Process models are a powerful means to describe, analyze and communicate processes. However, process models are often outdated and underused. The reasons for this differ. Sometimes it seems that people are unable to read and understand models; people do not know the models are available; or content is unrecognized or outdated. Putting effort into the design and the way you publish your models is key to success in handling these issues. This way, the effect of process models can be optimized! So how can you optimally use your process models? In this blog I present five simple steps that help BPM practitioners to realize this.
Making process models is never an objective in itself. Process models contribute to achieving an objective. For example, process models enable you to compare alternative process flows in order to shorten the production time of say, bikes. What is it that you need to achieve? In this blog I use the example of the fictitious organization ‘ABC’ that works with numerous long-term projects. The main objective for ABC would be: using process models to improve collaboration between projects. Their secondary objective is that projects are facilitated by using the right templates and procedures while working.
Who should use the process models? Put yourself in the shoes of the people in your focus groups; imagine what type of people they are and in what situations they use your process models. For example, our organization ABC has several focus groups: project managers, project members, division management and supporting staff of projects. Besides these groups of end users of the process models, another focus group consists of the process managers responsible for maintaining the models.
Start by breaking down the required bits of information you need to bring to the fore. Obviously, creating awareness of responsibilities requires insight into tasks and roles, not so much in-depth descriptions of how to use an application. Make choices; too much information in one model overwhelms people. Also, check whether the choices you made are validated by your focus groups. In the example of ABC, project managers request logical models of the general project processes. For them, a process model should describe:
what needs to be done, in what order;
This can make or break your success. Different focus groups have different experiences concerning ‘logical’ entrances to information or convenient styles of publishing. Ask focus groups for suggestions, instead of relying on your own assumptions. The project managers of ABC prefer the use of an interactive publishing tool (e.g. Insite Lite) that allows them to work on their mobile devices and to directly access process information and suggested templates. By adding visual analyses to the model, it is easy to check RACI, risk and controls, without being overwhelmed with information.
Now that you have established what is needed in order for process models to be used, and how to expose them, the next step is to make it attractive for people to actually access the publications. Every organization has its own corporate identity. Using the company colors, heading, fonts and visualizations ensures that people ‘feel at home’, are not distracted and focus on the content. Besides using the corporate identity, landing pages are another instrument to support people navigating through the huge amount of information.
When you use a html report (e.g. Insite Lite), build a general landing page with shortcuts that lead to your focus groups’ specific landing pages. The specific landing pages only show the models and process information for a specific focus group. Reserve a place on the landing page for new information or models you want to put in the spot light. And again, do not assume what you made is logical. Ask your focus group to review your landing pages. Brilliant ideas are more often than not a result of joint effort!
Making the most of process models
BiZZdesign believes that these five steps can be of true benefit for the optimal exposure and use of your process models. We advise you to think of your publication as communication material. A well designed structure and layout of your process models and publications make all the difference in successfully achieving your process model-related goals!
Do you want to learn more? Feel free to contact us, we are more than happy to help you.