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I'm currently in the process of designing a quite long workflow (business processes) consisting of 30+ steps.

Since this is covering quite complex content to fill in, are there any recommendations on if general information (e.g. name, description) should be put at the beginning or at the end of such a process? I'm struggling with seeing if it will be an issue for a user to think of a good name of his content before a lot of it has been defined or not, so wanted to know if there exist any insights on this topic.

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Beginning?

If users may start without a clear idea of what they're doing (or without a good idea for a name until the end) I wouldn't put it only at the beginning because you will force them to finish and then edit just created workflow to rename it.

Of course if you can't do better I'd prefer at the beginning than at the end (more pros and less const, in my opinion).

End?

I wouldn't put only at the end because:

  • They may already know what they're doing then they want to write it immediately.
  • They may want to save and interrupt, a proper name will help to locate it later.
  • For some users to think about name is first thing to do because it will clarify next steps.

Both?

What I would do is to keep it always visible. For example imagine that this Presentation is your workflow editor:

Google example

Here I can change presentation name in any moment simply clicking on its title (My Test on the top left corner). Easy and effective.

Note that they may use Description field also to keep notes about some steps (things to do or corner cases).

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The first step in business process re-engineering is to identify all existing processes. This produce a list with process name and optionally a short description. When this list is finalized and accepted from all stakeholders, detailed steps and workflows are documented for each process. This approach has two benefits :

  • You avoid duplicate and overlapping processes early on, saving a lot of time
  • The name and description create context and guidelines for the detailed steps that belong to the process
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