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Business Process Modelling: Discussing The Genre
Business Process Modeling example

Business Process Modelling: Discussing The Genre

By Trina M.

Business Process Modeling example Business Process Modeling (BPM) is not a recently coined term. It is the backbone of the process based productivity paradigm that was popularized in the 1967 article by S. Williams aptly titled “Business Process Modeling Improves Administrative Control”.

BPM is not a stand-alone technique. Instead it is the umbrella under which thrives a whole host of process and model optimization practices most of which rely on visual representation and identification of inter-dependence between structured tasks and activities.

Everything from the Gnatt chart of 1899 to the flow charts of the 1920s and PERT of the 1950s can be attributed with the characteristics of:

  • Mapping out processes involved in execution of a project
  • Analysis of the effectiveness with which the processes are carried out
  • Tweaking and optimization to achieve the desired result leveraging less man-hours, less resources and less investment

Thus all the above mentioned techniques are chapters of the Business Process Modeling compendium.

 

WHAT CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED WITH BPM?

In the recently discussed blog about Capability Maturity Model a clarification was provided about the use and the aim of the CMM. It was a framework used to grade the capabilities of vendors and stakeholders to ensure a successfully completed endeavour. BPM falls in the class of conventional project management techniques used not to quantify but to analyse business processes so that the operations can be streamlined and the desired output achieved with less input.

BPM as a practice is carried out by a business analyst who has experience in the field of modeling and subject matter experts who are knowledgeable about the infrastructure of the organization as well as the niche in which the project being modeled falls.

Typically a company engaging in business process modeling expects to improve performance significantly especially if the endeavour in question is complicated with several activities broken into tasks and sub-tasks.

 

THE BUSINESS PROCESS MODELING SPECIFICS:

A project is comprised of several inter-dependent and inter-related activities. These activities maybe cross functional (dealing with the completion of different objectives) or cross departmental (originating from different departments – marketing and sales are two departments which frequently contribute activities towards a common end point) in nature but in a setting moderated by a competent project manager, these disparate activities all flow towards the achievement of a single goal.

With the help of BPM, the dynamics of this process can be visualized to a very granular level.

THE KICK-OFF – Each process needs to kick off or start in order to reach completion. This according to Tibco can be in one of three different ways:

  • Human intervention – A human being can initiate a process within a business manually like say by calling up a contact centre and requesting information about a product.
  • Self-generated impetus – An alert or a notification generated by the platforms used to monitor and manage the business may also initiate a process. If a piece of content receives a comment that is awaiting moderation, it is an example of a self-generated (system generated) impetus to act.
  • External event – Sometimes an occurrence that is not in the control of the business stakeholders may initiate a process. For example the plummeting of market share and subsequent investigation by a BA is a process in response to an external event.

TYPES OF STEPS/ACTIVITIES – The process initiated by the kick off progresses from one activity to another and the success with which the requirements of each activity is met determines the overall success of the project.

Process steps can either be:

  • Human facing – which are primarily carried out by human beings and require detailed documentation of the objectives expected from the step, the technologies used to achieve the objectives, the effect of cross functional and inter departmental collaboration and the support needed.
  • System facing – which are primarily taken care of the system and in the present day setting are largely automated thanks to the adoption of ERPs and CRMs.

Business Process Modeling (BPM) is unrecognisable today from the awkward pen and paper attempts of turn of the century project managers. The future of modeling is largely simulations and in-depth visualizations helping stakeholders intuit looming problems and innovative solutions.

Learn about other project management concepts in the Project Management Glossary.