by April 1, 2009 0 comments

As organizations grow the need to automate processes becomes even more
critical to keep functioning normally. ProcessMaker is an open source business
process management (BPM) and work flow software that lets you design and
implement processes without any programming knowledge. Work flow increases
transparency and with ProcessMaker one can easily design documents, manage users
and designate routing rules. This package is simple to install and easy to use
and requires minimum resources. Once implemented, this package can considerably
reduce paperwork and streamline process flow.

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Applies To: IT managers
USP: Optimize processes through this open
source tool
Primary Link:
Google Keywords: Process Maker

Implementing ProcessMaker
We downloaded ‘ProcessMaker-1.1-2063-windows-installer.exe’ from and installed it on our Windows XP-based machine.
Installation process is very simple becasue it requests for only a few inputs.
The installation package is bundled with LAMP server stack that includes Apache,
PHP, and MySQL, so the installation wizard will ask for Apache web server port,
MySQL root password and PHP administrator password (‘administrator’ is default
user name). Once installed, one can launch ProcessMaker using IP address of the
machine. Log on to ProcessMaker using ‘admin’ as both user name and password
with workspace as ‘workflow,’ these credentials are for administrator.

Now that our ProcessMaker is up and running let’s show how it works. In this
implementation we would be creating a sample process to show steps of building a
business process. In this package there is a particular kind of hierarchy that
is followed with a process constituting of tasks on top. And every task has a
fixed number of steps associated with it; so a step can be a sequence of ‘DynaForms’
that are forms associated with tasks, input documents and output documents.
Before designing and executing business process using ProcessMaker we need to
have following information with us: a diagram of business process, users who
will interact with the process, and list of documents and forms used during the
process. The first step is to create a Process Map of business processes. In
this example, we would be creating a process named ‘PCQuest’ comprising of two
tasks: generation of documents by author and designing of documents by a
designer. As we login as administrator in ProcessMaker, we are automatically
directed to ‘PROCESSES’ tab. Click on ‘New’ button to create a new process. One
can also import previously created processes. Click on the ‘Edit’ link in front
of created process. This will direct you to the area where one can create
‘Process Maps’. Right click on process map area and click on ‘Add Task’ to add a
new task to the ‘PCQuest’ process. In this example we created two tasks ‘AUTHOR’
and ‘Designer;’ right click on the task and go to ‘Properties’ for defining
tasks. One can input a lot of information through tabs on this window like task
description, assignment rule that defines how task is assigned, timing control
to keep tab on time, permissions, case labels, and notification that makes it
possible to send email when moving from one task to another. To setup email
notification, click on ‘SETUP’ tab and then click on ‘Email’ link and check in
front of ‘Enable Email Notification’ and fill in details.

This is the
process area where one can create a ‘Process Map.’ On top one can find links
for creating ‘DynaForms’ and input/output documents.

To keep things simple in this example we created two tasks: ‘AUTHOR’ being
the starting point and ‘Designer’ being the end of process. Drag and drop
‘Starting task’ and ‘Sequential’ tools from Tools menu on ‘AUTHOR’ and ‘End
process’ on ‘Designer’. Connect ‘AUTHOR’ and ‘Designer’ using ‘Sequential’ tool.
One can also use other tools from the Tools menu to define the sequence of

This is the view
of a user with ‘PROCESSMAKER_OPERATOR’ role. One can find all relevant tabs
under ‘CASES.’
information regarding a business process (‘PCQuest’) can be obtained from
‘CASES’ tab (click on ‘INFORMATION’).

Now that we are ready with ‘Process Map,’ we need to create files and
documents associated with each of the task. In this example, we created two ‘DynaForms,’
for author and designer and an input document for author and output document for
designer. To create DynaForms click on ‘DYNAFORMS’ and then click on ‘New’ to
add new form. A click on Edit button will direct you to the page where one can
create customized forms. In our example we added title bar and ‘SUBMIT’ button
on each of the DynaForms (‘for_author’, ‘for_designer’). Similarly, create input
and output document by clicking on ‘INPUT DOCUMENTS’ and ‘OUTPUT DOCUMENTS’.
Next step is to associate these documents and forms with tasks. Right click on
each task and click on ‘Steps’, click on ‘New’ on top to get list of DynaForms
and documents. Select appropriate form and document. In this example, we
selected ‘for_author’ and input document for ‘AUTHOR’ task and ‘for_designer and
output document for ‘Designer’ task.

Up to this point we have defined the process with tasks along with the
sequence in which tasks are completed with us and the final step is to assign
these tasks to the appropriate user. In our example, we created two employees
using ‘USERS’ tab. Click on ‘New’ button to create two users with ‘PROCESSMAKER_
OPERATOR’ role namely author and designer. Give password details to respective
users so that as soon as user logs into ProcessMaker all associated tasks are
shown under ‘TO DO’ list. In our example, once the author finishes his/her work,
the designer gets a new task under his/her ‘TO DO’ list. One can also associate
a process supervisor by clicking on process map area and clicking on ‘Process
Supervisors>Supervisors’. In our example we assigned supervision task to
administrator. Now the administrator can get all relevant details regarding
process from ‘CASES’ tab. Click on ‘INFORMATION’ link to get more information
including graphical information regarding the business process in question.

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