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Software Group

BPM Process Modeling Best Practices Highlights


Based on over a decade of BPM Services Engagements

Bill.Hahn@us.ibm.com
Sr. Consulting BPM Solution Architect
Open Group Master Certified SW IT Specialist

http://IBMBPMDemos.com for more information and resources


Outline

Introduction
Definition of Terms
Five Guidelines
1) Rule of Seven
2) Activity Granularity
3) Activity Description
4) Inputs/Outputs
5) The System Lane
Conclusion
Q&A

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Definition of Terms
Business Process Definition (BPD)
Pool
Swim Lane
Milestone
Participant
Step/Activity
Flow Line
Business Event
User Story

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Business Process Definition (BPD)
A diagram that illustrates a business process
includes participants, steps, activities, and sub-processes

Business Process Definition objectives:

Universally understood by both business and technologists


Clearly and easily communicated in 5 minutes or less
at any level of granularity

Executable in a Business Process Management System

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What is not a Business Process Definition?
Entity State Diagrams
Use Cases, Use Case Relationship Diagrams
System Relationship Diagram
Architectural Diagram
Workflow Model (Application Development), Screen Flow

Review
Draft

Final



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Pool

Com Default Description


pone name
nt
1 Lombard The default pool to hold all lanes within the
i pool BPD. You can change the name by clicking
the pool and editing its properties.
2 Participa A default lane for end user activities. You
nt lane can change the name by clicking the lane
and editing its properties.

A container for all lanes within the BPD

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(Swim) Lane

Highlights role oriented activities versus the flow oriented activities


A lane has a default set of participants

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Milestones
A milestone in a process
Represents
A period of time
Goal/transition in the process
May be expressed as a single
moment in time
e.g. graduation
A milestone end-marker

May characterize period of time


- e.g. adolescence
A milestone should be achieved just once in a BPD
- Looping back across a milestone is discouraged

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Participant
A participant is a user of the WLE environment
Sets of users are Participant Groups

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Activity/Step
A unit of granularity in a process that
Has a goal that can be expressed as a singular outcome
Implemented as
Task (human or system)
Sub-process
Can be a human task
Single participant begins the activity
Can contain multiple steps, (e.g. screens in a screen flow)
These steps are not process steps
Can be a sub-process
Implemented as another BPD

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Sequence Flow Lines
A sequence flow line
Defines the transition from one step or event to another

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Events
A business event
Is the occurrence of a condition that triggers an activity.
Can listen to catch a condition to trigger an activity or
throw a result upon occurrence.

throw listen

Types of events include the following:


Start /End
Timer
Message
Exception

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User Story
Short, high-level statement of requirements
Students can purchase monthly parking passes online
Parking passes can be paid via credit cards
Parking passes can be paid via PayPal
Professors can input student marks
Stakeholders and domain experts write user stories
Can include both functional and non-functional requirements
Indicate the estimated size/implementation effort
Indicate the priority
Optionally include a unique identifier
Improves traceability

See Agile Modeling at http://www.agilemodeling.com/artifacts/userStory.htm


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Five Guidelines to Better Process Modeling
Introduction
Definition of Terms
Five Guidelines
1) Rule of Seven
2) Activity Granularity
3) Activity Description
4) Inputs/Outputs
5) The System Lane
Conclusion
Q& A

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Example of a bad Process Model

Select
Company in
dropdown
Click button
to add a new
line item.

Click OK

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Example of a bad Process Model

String of
Pearls
Pattern

No
Constellation Milestones
Pattern Defined 4 System
Lanes

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(1) Rule of Seven
Limit any view to no more than 7 steps/activities for good fit.

Select Background Add Candidate To


Offer HR Records Orientation Begin Work
Candidate Check

Inform Criminal Create offer Input employee


information into
New hire orientation Meet
class
recruiter record check letter database manager

Establish Transmit Request Benefits overview Obtain access


compensation Drug screen class badge
package offer letter equipment

Establish Release Candidate Request Provide orientation Obtain


from Process Accept offer cd
start date workspace equipment

Review Request access


Watch orientation cd
Go to
badge
results workspace

Set employee status Complete


to active
forms

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(2) Activity Granularity
Activities should be Similar in Scope at
each level
Look for the String of Pearls pattern.
Look for the Constellation pattern.
Look for Flow Line Patterns

Remember that an Activity


Is a step in a process that can be
implemented as a sub-process or a task.
Purchase
Definition in a Process Model should stop at Groceries
task granularity.
A task activity is a unit of work that a single
participant (human or system) starts with
the intent to complete.

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(2) Activity Granularity Scope

Plan Party Host Party Clean Up


Overloaded Milestone
(Rule of Seven)
Invite Guests
Welcome Clean the Dissimilar in Scope
Guests House

Prepare Serve Send Thank


Too Granular in Detail
Menu Snacks You Cards

Serve Cake
Get Veggies
& Ice Cream

Get Cake Play Games


Pay with

Get Ice
AMEX
Where do we stop?
Open Gifts
Cream
Drive Home

Get Chips & Open Door


Play Games
Dip Put Veggies
in Fridge Set Ice
Cream on
Checkout
Shelf
Put Ice Cream
in Freezer
Close Door

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(2) Activity Granularity Scope
Activities should be similar in scope at each level.
Plan Party Host Party Clean Up

Will a single person complete the activity?


Welcome Clean the
Invite Guests
Guests House

Prepare Serve Send Thank


Menu Snacks You Cards
Is the goal or outcome an input for the next activity?
Purchase Serve Cake
Groceries & Ice Cream

Play Games Is the duration similar to others at this level?

Open Gifts

Will the activity be started with the intent to finish?


Play Games

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(2) Activity Granularity String of Pearls Pattern
Series of two or more activities in the same swim lane

May indicate missing participant details


May indicate too much detail at a low level of granularity
May indicate misalignment in scope

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(2) Activity Granularity String of Pearls Pattern
Combine into a single Activity: Send Offer Letter
Before
3 serial activities for Hiring Manager
Review Results
Create Offer Letter
Transmit Offer Letter

After
1 activity for Hiring Manger

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(2) Activity Granularity Constellation Pattern
Factor constellations to a sub-process. Look for

Tight groups of activities across 2-3 swim lanes


Single flow line in & out of the group
Lane participant may be limited to activities in the group
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(2) Activity Granularity Flow Line Patterns
Generally should not flow backward to a previous milestone.
Generally should not skip a Milestone.
Should avoid looping back to a previous step to repeat an
activity (or sub-process) later in the processrepeat/re-use the
activity instead.

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(3) Activity Description Activity Naming
Activity Name = Action + Entity
[action verb] + [business object]
Avoid vague action verbs such as Process and Perform [Step]
Use action verbs that indicate a result/output
Use specific terms recognizable by the business users (even if
they might be vague to others) and describe/define the terms in
the description if necessary.

Perform Approve
Contract
Review Terms

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(3) Activity Description User Story
Capture a 2-5 sentence description for each activity.
As a [participant] I need to [do something] so that I can [create
business value].

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(4) Inputs/Outputs
Define with business entities from the business object model
Avoid specifying state for the entity (eg. signed contract)
Avoid specifying other qualifiers that are properties of the entity

Candidate
Job Description
Comp. Details

Offer Letter

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(5) The System Lane

Define only one system lane.


Contains activities performed by the BPMS or orchestrated by
the BPMS to be performed by an external system.
Should not contain human activities.
Avoid the string of pearls pattern.
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Conclusion
Introduction
Definition of Terms

QA
&
Five Guidelines
1) Rule of Seven
2) Activity Granularity
3) Activity Description
4) Inputs/Outputs
5) The System Lane
Q&A

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Links to Your Next Steps
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Including Education and Enablement Services

BPM Process Discovery & Modeling in the Cloud


Blueprint Process Modeling for inventory & mapping
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Process analysis & prioritization

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