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Use of variants tool

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Use of variants tool

Hi everyone,

 

I'm trying to make sense of the Variation Tool for processes in MEGA. I don't think my issues are technical, but that I don't understand the "philosophy" behind the tool.

 

I use HOPEX V1R2 CP6.10 (due to upgrade to V1R3 in Q4 2015) and got some shape extension precisely on variant :

  • The Varied Organizationnal Process get a "trident" thingie on them.
  • The Variant Organizationnal Process are colored dark purple.
  • The operation belonging on a Variant diagram but not on a Varied diagram elsewhere will be colored light purple.

So, here is my User Story. Let's say I got a process called "L'Original" with three tasks :

proc1.PNG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, I create a variant of this :

 proc2.PNG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If my objective is to replace the operation "Et aussi" by "Et ca en plus":

  • I can use the "Replace" tool of MEGA, but here goes nothing except exclusion of the original task and creation of a link not visible in the diagram.
  • Of course, I can manually place the substitution on the original task in order to "pretend" it is substituted (which makes me very perplex, as this seem a very quick-and-dirty modeling trick). What's more, the little red cross from the Excluded operation is still visible on the diagram and confuses my users to no avail.

If my objective is to insert this operation "Et ca en plus" between "Et aussi" and the following merge gateway:

  • What I had observed since is that the "inherited" operation *and sequence flow* are the same object than the original ones. It is not possible to remove a sequence flow without breaking the original one. This makes inserting not really practical.

If my objective is to just remove an operation without adding a new one:

  • I can use the "Exclude" tool, but apart from adding the little red cross, it does not really make something. The sequence flow are still there, and only when I explore the result model it shoes that it created the"Substitution" invisible link from the original task to... nothing.
  • Of course, I can hid the excluded tasks from the user view, but what should I then do with those "+" gateway in our case? I can't hid them because the flow looks then completely broken.
  • And even then : if you only exclude the task and not the "+" gateway, what happens? In the inner model of MEGA, the "+" gateway is now pointing on a deadaway sequence flow. Which makes the diagram unexecutable and false by BPMN specs. Seems again a bit too "quick-and-dirty" for my tastes.

My final take is that even if the model seems pretty robust for analysis (and it is -- as long as you only do "replace" and some "remove"), it miss some intuitiveness to be really practical for end-users not acquainted with the inner workings of MEGA.

 

What do you think about this? Are my end-users and me missing something?

 

Thanks for your feedback,

Maxime

 

3 Replies
Occasional Contributor

Re: Use of variants tool

If you want to replace, make sure you create the new object on the diagram first. Then you will be able to select the new object to replace the existing.

 

Red cross shows it is excluded. The object ID is still the same ID as the original.

In the variant diagram, just cut away the object after you excluded it. Don't delete it!!

Re: Use of variants tool

Ah yes... "Variants of Process" is always a fun challenge.

 

You've started out fine and created the Variant before adding the new Operation to the diagram. You've then selected the Operation to be removed, right-clicked, chosen "Replace", selected the Operation you've just added and then found that all that happens is a small red cross on the diagram.

 

What you need to do now is to remember that the Sequence Flows in and out of the operation can only have a source and a target. They already have those because they're correctly defined. You need to add Sequence Flows to knit in the new Operation. If you change the existing ones you will also change the definition of "L'Original", which will be annoying. I forget if you can Replace Sequence Flows in the same way as Operations (my apologies, I'm working from memory and haven't MEGA on this computer), but if you can then you probably should.

 

Once you've added/raplaced all that you need to add and replace then you should remove the replaced objects by cutting them (Ctrl+X) from the diagram.

 

There's an extra complication when it comes to replacing Org-Units in Participants in Variants of Processes as the Participant that needs replaced as well as the Org-Unit.

 

Because of all this complexity and how hard it is to actually do it correctly*, I tend to recommend agains my clients using variants of process except in quite specific circumstances. The complexity of "a Process" is what makes this hard, not the mechanics applied in the tool.

 

That said, I hope this helps,

 

Alan

 

*I've been using MEGA hard for about 7 years now and am a Senior Consultant. I don't always trust myself to creat Variants of Process correctly...


 

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MEGA UK Senior Consultant

Enterprise Architect
Occasional Contributor

Re: Use of variants tool

This actually seems to be the minimum-complexity path.

I understand why you give this recommandation and it's a pity because the comparaison tool offered with the variant tool is really useful.

 

Some remarks :

  • It is possible to exclude/replace (?!) Sequence Flow, but this is not visually indicated in any diagram.
  • I think the use of "Cut" for excluded objects could maybe be replaced with the use of "Hide".

Maxime