By Mark Butler | Business Process & Organizational Change Management

Expanding the notion of “digging” – as in mining, we have found the following metaphor to be very helpful in calibrating the expectations of our client SMEs, and getting alignment regarding the level of detail that is needed and appropriate to constitute real and effective process modeling and analysis.

METAPHOR: Boulders, Rocks, Pebbles, Sand, Dust. This slide is really an infographic and it is going to get a little busy, so let’s work through this piece-by-piece.

Clearly these words/symbols represent a progression of granularity from large to very small, and nicely illustrates the concept of Process Decomposition.

This technique enables us to get to the details that are below the surface of everyone’s general awareness for any given business process. Think about an iceberg. The boulders and rocks of processes may be fairly well understood by the masses, but the process performance challenges we typically face are hidden in the detailed steps of those processes – things below the surface.

Process decomposition also helps us organize and structure our Process Documentation in Lucidchart so that these artifacts become the highly useful tools upon which we rely as input to the analysis and solution development work.

Pebbles represent the individual steps in the business process. At this level, we can see someone doing something in a specific way.

Said another way, this level of detail lets us identify who is doing what, how and when. And this constitutes the functional business requirements. This is the level of detail we use during our As-Is Process Mapping workshops.

Sand & dust: We move along to sand and dust during the Business Process Analysis stage of the methodology. This is where we identify the gaps and complete root cause analysis, and when we also engage in the dialog about possible solution opportunities for those gaps.

Armed with this inventory of opportunities, we then conduct our To-Be Visioning workshops. We are not going to cover this topic in the webcast, but just need to provide some context for understanding. The key purpose of the To-Be Visioning workshops is to get commitment on which solution opportunities the team and the sponsor agree to pursue.

Pebbles: Once we have those critical decisions, then we return to the pebbles level of work during our To-Be Process Mapping workshops. We use the future state business process to identify User Stories that we will take into an implementation phase.

Sand & dust: And finally, we return to the sand and dust level of detail during the Detailed Process Design stage of the methodology.