We were delighted to be joined by Blue Prism product experts Jwalant Patel and Emma Kirby-Kidd for a Community AMA session on the topic of Delivery Methodology.
With this AMA session we kicked off our third Ask Me Anything session as part of our Rom Essentials program. We've now compiled the key questions and answers all in one place here - but if you want to read the original thread here's a link: June 17th Ask Me Anything: Delivery Methodology
Q. Can you tell us a bit more on how a Design Authority can provide a guiding standard and a baseline to continuously improve against within your organization?
A. Design Authority is a critical role that becomes especially important when an organization decides to Federate the Delivery function across multiple groups. With multiple delivery groups in different line of businesses it is important to ensure that all groups are delivering automations to the standards and best practices that are defined for the organization. When all groups know and comply with the established standards it introduces efficiencies in consistent design practices which can lead to reduced delivery timelines and enhance maintainability of the automations. The Design Authority role is centrally located to be able to establish and ensure compliance of these standards for the proposed automation solutions. Additional information on this can be found on the Blue Prism Portal at:
Design Authority | Blue Prism Portal.JP
A. The documentation and sign off processes are probably the most time consuming part of the delivery methodology so this is where you can start to review in order to streamline. Firstly you don't need to over engineer your documentation it needs to cover all of the elements of the process 'as is' and 'to be', it needs to be detailed enough for a developer to understand how to build the process. You can use methods such as process mapping, screen shots, story boards. We have some template examples and times on how to keep your delivery methodology on track in our portal link here - Delivery Approach | Blue Prism PortalThe amazing thing about our 'Robotic Operating Model' ROM is that you can make this work around your organisations need. You don't need to use all of the elements or templates, you can use the parts that work for you and you delivery methodology.We have also developed a new tool to help you to build PDDs and that is available now to all customers as part of your Blue Prism licenses. This will enable to cut that delivery time line. You can find out more about capture here - Capture 2.1 | Blue Prism PortalGo take a look at this now and see how this can benefit you.Contact us for a demo and training on the use of Capture. EK
Q. Do you have any tips on how to streamline your delivery methodology?
Q. Documentation: how important is it really? Which documents should be prioritized?
A. Documentation is key!! You really need to ensure that you are creating the process in the most effective and efficient way and that can only be done with the right type of instruction. Your development team will be dependant on the documentation to build a structured and secure process and you will need the right level of assurance before you release the process so documenting your testing approach and outputs are vital. You can find templates to our best practice documentation on the portal here - Documents | Blue Prism Portal or here - Design | Blue Prism PortalWe have also launched a new product call Capture as part of your Blue Prism licences. This will help you capture the process as part of your PDD. you can find this here - Capture 2.1 | Blue Prism PortalGo have a look at this now Is you want a demo please contact us. EK
Q. How can you ensure re-usability of the objects? Any tips on ensuring visibility across developers? (talk about DX Private)
A. Ensuring Re-usability of the objects allows for us to reduce future delivery times when we are able to leverage previously existing objects for future builds. In order to ensure re-usability, you want to ensure the application of Blue Prism Best Practices when designing and building the objects so that they are focused on the actions they are performing, and resilient. When we build objects that perform multiple functions(read and write) they can become very isolated to the specific process vs if you build an object that reads and writes seperately, you can use those individual actions in multiple processes for that application. You can review the Build Quality Checklist for guidelines and considerations to review your objects and processes to ensure they comply with Blue Prism Best Practices. https://portal.blueprism.com/documents/build-quality-checklist
Depending on the maturity and whether the organization has a centralized vs federated vs divisional delivery model. Having exposure to what objects have been built and are available can be as simple as tracking the Objects Library on a spreadsheet such as the Business Object Library: https://portal.blueprism.com/documents/build-quality-checklist or using a Private Digital Exchange to share those items across multiple groups. The Private DX is a way for your organization to upload the assets into your own private area hosted within the Blue Prism Digital Exchange(DX) in order to share the objects that have been built so that another group within the organization is also able to access them and use them for their automation solutions. The Digital Exchange can be accessed at: Blue Prism Digital Exchange
Q. Is development really "no-code" – can someone without a technical background develop on Blue Prism?
A. Someone without a technical background can absolutely deliver automation solutions and is in line with the Citizen Developer model that many organizations start their RPA programs with. The way that blue prism works in defining processes and object interactions in a workflow layout makes it easier to understand and define the processes along with the ability for Blue Prism to interact with the underlying program layer allows Blue Prism to be able to consistently interact with various programs used in many industries. Sometimes there may be restrictions in how the target application has been configured and what elements it is able to expose to Blue Prism which may not allow the usage of native integration methods and in those cases the developer has the option to use Surface Automation delivery techniques to use the image recognition attributes or keyboard specific inputs for consistent interaction with the target application. While Blue Prism allows the usage of code stages to be written and deployed in an automation it is not a requirement and if you find that you are required to utilize code stages in your automations, then you may need to have the background necessary to write those functions. JP
Q. In the video, Blue Prism's CoE said they develop in an agile manner – how are you seeing these development phases being managed within customers in practice?
A. Blue Prisms customers are managing their development phases with agile frameworks and practices.
This means that they value:
* Individual actions over processes and tools * Working software over comprehensive documentation
* Customer collaboration
* Responding to change over elaborate plans. Typically these values play out across the delivery lifecycle and enable our customers to reduce time to value, improve the quality of the code and reduce operational overhead. EK
Q. Who should own the testing? Should the SME be involved?
A. RPA teams usually find that creating testing documentation and test plans should be conducted within the team to reduce dependency on other teams and impacting the delivery timeline.
That doesn't mean the SME/Business Owners shouldn't be involved in the testing. You can get your SMEs to help create the testing documentation and doing the output checks.
Ultimately the process is owned by the business so their involvement is important and they will need to happy and satisfied that the process delivered is to their requirements so they will need to be engaged in order to sign off to move the process into production.
There is more information on testing on our portal, link here - Test | Blue Prism Portal
Q. How often should you be communicating with your stakeholders throughout the development cycle?
A. Clear and consistent communications are critical in establishing trust and awareness of what is happening and how we're progressing. Having an established cadence of providing updates to the relevant stakeholders is dependent on what will work for your organization. It should be agreed with the stakeholder on how you will share information, what information is required, and how often you will provide the information. It is always good for a stakeholder to understand what stage of the delivery process that specific automation is going through(Requirements vs Design vs Testing vs Deployment) and if there are any blockers or issues that may impact our defined delivery timeline. Your stakeholders can be your partners in ensuring the success of your program in ensuring that the relevant SME's are available, the data sets are relevant and available, and that there are no major blockers that will impact the delivery of the project or if there are blockers then what are the mitigating steps we can take. The key with a good communication strategy is to ensure that the relevant information is shared in an established manner to ensure visibility and awareness that can lead to a successful outcome.
As such there is additional information that you can review at: Managing Communication | Blue Prism Portal
We hope our answers help you better understand around Delivery Methodoloy:
- The maturity of your automation team or function will dictate how you deliver; institutionalization is only possible when you become an organic part of the culture of your organization.
- How a Design Authority can provide a guiding standard and a baseline to continuously improve against within your organization and can tailor Blue Prism 'Best Practice' to the unique needs of your business.
- Some of our team's top tips for automation success by managing the journey in distinctive phases, where success can be found by clearly defining the transition checkpoints and segregation within roles.
Thank you all for the questions, and to our experts for giving up their time to answer them on the Community.
If you have any further questions on the topic - please post on our Robotic Operating Model (ROM) Community where community members will be ready to help you answer your queries.