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Introduction to Process Playback in Blueworks Live

By Stephanie Wilkerson posted Thu August 06, 2020 08:42 PM


When you have a large complex process diagram, it can be hard to follow no matter how readable and well-structured it is.  You can use the Blueworks Live playback  feature to focus on specific paths through the process and step through them one at a time. This makes it a lot easier for your stakeholders to review and provide feedback on your processes. It helps all of the different stakeholders from the different business areas reach a shared understanding of how a process impacts the business. This can really help identify specific problems and pain points that the business is experiencing with a process.

Watch this video for a live playback demo:

Access the playback feature by clicking the playback icon highlighted below:

Hint: If you don't see the playback button and label, expand the width of your screen. 

There are five basic steps to a playback: 

  1. define the path
  2. select the important business data/variables
  3. run the playback
  4. assess and compare playbacks
  5. share your findings with others


Step 1: First, define the path through the process that you would like to focus on. Usually this will be a happy path,  various exception paths, or paths that are critical to your business. 

Follow the on screen guidance to select an object as your start point and object as your end point:


Step 2: Next, select any important data or variables you want to focus in on. This lets you assess the relative impact of alternate paths by selecting variables for analysis like cost, cycle time, value add, and risk.

Click the menu next to Analysis to select multiple variables.



Step 3: Then, run the playback and begin stepping through the defined playback path. The numeric variables are automatically incremented for you and the totals of multiple variables are displayed. Here, I’ve selected cycle time and wait time as important to my process. These are now displayed on my playback and as I go through the process they are summed up on the bottom of the screen.

 This is in step 3 of the process and has total values for Cycle Time and Wait Time. 

Step 4: If I create an As-is and To-be process or different variations of a process, I can assess and compare processes by comparing the playback variables. This helps me to identify opportunities for improvement as well as see trade-offs.

This example compares a process playback for onsite employee orientation vs a process playback for offsite employee orientation. 

Step 5: We suggest sharing your playbacks with coworkers and stakeholders so they can review the playbacks in Blueworks Live or even offline with a document.

Sharing can be done by exporting a single playback or a set of playbacks to Microsoft Word, generating a rich report. You can also use the reports to compare two playbacks as shown above. Sharing a link to a playback is now available so even users with a viewer license can now see your playback.

In the last Blueworks Live release, IBM made many improvements to playback feature. Some additional improvements to playbacks include supporting parallel and inclusive gateways, support for spanning multiple processes (linked processes), allowing descriptions and up to 10 saved playbacks in the tool.