Why You Should Bother With Business Process Modeling

Why You Should Bother With Business Process Modeling

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Business Process Modeling

Identical to the essential concepts of processes and the division of labor, enterprise course of modeling was born within the mechanical business.

Within the winter of 1921, Frank Gilbreth introduced a paper to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers entitled “Course of Charts: First Steps in Discovering the One Greatest Method to Do Work” — a superb title by any requirements, and one thing that turned a number of companies onto the thought of modeling their processes to allow them to optimize them.

Gilbreth, the paper’s writer, might be higher generally known as the writer and central character of the 1950s novel Cheaper by the Dozen. Whereas I’ve by no means learn it, it amused me to seek out it that an industrial engineer-turned-management marketing consultant wrote a novel with time and motion study as an underlying theme.

Gilbreth was an fascinating character, but in addition a person laser-focused on precisely what processes are for: discovering the one greatest option to do work.

The essential principle of enterprise course of mapping

Why do it's essential map enterprise processes? In accordance with Gilbreth, it’s as a result of you have to take stock of your processes earlier than you'll be able to start to enhance them. By wanting on the massive image, you'll be able to see the trigger and impact of every step and begin to perceive the method circulate correctly.

“Each element of a course of is kind of affected by each different element; subsequently the complete course of have to be introduced in such type that it may be visualized unexpectedly earlier than any modifications are made in any of its subdivisions” — Gilbreth

Right here’s the shape he was speaking about:

Business Process Model Sketch

That’s an off-the-cuff draft model of a cross-functional process map, which signifies that it has steps in it that have to be carried out by totally different individuals. On the left, you possibly can see the steps are divided amongst the supervisor, division head, and so forth.

When course of maps are finalized, they’ll look extra like this:

Business Process Map in yEd

(Source)

Not probably the most lovely factor you’ve ever seen, I’m positive, however it could possibly do wonders to repair a sluggish and inefficient enterprise.

Gilbreth finishes his essay with two fast notes:

  1. Visualizing processes doesn't essentially imply altering the processes
  2. Course of charts pay.

Right here’s the way to get began with course of mapping.

Getting began with course of mapping

Ian James, founding father of The Process Consultant weblog (one of many solely different blogs that talks about processes like a human being), has loads of information to share on course of mapping. In his article on the topic, he even lays out a couple of ideas for mapping a course of:

  • Map the method “as is”
  • Ignore course of exceptions
  • Contain those that execute the method
  • After a tough draft, doc digitally and share
  • Make sure that to map on an enormous canvas
  • Acquire instance paperwork for each step, if there are any

(Stick with me ’til the top for a full interactive course of based mostly on Ian’s ideas!)

Processes are mapped in teams, the place somebody will map the method whereas the workforce that executes it explains how they do it. Groups use massive whiteboards to attract up the circulate earlier than documenting it digitally.

Mapping Business Processes on a Whiteboard

It’s essential to recollect to make use of a messy whiteboard if you’re getting collectively the preliminary draft as a result of individuals would slightly not change digital info, however don’t thoughts scribbling on a board. It’s a bit like how individuals write higher in notebooks.

The anatomy of a course of map

A course of map is so much like your day by day circulate chart, but in addition consists of some parts unique to enterprise course of administration nerds. Listed here are the fundamentals it is advisable to know:

Flow Chart Business Model Example

There are, in fact, extra complicated symbols, too. Nothing’s ever jargon-free in enterprise.

BPMN Symbols

(Full size)

There’s nothing stopping you from making up your personal, both. Take a look at this (borderline hilarious) record of chart symbols from 1899, cited in Gilbreth’s Course of Mapping essay:

Flow Map Symbols from 1899

So, yeah… when you ever want an ‘inspection for high quality by kinesthesia’ image, there you're!

A really official strategy to enterprise course of modeling and notation

In the identical method that a group of individuals referred to as the Unicode Consortium management which emojis you’re allowed to make use of, there additionally exists a gaggle that seeks to standardize the best way you map processes.

They’re sarcastically referred to as OMG (as a result of there’s nothing surprising about them). They joined forces with the Business Process Management Initiative in 2006, sat down at an enormous desk and — completely sick of the inconsistency — determined to fill the vat of espresso and hash out the only greatest solution to symbolize a enterprise course of.

The result's BPMN (Business Process Modeling & Notation) specification. It’s out there to study at no cost on their website (here) and is the widely accepted prim and correct method, utilized by companies of all sizes.

Example Business Process Model Map

A few of the notations are fairly complicated, however it's nothing if not thorough, and that’s precisely what a enterprise with a ton of various and messy course of diagrams would wish to tug itself collectively.

For a gallery of enterprise course of map examples, together with the place I’ve acquired the above instance from, go here.

Optimizing your course of fashions

The issue you may run into whereas making a course of map is that you can find yourself making it both too detailed or too primary. On the subject of this concern, Ian James has an amazing solution:

“Is it correct to say “Joe does this little bit of the method all by himself”? If the reply is “Sure” then it's protected to summary all these duties right into a single exercise field. If the reply is “No” then you have to break it up into separate packing containers in order that it’s true for every field.”

Principally, if it wants explaining and breaking apart, then do it. If it doesn’t, then compress it into one field and scale back the dimensions of the map. In any case, you don’t actually need your course of map for logging into your e mail account to finish up wanting like this behemoth:

Messy Business Process

The method for making a course of map

As process creating software, it wouldn’t be truthful to go on about processes for therefore lengthy with out supplying you with a course of. Under is a guidelines you possibly can run from begin to finish to create a course of map.

And, don’t overlook the robust assure from Gilbreth: course of charts pay.

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