicitly stated, other times the recipient (or system) will be responsible for validating the values of the form. 
  • Who will verify the vales of the form 
  • What will happen if it is rejected? 
  • Who sees this form? 
  • How is the sign off validated? 
  • Who has the clearance to complete the goals of the form. 
  • Are there required signatures? 
  • Who signs off on the form? 
  • When did they sign it? 
  • Is there an assumed process in the form, for example, are there directions on what to do with it? 
  • Is there a recipient of the form?


The tasks of what gets done with a form should be documented and explained in detail.
  • What event initiates the form?
  • Who initiates it?
  • When does the form typically get filled out?
  • How is the form validated?
  • How are the fields on the form used and stored?
  • Who approves the form and what do they do with it?
  • How does the initiator know that the form has been approved?


All processes have exceptions to the general flow of the work. The challenge is to start with enough comprehension in the workflow to automate the most important steps, thus allowing for superior human intervention occur in between. Chunk the process up enough to help people do their work easier, not to impede them. Many times I’ve seen large workflows which become the bane of an office worker’s day.


So you have the form that needs to be automated, the inherent process which is verified by talking with people who fill it out and who process it, and you know the pieces of xCP:

  • Forms Builder: create the form with fields, security, and validation
  • Process Builder: build each activity of the workflow, map the field data, route the form to the reviewers/approvers, complete the work of the form.
  • TaskSpace: create an app, add the forms and workflows, create roles for the users of the application, build out the tabs and add forms to them, assign tabs to the roles and how the application will look to each role.

Plan out the application with each component in mind and how they work together. xCP is nothing new taken separately, but combined is a power tool which in many companies is taken for granted.

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