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The Leonardo Blog

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.

The Problem with Process Modelling

Is process modelling difficult? It sounds quite straightforward: processes are to be modelled—arrows and boxes—this happens, and then that happens. Let’s just get on with it!

The Origins of BPMN: Interview with Stephen White

BPMN is a well-known modeling notation. It stands for Business Process Model and Notation. Much has been discussion about this notation, however many people aren't aware of how to use this notation, and more importantly, when to use this notation. In this chat we talk to Stephen White who was involved in development of this modeling language.

Are You a Process Preventer or Resolver?

Chances are, if you're watching this video, either you or somebody you know, is in the profession of business process management, or BPM. Business process management professionals have a very unique role to play in any organization. They get to see across processes, across the organization - not just siloed departments. This view can bring so much value across the organization. Not to mention that a lot of BPM professionals are fairly smart. Having said all that, why aren't people in the whole entire organization just absolutely raging at their door, wanting them to work at every single project, every single piece of work?

Selling Process Model Benefits

In this week’s Process Session, we talk about the importance of selling your process model benefits using best practice marketing tactics and approaches. The transcript below has been lightly edited. -- Sandeep: Selling the benefits of process modeling is difficult. In fact it’s one of the hardest things that any process modeling project undergoes. A lot of traditional ways of selling process models have been questioned before and some of them have not worked. Others may have but what we’re offering today is a fresh new way to look at how process models have been sold. More importantly the benefits of these process models. I’d like to introduce you to Daniel Weatherhead who’s our marketing manager in Leonardo Consulting. He is here today to answer some of our questions and provide some guidelines on how process modeling or models can benefit from a marketing perspective. Welcome to the show Daniel. Daniel: Thanks Sandeep. It’s great to be here today. Sandeep: So before we get into actually answering the question of how process modeling can leverage marketing, let’s get some of the basics correct first. So Dan in your point of view, what are some of the basic techniques the world of marketing can inform and can educate the people in the modeling world? Daniel: What we’re talking about is a shift -  a shift away from what we would call the old outbound marketing tactics. These are the tactics of the previous generation - the generation before. Interruptive tactics that don’t necessarily look to inform and educate but were very much placed there interruptively into people’s lives. Now think about your television ads, your radio ads, your newspaper, advertisements. These are the sort of things that shout at you. They are one-way traffic. People didn’t necessarily go seeking those messages.

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