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How deep should process models go?

Sandeep Johal Sandeep Johal on August 5, 2016

Have you been asked to do a process model and you just don't know the amount of detail that you need to do a successful process model? The level of granularity that you have in your process model will determine how useful it will be.

Any process model that you create has to stop somewhere. 

Now I'm not just talking about the left and right limits of that process. That's important but I'm talking about the level of detail that you place into that process. It is very tempting for us as process professionals to go in and have a look at all of the detailed processes and model those out because that's the stuff that's easy to obtain. Either by watching somebody do it or by looking up existing documentation. But when do you know it's time to stop? Well that's just as critical. 

The depth of process modeling is determined by the highest level to the lowest level of modeling. The highest level being the abstract level and the lowest level being the tactical level.

So in other words, from the abstract to the tactical, you need to make some leaps and bounds about how much granularity there is. Determining this granularity and keeping it consistent will ensure that process models created across your organization are consistent with your thinking. They're consistent to provide value to the organization and consistent for any end user consuming these process models to know what to expect. The key to ensuring the right level of granularity is, revisit your purposeful modeling. The purpose of modeling defines how much detail you require in these process models. More importantly, if you're going to use these process models for say communication then you need to ensure you're capturing the what of any kind of process.

An example could be clearing of a purchase order. The ‘what’ is, well, clearing up the purchase order. The ‘how’ is the detailed steps of where to click, the five to seven or so clicks on the application that determine the successful clearance of a purchase order.

So when you're process modeling all these tiers you need to be aware of which tier you're going to use for the right purpose.

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Communication tiers are usually higher and of course tactical or more detailed information is usually at the lower tiers. Once you determine the kind of granularity you require based on your purpose of modeling, you are then able to extend that onto your conventions and standards and ensure that it remains as part of the way you work going forward.

So don't forget that each time you process model, it's tempting to stay at the lower levels but you need to bring yourself up to the abstract level and work your way down. The top down approach will ensure that the depth of modeling is consistent throughout the effort of process modeling in your organization. Now I'm not saying that every single process model needs to be the same amount of granularity. It depends on the purpose. The purpose highly determines how much information you put in each process model. The higher the level, the less information and of course the lower the level, the more detail that you want to put in there.

But ensure that you know you have an end game in mind. This kind of thinking of the detail helps you identify when to stop modeling and always approach from a top down -from an abstract to a tactical level. 

Watch Process Modeling Excellence Video Seminar - 45 minutes!

 

Topics: BPM - Business Process Management, The Process Session, Video

10 Steps to Improve Your Process Modeling

Sandeep Johal Sandeep Johal on April 13, 2016

Have you ever wondered why process models in your organisations are not that useful? Are your process models not being used by that many people? You’re not alone. Today I am going to be talking about 10 steps you can undertake so you can get your modeling practice into shape.

There are a total of 10 things you can do in your modeling practice that will shape it all up and put you back on the path for success. We call this Process Modeling Excellence and in Leonardo Consulting, we have meticulously developed this foundation on so much of experience that we’ve had and proven methodologies we’ve established.

1. The Purpose of Modeling

Without the purpose, I wouldn’t event start any kind of effort in the modeling space.  You need to set your bedrock that will have all of the other aspects built on top of it. There are two aspects of purpose that most people usually discuss:

  1. Communication &
  2. Improvement

So if you’re doing process models for either of these things, you’re on the right track.

2. The Scope of Modeling

This defines the left and right limit of process modeling effort. This is important because you can process model until the cows come home – but you don’t want to do that. You want to define what your team does. So it’s important to get that right. There are techniques that I will discuss in my upcoming videos that help you do this.

3. The Depth of Modeling

This talks about the granularity and the amount of detail you need to put into your to make them useful and valuable.

4. Resolve the Modeler’s Dilemma

This is looked at as a balancing act of three quality issues;

  1. how well does it describe reality?,
  2. how well does the process model conform to the standards the organization has subscribed to?
  3. and how useful is this process model or how fit for purpose is it?

We talk through ways we can help you balance three aspects.

5. Design and Use of Conventions

This is an essential part of ensuring this consistency across the hundred and thousands of models you create. You don’t want everyone to have their own creative flair in producing different models as you go.

6. Reuse Process Models

Every organization has methodologies they follow. For example project management has a methodology they follow. Have you ensured that process modeling is part of that methodology? I can think of hundreds of other methodologies that are in place in organizations that you can then reply on and tap into.

7. The Role of Process Architecture

I cannot emphasize this enough. If you’re creating models out of nothing, autonomously, then you’re in trouble.  You need to put models into an architecture and what that simply means is a relationship between one model and another model such as hand-offs and value chains. Think of it as eco-system of process models.

8. Govern the lifecycle

The lifecyle of any process model goes through three key steps; creation, review and consumption. These three steps are pretty simple but you need proper discipline to implement them.

9. The Model Quality Framework

It’s no good if you just have process models floating in mid-air without any real rigour around how good the process model is. Rigour is much better if you do it quantitatively. So we present a framework that you can use from a quantitative perspective. In other words, use numbers of quantify how good a process model is. That will give you a good judge about how good the model can be.

10. Sell the Benefits of Process Modeling

There are many ways in which this can be done and by far this the most difficult categories we encounter. I will show you ways in our upcoming tutorials on how you can tackle the sale of model benefits. Notice I didn’t say ‘selling of the models’ – it’s the benefits you can offer.

So there you have it: 10 things you can do to improve your modeling practice and get on with modeling excellence.

 Watch Process Modeling Excellence Video Seminar - 45 minutes!

 

Topics: BPM - Business Process Management, The Process Session, Video