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Save us all hours of work: Enhance BP node Groups and print to produce automatic process documentation


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In the old days, we all used to draw Visio diagrams of flows and tried to teach our teams to manually follow the process in a dumb workflow tool. But now we have Hornbill Service Manager, much of that work has been done for us; but not all: we have the diagram but we're missing the Narrative that needs to be part of a properly documented process.

My desire is to be able to "print/export" a given workflow that can act as my Incident Management process documentation. That would save me loads of hours writing a separate Visio flow and narrative and trying to keep them in line with Service Manager configuration. In short, I think you are sitting on an opportunity to save all your Customers a massive amount of process/audit/compliance/best practice documentation time by moving the product to a place to do it for us.

The print function for the nodes is already there and it works well. The node Groups even already print-out in their collapsed form so the feature is nearly there.

All we need - to be able to do away with external documentation - is to enhance node Groups and refine an existing print mode thus: 

  1. Allow each node Group to be given a unique number (not like the complex node canvas ID but a simple numerical value)
    1. The number would appear as a superscript on each Group on the screen
    2. The flow would show the groups as process steps with their number so the narrative can refer to it
  2. Formalise the existing 'functionless' description in the Group Information (see highlighted box below) as a "Narrative" field where we already store details of that stage
    1. Option to include a few basic formatting options in there to allow bullets etc
    2. Allow active links so we can link to procedures or other sites so when it's exported online
  3. Enhance the print/export function:
    1. The print function could perhaps be enhanced to optimise/compress the layout of groups if they are scattered (as below)
    2. When we print/export, we see the graphic of the flow of node Groups and below the diagram, the print/export gives us a list of the node Group numbers, titles and their narratives which combine to be our process documentation

Here is what I already do: I group nodes in to functional steps and then document what we are achieving in the blank field. All I need is a way to print this out and we're there!


An example of how the Groups already print:


And the best thing? This is not a logic or processing change; it's just adding basic non-functional features to node Groups and then refining an existing print option to print both the graphic and a Narrative.

This could be incredibly powerful and save many people much time.

What do you think?

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  • Berto2002 changed the title to Save us all hours of work: Enhance BP node Groups and print to produce automatic process documentation
  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Paul Alexander

+1 for all of this.

We'd love to be able to use Hornbill for this and it would, as @Berto2002 mentions, save us having to recreate the same process in our IMS/BMS 

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