Pitfalls of Process Modelling – Part 1

by Adwait Kulkarni,

Business Analysts Pty Ltd Consultant

 

In this 3-part series we will dissect process modelling using BPMN for all of its strengths are of course the pitfalls modellers face along the way. In Part 1 we will focus on Process Governance, Part 2 delves into process levelling and process complexity, and Part 3 explores the Business Process Modelling & Notation (BPMN) object taxonomy and object semantics.

Business process modelling is an essential skill for a business analyst. During the initiation phase of project, the impacted current state processes can to be identified and modelled. The future state processes can be designed which depict the improvements made as part of the project analysis.

BPMN was introduced as a common standard for process modelling. It acts as a bridge between the business users and the software developers. The objective of BPMN is to represent complex business scenarios in an easy to understand, consistent language for all business users. The logic represented by process maps should also serve as a complete process guide to the software developers. End to End business processes can also be used for the process improvement projects to identify value in each activity of the business

 

Governance

Business processes are owned by the business units, but this can be supported by a centralised governance team, or Process Centre of Excellence (PCoE). The PCoE should also check if modelling conventions are used correctly & maintain a process repository in an appropriate tool, according to industry, or organisational standards to enable process re-use, drive continuous improvement initiatives, and align the business processes to the business strategic directions. refer to diagram 1.1.

 

 

Diagram 1.1

Reference APQC

 

There are some pitfalls of establishing and managing a PCoE. Depending on the size of the organisation and the number of processes being developed, the amount of effort required to ensure that the process repository remains current and to standards can be exhausting. As stated above, the business units own the business processes. As it is their artefact, it is theirs to update as they make changes to the way in which they deliver products or services.

PCoEs can either provide resources to assist in each of the changes, or train the business unit staff members on how to model processes, and provide more of a quality assurance service. To support this, the governance teams are advised to develop a process modelling standard and guide to assist the every day modellers, and reduce the number of changes required at the quality assurance stages. Some tools also provide quality checks via automated validation. The tool as well as peer reviews can be used for quality assurance purposes. The PCoE should ensure that the process models being uploaded into the repository meet the organisation’s standard, do not overlap and that there are no gaps in the end to end processes.

As the process repository grows and covers more of the business, more reporting and analysis can be provided to key stakeholders assisting them in making informed decisions. This is where the real value of a repository can be found, however the reporting capabilities are dependent on the data provided, and the power of the tool used.

Stay tuned for Part 2 – how much to model, process levelling, and model complexity.