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6 techniques for creating engaging business processes. - Promapp

BPM treats business processes as a key knowledge asset of your organization. If this asset is not easy to understand,
manage and improve by business teams, it will not deliver optimal value to the business.

Find out how to make a process document that works, because not all business processes are created equal. The
reality is anyone can create a business process, but not everyone can do it well. Business processes that are well-
constructed make it easy for teams to understand, use and, importantly, identify and suggest improvements. This is
key to business process management success.

As a senior implementation consultant at Promapp I have helped hundreds of organizations across the globe to
create and capture their business processes. Use these techniques to create processes that are meaningful and
more likely to be used by your teams:

Traditionally, process maps have been jam-packed with too much information. Old-style processes normally offer an
end-to-end view of procedures, and tend to include between nine and 12 decision points.

These decision diamonds quickly beef up charts to the point where they become almost too complex to consume at
all, and certainly can’t be absorbed by users in one glance. In fact, traditional process maps in Visio, for example,
frequently look like the dumping ground for a series of actions and tasks. 

They often look a bit like this:

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6 techniques for creating engaging business processes. - Promapp

These inflated processes quickly become defunct because no one uses them, leaving leadership teams confused.
Why would people ignore processes when they include everything they could possibly need to know, down to the
minutest detail? 

The answer is that these process maps are just too busy: they overwhelm the user and encourage workarounds
where colleagues fall back on asking one another what steps they should follow. 

What users really need is to understand what happens most of the time. Capture ‘the happy flow’: those tasks and
activities that happen 80% of the time. That way it’s easier to keep processes simple and easy to follow. 

The remaining 20% make up the exceptions, which still need to be captured and made available, but aren’t critical to
the core of what usually happens.

For instance, the process for filling an order for a hot drink could include the following:

See what happens when you remove the exceptions – those things that may only happen 20% of the time, like buying
milk because you’ve run out:

Suddenly, that busy process map looks a lot more digestible:


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6 techniques for creating engaging business processes. - Promapp

Keep reading to see how you can accommodate those exceptions, too.


As a guide, remember that activities are related to what the key steps in your process are, and tasks are related to
how you perform an activity.

Write down the what, sticking to those high-level activities that make up your process as I’ve illustrated in the
diagram above.

Then simplify your steps even further by grouping activities together that naturally fall under high-level categories.
Where it makes sense, clump tasks together that form part of the main activity.

For instance, that 7-step process for filling a hot drink order is easily simplified to three steps:

Teams will find it easy to get an overview in one quick glance once that process is mapped: 

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6 techniques for creating engaging business processes. - Promapp

For each process, limit yourself to 10 high-level activities. If you can’t restrict the number of activities to that
magical number 10 despite finding commonalities, it’s an indication that you may need to divide this particular
process into sub-processes.

Now you can add more detail in each activity by capturing how each one is performed. 

For example, there are four tasks that form the activity ‘Make hot drinks’:


Once you’ve captured what happens most of the time, you can deal with those tasks that happen the remaining 20%
of the time. 

You can capture these as notes inside the activities, which include the “what if” situations, business rules and
background explanations.

For instance if you create a process for making a hot drink, one of the exceptions could be that the milk has expired.
It may only happen 20% of the time so doesn’t need to be part of your key process, but it can’t be ignored.

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6 techniques for creating engaging business processes. - Promapp

Want more information about managing process variations for different countries, locations or customers? 

Watch this clip to see how you can simplify process variants.  

Read about how process variant management solves the process standardization challenge.  

Join a demo webinar to learn how Promapp helps companies build, improve and share their process


Use an action word at the start of every process, activity and task to help users immediately understand what they
need to do next.

For instance, these two examples illustrate the difference it makes when you start off with a ‘doing word’:

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6 techniques for creating engaging business processes. - Promapp

When you add descriptions to the activity, they become even more meaningful. Restrict yourself to 6-8 words per

Be clear and avoid vague language so that your activity reads like a clear instruction:


Processes should give users an overview in one glance. To achieve this, the optimal number of activities for a process
can vary between 3 and 10.

If your overview exceeds 10 activities, separate it into sub-processes, so you go from this:

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6 techniques for creating engaging business processes. - Promapp


Processes are brought to life with the use of images, illustrations, graphs and video clips. Documents like forms,
guides and policies also make it easy for the user to follow the process.

A good BPM tool should serve as a central repository for processes, as well as the related media. That way
organizations have a single source of truth where teams will always find the most up to date processes, plus the
relevant documentation that should ideally be dynamically updated.


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6 techniques for creating engaging business processes. - Promapp

By implementing these tips, your business processes stand a much better chance of being used. You’ll quickly see the
difference between complicated Visio diagrams or detailed Word documents, and processes that engage your
people and are relied on by teams across your business every day. 

There are a number of ways to engage your people in your BPM efforts. Upskilling them on how to create solid
processes will get you off to a good start.

Check out this intro webinar to see how easy creating engaging business processes can be.

James Ross has helped hundreds of Promapp clients,

across all industries and locations around the world, to
realize cost savings and efficiencies through the
successful implementation of business improvement

He has extensive experience across multiple areas

related to information systems including project
management, business analysis, application
architecture and design.

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