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.
Every quarter, the team at Leonardo Brisbane take part in the Brisbane BPM Roundtable – a group for like-minded BPM practitioners to network and wrestle with the big questions of process management. At the recent roundtable meeting, we talked ‘process mindset’, and asked people what their biggest challenge was when it came to implementing mindset at their organisation. What is Process Mindset To ‘do process’, an organization, and its people and their teams, need to ‘think process’. In a process centric organization employees are conscious of their roles in the execution of a range of processes. They think beyond the activities described in their own job description to see their role in the bigger picture of creating, accumulating, and delivering value to customers and other stakeholders. The unrelenting emphasis is on conscious, proactive, cross-functional collaboration—and that is often different and challenging for individuals and functional units in an organization. Tools and techniques are critically important, but they are not the main game. Having the right IT and other tools is necessary, but nowhere near sufficient, for success. Tools and techniques alone won’t create a viral spread of the idea of BPM. Hearts and minds are also needed. Figure 1: Process Mindset Challenge 1 – Natural human resistance that the majority businesses have on top of busy BAU Many organisations share the situation of not having enough capacity to look at how to create more capacity. What tends to be successful is to start small and simple. Simple ideas that make the day-to-day a little easier are easy to implement and will have a positive result.
Process models are used by process professionals across organisations of all sizes to document, improve or automate business processes, and to communicate in an easily understandable way with SMEs. Due to their broad appeal, process models come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and flow-directions. Unfortunately, this diversity becomes problematic when existing within a single organisation. The value delivered is significantly reduced by these inconsistent models. Invariably, this causes unnecessary disruption and confusion in the business as users have to interpret and discuss the meaning of process models. Modelling conventions aim to reduce the production of inconsistent models and increase speed of understanding. This article provides an introduction to what process modelling conventions are, and how they are used to create standardised process models that can be used by everyone within the organisation.