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10 Steps to Improve Your Process Modeling

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!

 

Related Posts

The Ultimate Guide to Process Modelling

A new day, a new process modelling project. The project plan has been signed off, reference documentation was gathered, all stakeholders have been identified and now…now what? While process models increase in popularity and most businesses seem to agree that process models are indeed a good way of representing how an organisation creates and delivers value, there is little to no guidance on what a good process model is, how to create one and how to successfully go about executing a process modelling project. While this guide does not claim to be a silver bullet for all your process modelling problems (look at our Modelling Excellence framework for that!), it aims to be a guide for Project Managers and BPM Professionals in every stage of the modelling journey, regardless of whether you’re just kicking off a new modelling project, are in the middle of a major project, or are just looking for a refresh. Please note that this guide does not address steps to set up or configure a process modelling tool. It is focused on the activity of process modelling.   Let’s get started! This section includes topics that should be covered prior to kicking off any process modelling project. If a project is already underway, but struggling, we recommend revisiting this section to ensure the basics have been covered. If your project is already underway and going well, you may opt to skip ahead to the “Business Process Modelling” section. It’s all about the purpose… Firstly, ensure the purpose for modelling has been identified and agreed upon by all stakeholders. Whether it is communication, training, process measurement, improvement or configuration of a workflow tool, any modelling effort must serve a purpose. Major decisions such as “What modelling tool is the right one?” as well as minor decisions such as “Should I include this detail in my model?” can easily, logically and consistently be answered once the purpose has been identified. Consequently, if a clear purpose for modelling cannot be identified, no time and money should be spent on modelling as the models would end up being waste. The start of a process modelling project is also a good time to identify additional use cases for process models and pitch those to the stakeholders. The more use cases there are, the more robust the business case for process modelling becomes. Models that are re-used often are valuable to the organisation, rather than just useful for a one-off project. This does not mean that creating models for one-off use is waste. Although we generally recommend maintaining and re-using process models as much as possible, there are many valid use cases for and circumstances under which organisations choose to create process models that will be deleted once the project is completed. We do however emphasise that this purpose needs to be clearly identified and agreed upon, so nobody comes looking for the model two years later and needs to then kick off another modelling project since the former models are either out-of-date or nowhere to be found. Understanding the purpose of modelling will also help Modellers in the information elicitation and model validation stages of the project. They must always be prepared to explain what they are doing, why they are doing it and how it benefits the organisation. A strong pitch for modelling, tied back to the purpose, will help to keep stakeholders focused during workshops.

Moving From Continuous Improvement to Continuous Process Management

  Continuous process improvement is a common organizational aspiration, and it is one of the most difficult things an organization can attempt. The continuous aspect is quite a challenge, as is realizing business performance improvements—especially once the easy and obvious changes have been made. Organizations need an ‘internal improvement engine’ that replaces insistence with evidence.

Process Architecture vs the Organisation Chart

  In my working life I spend a lot of time working with client organizations to discover and capture useful models of their process architecture. In every country, industry sector, organization type and size, there is a common problem that bedevils every project. We all, and I include myself here, can too easily slip into the habit of the last 100 years (or you might argue 1,000 years) of visualizing the organization as its organization chart. Comments such as “What about the work they do in department X?” might just be a useful test for a developing process architecture, or they might indicate a lack of understanding of what the architecture represents.