Process Discovery

Process Discovery

The goal of Process Discovery is to make explicit an existing process in order to make it known, understood and shared by everyone involved. Process Discovery serves to clarify and document the current situation (often called the as-is process). As-is definitions are generally used as the starting point to a process improvement effort.

There are 3 common approaches to process discovery:
  1. Facilitated Sessions
    • In the facilitated approach, a facilitator is charged with gathering from subject matter experts (SME) and end users point of views of the process under study.The collection of these points of views can either be carried out on an individual basis during interviews or collectively during a facilitated workshop. During discovery everyone describes in his own words; how they are involved in the process, why they are doing it, what they are using to support their work, where they are doing the work, and when the work is required. Upon completion of the discovery, the facilitator is responsible to assemble and correlate all the gathered information in a coherent and unique description.
  2. Existing Documents
    • In situations where documentation of the process exits within the organization it is possible to streamline the extraction and collection of relevant information from the documentation. The Discovery exercise then consists in identifying in the documentation various activities, actors, artifacts, events, systems along with the goals pursued. Some common sources of documentation for this type of discovery are the standard operating procedures (SOPs), governance or standard conformance documentation, internal policies and handbooks.
  3. Event Logs
    • Automated discovery tools are also being explored. This new approach is often referred to as Process Mining. In this approach, logs produced by information systems supporting daily operations of the organization are interpreted by software looking to extract patterns of processing.

The challenge of all discovery approaches is to try to ensure completeness of the analysis. Simple analysis techniques such as HW5 (How, Who, What, Where, When, and Why) questioning may help in ensuring coverage. Typical questioning in identifying “how things get done” includes: who is involved in getting things done, what is involved in getting things done, where are things getting done, when do things get done and why are these things done.

Trisotech enables process discovery with the Digital Enterprise Suite.

Improving Value, Quality, Time and Cost

Improving Value, Quality, Time and Cost

Improvement efforts within organizations tend to focus on increasing the value delivered to the customer, or stakeholders, by providing the highest quality product or services in the shortest time and at the lowest cost possible.

Through the years various improvement approaches have been developed for this purpose such as: Total Quality Management (TQM), Kaizen, LEAN, and Six Sigma. These approaches all share at least one common trait, which is that they all promote Continuous Improvement. According to Wikipedia a continuous improvement is a process of ongoing efforts to improve products, services, or processes.

Total quality management (TQM) consists of organization-wide efforts to instill a culture in which the organization continuously improves its ability to deliver high-quality products and services to customers. Kaizen is Japanese and stands for “kai” meaning change and “zen” meaning good. It promotes improvements that are based on many small changes rather than a radical change. Six Sigma was originally developed to increase the quality of goods produced by reducing the number of defects per million units produced while Lean aims to improve time and cost by identifying and removing non value adding activities or “wastes”.

The notion of improving value is often associated to the Lean movement. Activities performed by the organization are evaluated from the perspective of the customer and classified into 3 categories: Value Adding, Value Enabling and Non-Value Adding (or Waste). Value Adding activities are essential to the production and delivery of the product or service to meet the customer's needs and requirements, where Value Enabling activities are necessary precursors to Value Adding activities. Value Enabling activities may also be activities required by law or regulations to allow the Value Adding activities to be carried out. Non Value Adding activities are considered waste. They do not add value to the customer and do not meet the criteria for Value Adding activities. Waste is basically something that the customer is not willing to pay for.

Various categories of “Muda”, the Japanese word for waste, have been identified by the Lean movement. There are a couple of very well-known and useful mnemonics to help one remember the various types of non-value adding activities, or if you prefer, wastes. The two most popular of these mnemonics are TIMWOOD and DOWNTIME. TIMWOOD capturing a 7 types of wastes categorization, and DOWNTIME capturing an 8 types of wastes categorization.

DOWNTIME stands for:

A central concern of Six Sigma is to understand how well your processes, goods or services meet the specified customer expectations. Yield is a metric often used in assessing the quality of goods or services. Yield is often expressed as a percentage and it represents the proportion of results conforming to requirements or specifications of the customer compared to the number of raw inputs. E.g. we meet the customer expectations or specifications 99.999% of the time.

Efficiency is a central theme of any improvement effort. We are all familiar with the expression of “doing more with less”. When it comes to temporal efficiency two basic notions are at play: Lag Time and Processing Time. The Processing Time is the elapsed time from the start of the activity to its completion while the Lag Time is the elapsed time from the completion the preceding activity to the start of the current one.

If your improvement effort is in the context of business then, improving or lowering cost is a prevailing measure of improvement. Costs can generally be divided into Fixed Costs and Variable Costs. A Fixed Cost is a cost not dependent on the level of goods or services produced by the business, while a Variable Cost is a cost that change in proportion to the good or service that a business produces.

With these basic concepts in hand you are now ready to improve the value delivered to your customers, or stakeholders, by providing the highest quality product or services in the shortest time and at the lowest cost possible.

Stakeholder Analysis: Assigning RACI Responsibility

Stakeholder Analysis: Assigning RACI Responsibility

Stakeholder analysis is a required activity of any project engagement. According to Wikipedia, stakeholder analysis is the process of identifying the individuals or groups that are likely to affect or be affected by a proposed action, and sorting them according to their impact on the action and the impact the action will have on them. A RACI categorization is often used for clarifying what stakeholder's roles and responsibilities are in a context of a specific task or process.

RACI is an acronym that stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. The RACI categorization provides clarification of responsibilities that each party plays in relation with activities that are needed to be performed and decisions that have to be accomplished.

Responsible: Does the work to achieve the task

Accountable: Has authority to approve or disapprove the result

Consulted: Possesses needed input to the task

Informed: Needs to be informed of the result

RACI Matrix

Responsibility charting in a RACI matrix is straightforward:

  1. Identify all of the activities involved and list them at the left hand side of the matrix
  2. Identify all of the roles involved and list them along the top of the matrix
  3. Complete the cells of the matrix: identify who has the R, A, C, I responsibility for each activities

A RACI matrix is often used for a quick visual analysis of responsibility assignment by simply navigating the matrix horizontally and vertically. Navigating the rows of activities one can ensure that there is at least one accountable and one responsible party for each activity. Navigating the column of stakeholders, one can identify the responsibility of each party with respect to the identified activities. Once the RACI matrix is completed, a good practice is to distribute it to all stakeholders, and potentially, to the entire organizations.

bpmNEXT 2015: Trisotech BPM Graph – Semantic Layer for Business/IT divide

Published on May 7, 2015

bpmNEXT 2015: Trisotech BPM Graph – Semantic Layer for Business/IT divide presented by Denis Gagne, Trisotech

The Trisotech BPM Graph creates a semantic layer that allows the mapping of the expressed desired results (Ends) of an organization and the course of actions (Means) expressed in the organization’s business processes. This semantic layer is proposed as the missing link between the Business and IT divide to ensure a better Business and IT alignment. The Trisotech BPM graph provides a global context for Process Discovery, Modeling, Analysis and Execution. This semantic layer makes use of Ontologies to enable a mapping between (sometime more loosely defined) business views and their more structured and model driven counterparts from the world of IT. The BPM Graph lays down the foundations for the future of intelligent, goal oriented, agent based or semantic BPM.

Discovery and Analysis for Case Management

Published on June 26, 2014

BPM & Case Management presentation at Summit 2014 in Washington by Denis Gagné.

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