Fundamentals of Process Mapping – Introducing Subprocesses Part 4

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From what we have seen so far, we’d have 3 separate, but related process models. One for each of the following: Buy a Book Choose a Book Pay for Book Numbering the processes Some of that was getting difficult to describe. The fact that Pay for Book is a process step in one diagram and a whole process was causing some difficulties in describing the relationship. I’d recommend reading through it again, slower this time, checking that you are certain which process […]

Fundamentals of Process Mapping – Introducing Subprocesses Part 3

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In the previous diagram, I’ve put two crosses, not part of any standard. I’ve used them to highlight what’s wrong with the Choose Book process as depicted above. The second of the crosses is easiest to explain. The process step of Scan Book more properly belongs in the Pay for Book process. We can see it in the Pay For Book process, so let’s keep it there. If it’s also in the Choose Book process, then we’re duplicating actions. Someone following the overall process in the diagram above would end […]

Process Mapping Fundamentals – Introducing Subprocesses Part 2

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If you look at the Pay for Book process-step in the top row of the above image, you’ll notice I’ve included a small image of the Pay for Book process. The use of colours is just to help me show how the processes fit together here. It’s incredibly rare to have the process and the more detailed process on the same page. In fact, I can’t ever remember doing that apart from when I’m showing the relationships between processes in articles such as this […]

Process Mapping Fundamentals – Introducing Subprocesses Part 1

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Introduction Processes can be broken down into more detailed processes. In this article, I’ll take one of the process steps from the previous article and look in more detail about how it connects to the other components of the process. Some Perspective A key feature of any workflow system is that you should be able to look at the system from different levels, e.g. a director’s view of the system may only show 5 or so process steps and cover what it […]

Process Mapping – Introducing Decision Points

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In the previous article, I introduced a basic process map consisting of a process start point, a process end point, two process steps and connectors. It’s rare that a process map is a straight line like that simplified process. There are usually options which can take the process down different paths. In the case of our book-buying process, we may want to ask the customer if they want the book gift-wrapped as part of free promotion. Decision Points The most common […]

Process Mapping Basics

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Introduction This is the first article in the Fundamentals of Process Mapping series. In the series, I want to discuss the areas that most process mapping tutorials miss. In this bite-sized article, I’ll introduce the idea of a basic process map. Let’s get some background about process mapping first. What is a process map? A process map is a tool. It is not an end in its own right. They are often used in software development lifecycle or within Business Process […]

Fundamentals of Process Mapping

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I’ve written before about the elements involved in a process map. In this series of articles, I want to start at the basics and explain what a process map should contain. I’ve seen a fair few methodologies come and go. Fortunately, methodology seems to be settling down with a few interesting branches appearing. I’ve also seen and used a lot of different process mapping tools at different levels, some more like CASE tools, some more like business process management tools, some […]

Issues with Process Mapping

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I’ve been using process mapping for over a decade now. I’ve probably been the recipient of more process maps than I’ve created, as I’ve had to implement changes that have already been designed by others. I’ve also had to talk many business users through the intricacies of their redesigned processes, especially if they (wrongly) hadn’t been designed by them. The most common scenario for me is where I’m asked to review process maps and assess how easily they could be […]

What’s in a process?

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I’ve had a view for a number of years now that a process cannot be described with just a process map. Well, not in its entirety. A standard process map usually consists of rectangular boxes linked with arrows. Better process maps have some variety in the size and shape of boxes representing the variety of actions and decisions that occur at the process steps. When good, these process maps conform to BPMN, UML (Activity Diagrams) or other similar standards. When bad, there can be […]