With this blog posting, I would like to make you aware of a project I am personally very excited about: Gravity – Collaborative Business Process Modelling within Google Wave (find a screen cam video here). Here is why: Gravity is a real-time, collaborative process modeling environment, embedded in Google Wave. Gravity let’s you collaboratively modeling BPMN-based business processes, supporting some “cool” collaboration features, namely:
- Color coding: all model contributors (current or past Wave participants) have their own color. Shapes will (optionally) be annotated with a colored shadow, indicating the contributor who has most recently edited the shape.
- Real-time distribution of state changes: Fine-granular state changes such as adding, moving, deleting, (re-)labelling and connecting BPMN shapes are communicated to other contributors in real time, who see those changes (almost) immediately on screen.
- Shapes can be labelled with annotations which are either visible for all Wave participants or a selected model contributor, only. Annotations can also be replied to, having a threaded discussion feature within the gadget itself.
- A number of “bots” (server-side artificial Wave participants with full access to the BPMN model) contribute convenience functions such as model checking, BPMN 2.0 export – with more to come (stay tuned!).
- Contributors can be pulled in on demand and may both work on the model synchronously (i.e., at the same time) or asynchronously de-coupled (i.e., at different points in time) which is great if contributors work at remote locations in different time zones.
- Google Wave’s built-in “replay” function allows you to follow the model’s formation in fast-forward mode. In this way, additional contributors can better understand how the model has evolved over time.
Gravity is an innovation prototype, jointly conceived and implemented by NetWeaver BPM Research and Development (Walldorf, Germany) and SAP Research (Brisbane, Australia), key persons being: