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Author Topic: Software for Business Process Modeling?  (Read 16274 times)
superboyac
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« Reply #25 on: June 25, 2010, 09:50:36 AM »

I recently PM'd a couple of the experts here (I forgot to include IianB!) about another question I had.  Now that I'm doing these flowcharts for business processes, I was thinking about how I should write the text that goes along with it.  here was my question:
I'm working on creating business process flowcharts, and I feel the work has been productive so far.  My question is, how do I convert the flowchart into text?  Eventually, all of this will be in a printed manual.  For each process, there will be a flowchart shown, and then each step of the process will be described in the text.

I am having a hard time figuring out how to write the text.  I can't really write it in outline format because often there are several processes happening in parallel, so i don't know how to accurately convert that to text.

Another idea I had was to give each item of the flowchart an index number or something, and use those numbers in the text and just write comments for each of them.

But what I really want to know is if there are some standard ways of doing this in the industry.  What is the "normal" way of doing this?  Please let me know, thanks so much.


So far, I've received a nice response from Steveorg, but I'd love more input also.  Please advise, thank you.  below is Steveorg's response:
Quote
I doubt if there is any single "normal" way of doing this, however if there is, IainB is likely to know since he has the academic background. Not even within the limited sphere of Sarbanes-Oxley was there any single standard. I do have an opinion on best practices, which a Fortune 50 converted to world-wide at great expense. You seem to be creating detailed desktop documentation, which requires extra details not accommodated by the templates, but most of the underlying concepts are the same.

Your instinct to fill-in the details in the text is good. I've had the questionable pleasure of fixing documentation where too many details were added as comments to the flowcharts. The clutter rendered the flowcharts useless. Unless computer controlled, systems like index numbering are hard to maintain and are error prone.

Try a three column approach. Col 1: Step Owner (same as swim lane), Col 2: Text from the flowchart, Col 3: Extra details. Alternately, since your extra details (such as marked-up screen shots, which is essential when documenting software processes for end-users) could be quite extensive, put Col 3 on the next row and use a bolder border to group the three boxes together.

At the beginning create sections for Process Objective, Process Overview, Roles and Responsibilities (titles in swim lanes with an overview of the functions in the process), Definitions & Abbreviations (you can use this to assemble a company glossary, and once assembled unify duplicate terms, and then cascade the surviving term back down to the documentation) and Preceding Processes (Most often processes could be considered continuations of a prior process, so this helps for context).

In any case, if you'd like templates and examples, let me know. I'll have to clean the company's identity from the documents so it will be a couple of days before I'll be able to do it.
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IainB
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« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2010, 07:50:54 PM »

@superboyac: With all due respect to you and the other members who have contributed in this discussion so far, and without wishing to insult your intelligence, I have to say that your questions clearly demonstrate to me that, with a depressing predictability you would seem to have proceeded down the path that I had laboriously tried to warn you off and which others had, in their ignorance, encouraged you to follow. This pisses me off somewhat. I was already annoyed because I have just had to advise a client how to clean up a stupid mess in a project that had gone off the rails - a project situation that was clearly avoidable. Human error/stupidity. So, to let off some steam, please forgive me but I am going to have to have a rant.

WARNING! START OF RANT!----------------
The issue here is probably largely to do with the degree of critical thinking required to adequately pose your questions in the first place, and then answer them.

There is nothing necessarily wrong with ignorance except not attempting to overcome it to some extent. It is a normal human condition from which we can never hope to escape. For example, I am ignorant all of the time, but at least I am acutely aware of that fact. The best that we can hope to do is to dispel some of the gloom by learning from others' mistakes (thereby saving us from tediously repeating them) and communicating that learning, and seeking real knowledge and truth - for example, as to the options and the factors affecting the options, for determining what course to take under certain circumstances.

I have probably made most of those mistakes - plus a few others - and seen my colleagues make the same or worse. So I can show that I probably know whereof I speak. I made them when I was "Withdumb".

Withdumb is the best neologism I have yet come across to adequately define this state of ignorance, and I only read about it yesterday on Scott Adams' (Dilbert) blog:

Quote
Definition of Withdumb: A quality you possess if you hold a popular and unfounded point of view.

Withdumb is different from herd instinct. A person who possesses withdumb could achieve the condition with no help whatsoever from the group . For example, if you were the only person in Mongolia who believed in astrology, you would have withdumb, but it wouldn't be because your herd influenced you.

It's easier to cling to an irrational opinion if you know that somewhere in the world there are lots of people who think the same way, especially if those other people seem smart or authoritative.

When I was a kid, my own withdumb included the idea that eating before swimming meant certain death. I assumed that someone had actually done research on that topic. I recall wondered why I had never heard of anyone dying from a sandwich-related swimming incident. But when you are young, you assume there are plenty of things happening that you don't know about. The only thing I knew for sure is that lots of people believed that eating and swimming was a dangerous combination.

The "good advice" you have had from some people (not so much from me, I hope) in this discussion is arguably crawling with conventional wisdom, weak or unstated assumptions, weak theory, unsubstantiated and therefore irrationally held belief and/or strongly held opinion, bigotry, ego justification, rationalisation, ignorance, and all apparently in a relative vacuum of critical thinking. (Discussion forums seem to rarely encourage the converse of these things.)

So, no more answers from me. I am not going to bib-wipe your chin. We all need to endeavour to help ourselves to a greater extent to sort things out, and besides there is nothing wrong with doing some legwork and research. I shall therefore provide a link to a set of some of the most relevant and extremely useful base material that I can think of to help you. You will need to study it yourself. You will not understand a lot of it (especially the Red Beads Experiment, I suspect) because it is so simple that it will probably escape you. Like the time I attended a W.E. Deming 4-day seminar in 1985 and only began to understand what that then 82-year old intellectual giant was talking about on the morning of the 4th day, when I realised that what I thought I had previously understood was actually wrong and I had completely missed the simple truth of what he was patiently trying to get us to understand. He even warned us at the outset that a lot of what he was going to say was very simple and yet difficult to understand, and that it was very profound. (It was all of those things!)

You are already clearly set, it seems to me (from what you have said), to make a lot of the classic mistakes in your business process analysis. You will trip over some obvious obstacles, fall flat on your face and say, "Ah! So maybe that's what that grumpy sod IainB was talking about!" You will be presented with opportunities to incrementally develop your critical thinking, improve your knowledge, and thereby become less ignorant. These are all aspects that I am continually trying to improve in myself. Seize all such opportunities.
END OF RANT-----------------
File: BPR - notes - copies for a public domain collection.zip

________________________________________
"Nullius in verbo." Motto of the Royal Society, London. Take nobody's word for it; see for yourself.


Update 2010-06-28:
I have been told in a post below that this post is rude. As a result, I promised to post the following:
(a) It certainly was not intended to be rude and I do apologise if I gave offence.      
(b) What I was being was blunt and direct - calling a spade a spade - in order to drive the point home.

Otherwise, the points I felt needed to be made could not really be made by pussyfooting around  - and I did state unequivocally that I was having a rant.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2010, 10:31:34 AM by IainB » Logged
superboyac
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« Reply #27 on: June 26, 2010, 04:22:15 PM »

@IainB:
Firstly, I believe you know what you are talking about.  I apologize fore not closely reading and thinking about your very long posts.  I simply didn't have the time for it.  This weekend, I am rereading them and will have to spend time thinking about it.

Secondly, i feel you were rude in the post above.  I understand why you did that, and it may even have been effective in getting me to reconsider my methods, but it was rude.

Thirdly, while you are throwing out a lot of information, you are not communicating effectively.  What is your point and can you state it clearly in one paragraph?  There is an art to being able to say a lot with less words.

Anyway, I'm not mad at you because the information you have posted seems to really be on to something.  Now before we continue, I have to tell you a little bit about myself and where I work.  I can't give details because of the nature of my work, but I'll do my best:

--I am not in control of what I SHOULD and SHOULDN't be doing.  I'm not in that position.  I can only do what I am asked.  Now, I am in a special situation where I am being asked to do something that managers higher up and more experienced should be doing.  But again, there's a lot going on here that you don't know about.

--My organization is in a highly politically charged and public climate.  There's so much going on.  A lot of people probably do not want the business processes depicted very accurately because accountability will be at stake.  And once the media and the public get wind of it, there may possibly be a lot of very serious consequences.

So I may have to do things a certain way even though it's not the best way and I know it.

I am personally curious and willing to do things the best way.  That's why i want to know more about what you are saying.  however, that doesn't mean I'll get to do it for the organization.  If I even suggest going down that road, I may be pulled of this task.  So I have to be very delicate in handling this.

So please relax.  because of you, I am devoting a whole weekend to digesting all the things you have said in this thread.  I will come back at you with more questions, and I hope you will answer them.  If not, please say so because i don't want to start something with nowhere to turn to for advice.
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« Reply #28 on: June 26, 2010, 09:31:13 PM »

...strongly held opinion, bigotry, ego...
Am I the only one that sees the irony?

@IainB: I tend to agree with superboyac, I believe you know what you are talking about. That's despite the fact that you've demonstrated little insight into superboyac's situation and needs, and that your writing is sometimes obtuse and disjointed. I'd expect someone successful in your profession to be perceptive and a good communicator.

Since at least some of your vitriol seems to be aimed at me, let me defend myself just a little. When I referred to "best practices" (and even then I knew your eyes were rolling), that was within what that Fortune 50 company had experienced in the 12 divisions around the world that participated in the project the first year. In that year, each division was mostly on their own in implementation methods. The next year they unified the methodology based on what worked best, imposed an awkward project management system and then rolled out the project world wide. The IT department made them spend too much on a bad project management system, but would not let them invest one dime in documentation or automated BPM technology. We used Word, Visio and Excel. I suspected that there had to be a better way and demonstrated the value of treating processes as data by using Excel to harmonize the financial processes at different manufacturing plants. Financial management was willing, but the IT department didn't want to investigate the concept. Financial management also embraced the project as a process improvement opportunity, even though most processes were functioning well and process improvement wasn't the goal. That's politics in a high functioning company.

Another one of my clients was a mid-cap company that had an extremely bad attitude about Sarbanes-Oxley. The only process changes that they accepted, even when obviously beneficial, were the minimum necessary to eliminate control design failures and even most of those changes were a fight. They didn't even use Visio. Flowcharts were done with Word! Not surprisingly, a couple of years later the company was in hot water over financial irregularities. That's politics in a low functioning company.

Politics in a low functioning environment is superboyac's situation. We already knew that he was under-resourced; does not have access to BPM professionals; and analysis and process improvement are off the table. Instead of expecting superboyac to absorb your education and experience through osmosis so that he can spend money that he doesn't have for expensive tools for automating BPM that he won't be able to use, it would be much more helpful to provide practical advice on how to use tools like Word, Visio and Excel to document the processes as they exist. What ever happened to KISS?
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superboyac
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« Reply #29 on: June 26, 2010, 09:48:55 PM »

Thank you, steveorg, you definitely understand the situation I'm in.  I agree with IainB that there may be a BEST way of doing something, and I am all for it, but at this point, I have no idea how far down that road I can go.

What steveorg described above is pretty accurate as far as my situation.  I'll clarify a couple of things:  in my opinion, we are not under-resourced.  But that's my opinion,  Thmbsup.  i don't think anyone else will admit that.  Also, money is not an issue.  if we're talking about $3k software, I'm pretty sure that's no problem.  What will be a problem is convincing people that we need it.  Again, steveorg nailed it.  Politics is huge right now.  I can't give details, but it's a huge deal.  it's actually a big lesson I am learning right now.  I am not naturally a political creature, but it's also something I can't avoid.  I will have to handle it and handle it well or else my own career will be at stake.  I don't have the option of ignoring it and retreating to my cubicle until I retire.  I love the situation I'm in, and I love these challenges.  I like the people I work with and the place that I work.  A lot.  But that doesn't mean things are perfect, far from it.  i want to help, and I believe I'm in a position to help, so that is my goal.

Anyway, despite the tone of IainB's conversation, to me he really seems to be on to something.  That is why i'm spending all weekend studying it.  Normally, i would never do this after that kind of treatment, but there's something good in there, I can see it.

By the way, can anyone point me to the right places for BPM societies and things like that?  Are there local organizations i can join or just hang around a little?  I'm in Los Angeles, so there must be something around here.  Please let me know.  Thank you.
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IainB
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« Reply #30 on: June 27, 2010, 06:55:24 AM »

@superboyac:
Thanks for your post above. This is probably off topic, but I would like to respond to each of the points you make. I hope that's OK by you.
Firstly, I believe you know what you are talking about.  I apologize fore not closely reading and thinking about your very long posts.  I simply didn't have the time for it.  This weekend, I am rereading them and will have to spend time thinking about it.
Do I know what I am talking about?               undecided
  • I'm not so sure. I hope I know what I am talking about when I talk about business process analysis/modelling (though there is always more to learn), but I can offer no proof of that other than by demonstration. (I might be making it all up, for example.)
  • I certainly know what I am talking about when I talk about mistakes in the context of "I have probably made most of those mistakes - plus a few others - and seen my colleagues make the same or worse." (This was what I was referring to by "...whereof I speak")

Secondly, i feel you were rude in the post above.  I understand why you did that, and it may even have been effective in getting me to reconsider my methods, but it was rude.
I am sorry if you feel it was rude. I did in fact preface my comments thus:
Quote
"With all due respect to you and the other members who have contributed in this discussion so far, and without wishing to insult your intelligence, I have to say that ..."
In any event:
(a) It certainly was not intended to be rude and I do apologise if I gave offence.    
(b) What I was being was blunt and direct - calling a spade a spade - in order to drive the point home.
(I shall retrospectively update the post with this statement.)

Otherwise, the points I felt needed to be made could not really be made by pussyfooting around  - and I did state unequivocally that I was having a rant.

Quote
Thirdly, while you are throwing out a lot of information, you are not communicating effectively.  What is your point and can you state it clearly in one paragraph? There is an art to being able to say a lot with less words.
Well, again, with all due respect, I might opine a similar gratuitous and pointless (i.e., what point does it make about the subject) criticism about you - but I would not dream of doing so as it would seem to be an ad hominem (which is a logical fallacy and meritless). Any criticisms I might make would not be on the style of a debater's communication but rather intended to contribute thinking to the debate and the improvement of understanding and resolution of an issue.
Whilst I appreciate that the criticism you express here is opinion (and we are all entitled to our opinions, no matter how wrong they may be), I have no information to go on that suggests that it is anything more than that - i.e., just your opinion.

Is it (say) a professionally qualified opinion? For example, what rules dictate that it must be one paragraph? Why not two, and how long should a paragraph be anyway? Et cetera. Therefore, your comment as it stands is of questionable use, so I shall ignore it. Unless, of course, you are an expert on, and qualified to critique the use of English, English grammar and communications theory and practice - in which case then I am (as they say) "all ears", and I shall look forward to some detailed suggestions as to how I could improve my communications (that should probably be done via PM as it would be very much off-topic).
In other words, and to use a short phrase to say much, "Put up or shut up". (I think short phrases like that sound rude and so would not usually use them as I do not wish to be rude, but you seem to want 'em!)                    smiley

Situation description:
Thanks for describing some of the situational context of the business process work in your organisation. In light of that, I would respectfully suggest that maybe you might like to review your post and consider deleting some of it. (Just a thought.)

Regarding that situation, I would suggest that you beware. Business process reviews in an organisation are usually (inevitably?) fraught with the politics of domain-protection, which is why external consultants are often brought in under contract to do the work. External consultants generally do not care who gets the chop as long as they get the freedom and scope of action to do their professional job as best they can according to the agreed terms of reference, and then can pick up a fat fee and performance bonus at the end of the contract. The virulent antibodies in most organisations can be very quick to make it a toxic environment for in-house exercises that might threaten the status quo - which exercises then often fail ignominiously.

"I am personally curious and willing to do things the best way."
I would suggest that there may well be no "best way", and that anyway it all depends on what you mean by "best" in this context.
The choice would seem to me more likely to be like the example of hunters choosing between arming themselves with native instinct, loinskins, bows and arrows and pointy sticks to go hunt their dangerous prey, or arming themselves with a good strategic hunting theory, some reinforced battledress, semi-automatic rifles with infrared targeting and telescopic sights. Surprisingly, a lot of people seem to go for the former, because they don't know about the latter choice. If they did know, then arguably the answer would be that it's a no-brainer. Certainly, I fall into the latter group, and have turned down contracts where the client expects you to wear a loinskin and use bows and arrows and pointy sticks. I know this could perhaps be regarded as an unconventional approach by some, but that's one of the reasons that I am a fan of Copernicus' and not a member of the Flat Earth Society.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2010, 07:01:18 AM by IainB » Logged
IainB
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« Reply #31 on: June 27, 2010, 09:43:46 AM »

@steveorg:
This is just a quick response, because I think I have covered off the most necessary/relevant points in my response (above) to superboyac.
...strongly held opinion, bigotry, ego...
Am I the only one that sees the irony?

I am sorry, but arguments ad hominem are largely wasted on me, and please see in my response (above) to superboyac regarding this.
The point is that my training leads me to ensure that anything I say must be rational and based on and substantiated by referenceable experience (as research done for the client, or as recognised case studies, for example). I don't get paid to dish out opinions, and my opinions are irrelevant anyway, but whenever I am asked for an opinion, I will state it prefaced with "This is only my opinion, you understand, and I could be wrong of course, but...", because it could be a pile of unsubstantiated cr#p (like most, if not all opinions).

If I gave my clients an opinion without that rider, and if they then acted on it and it then caused a loss/damage, then this could be actionable as professional negligence. My company could be liable for either punitive damages or to make good for any consequential operational losses incurred (but not both of those things, in law). My professional indemnity insurance premiums would go sky-high, and I might not be able to remain in business or afford to remain in business. You see, my professional reputation would have been tarnished, and my operational costs could have escalated phenomenally.

When I put this quote at the end of one of my posts above:
Quote
"Nullius in verbo." Motto of the Royal Society, London. Take nobody's word for it; see for yourself.

- I did so for a very good reason - i.e., The Age of Enlightenment included a transformation of our methods of thinking about "truth":
  • Legitimate science seems to be based on rejection of trust. Saying something purely on the basis of trust does not resemble genuine knowledge.
  • 16th century: Montaigne: no harm in the fact that "almost all the opinions we have are taken on authority and credit".
  • 17th century: Gilbert, Bacon, Descartes and Boyle made a big thing of taking nothing on trust/authority.
  • Natural knowledge founded in evidence in nature - individual reason. Not in authority of tradition. Real knowledge not based on trust but on direct experience.
  • Reliance on the views of others produces errors. The best scientist is thus incapable of functioning as a member of society.
  • Objective truth may exist, but human nature may preclude us from being able to experience it.

I tend to agree with superboyac, I believe you know what you are talking about.
I feel somewhat gratified that you might agree with him that I know what I am talking about, but, as per my response to him, I am not so sure that I do - I only hope that I do know what I am talking about regarding business processes(etc.), but I certainly do know about the mistakes I or my colleagues have made.
In any event, your agreement is irrelevant as it is an opinion and an appeal to the consensus (a logical fallacy, and therefore meritless), and your belief is irrelevant. They do nothing to substantiate the rightness/validity or otherwise of anything that I might have said/written, or what you say/write.

That's despite the fact that you've demonstrated little insight into superboyac's situation and needs, and that your writing is sometimes obtuse and disjointed. I'd expect someone successful in your profession to be perceptive and a good communicator.
Please see my comments above and earlier posts, regarding arguments ad hominem.

Look, I don't wish to be rude, but the rest of your post seems to me to be mostly more ad hominem and some weak attempts to rationalise and validate your past work/experience, so I shall not address that as it appears that it would not contribute materially to improvement in any rational debate on the subject. That doesn't necessarily mean that there is nothing in there that could contribute, it's just that I haven't spotted it after a quick sift through.

I do appreciate that I have put things in one of my posts above in such a way that it might have called into question the validity of a great deal of your and other people's past work/experience and preferred opinions. No-one likes being told to accept that they have been doing it wrong.

But that's just it you see. I was and still am rich in "withdumb" and relatively poor in wisdom. When I was literally forced to find a better way to do things, in order to retain the multi-million dollar contract that we had won (and I was a lead author for the RFP response that had won the business, so my job could have been on the line), I had to put in some seriously hard work to dig us out of the hole we were in. I was responsible - and I have a very strong locus of responsibility. It was up to me. I had to carry out some rapid research, and, without consciously realising it, I had to push aside conventional approaches and conventional wisdom - my "withdumb". I was very lucky indeed to discover the new methods, tools, and approach that I did, and in so short a time too.

And when I had time to stop, take a deep breath and review and actually think about what I had just gone through, I saw the awful and inescapable truth, that, regardless of how I tried to rationalise and validate my past work/experience:

   I HAD BEEN DOING BUSINESS PROCESS WORK IN AN ARCHAIC MANNER FOR YEARS.
           I HAD BEEN DOING IT THE WRONG WAY.
                    I HAD TO CHANGE.


If I had not been forced into discovering this, then I probably would never have done so. "Necessity is the mother of invention"? Maybe.
I kid you not, my ego took a serious bashing at that point and for some time after. I still cringe when thinking about it. But it taught me to systematically question and review my own training, thinking skills, education, motivations, pet theories, cherished beliefs and opinions. It made me realise just how much my negligent self-awareness of those selfsame things had enabled them to cluster around my potentially open mind like fats collect slowly to block an arterial pathway, fitting me into a tight paradigm straightjacket so that my mind could no longer be open. And my ego had prevented me from ever realising that this had been happening to me. Dammit! I was always right! How could I need any improvement in the thinking skills department? I was shocked at myself.

Quote
"Why are we all so damn stupid?" (W. Edwards Deming)

I had just turned 50 at the time, and I thought "Sh#t! This must be how we grow old and set in our ways." But I realised that I could choose to let my mind age like that, or do something about it. CHANGE.

Quote
This is just a quick response...
That opening line was, of course, a joke.    
Your post made me think and it deserved a thoughtful response, else I would have failed to take an opportunity to contribute to, and communicate on what I consider to be a very interesting and important area of human endeavour  - an area where we could all probably benefit by learning to do better.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2010, 10:21:15 AM by IainB » Logged
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« Reply #32 on: June 27, 2010, 02:22:50 PM »

...strongly held opinion, bigotry, ego...
Am I the only one that sees the irony?

I am sorry, but arguments ad hominem are largely wasted on me...
Irony piled on top of irony! Berating me for an ad hominem argument when I merely pointed out one of several an ad hominem attacks by you? Really?

You may want to brush up on your logical fallacies because your other accusations of ad hominem attacks were also off the mark. I commented, almost as harshly as you, on the content of your post but did not call you names. I did so in response to bullying. If I had now called you a bully, that would have been ad hominem. See how that works?

You ended in a conciliatory way and that's good. Some other points may deserve a bit more of a response (some positive!), but I don't what to engage in a pissing match. That's not what I'm here for. Just let me offer a bit of advice. Learn to disagree while being courteous and respectful, otherwise you suck the joy out of helping and being helped.
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« Reply #33 on: June 28, 2010, 04:56:03 PM »

@steveorg: Points noted. I shall reply via Personal Message, to avoid taking this discussion even further off-topic.
My apologies, I should probably have done that last post - as addressed to you - via PM.
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« Reply #34 on: June 28, 2010, 05:03:02 PM »

@superboyac
I recently PM'd a couple of the experts here (I forgot to include IianB!)

Please don't refer to me as, or imply that I am an "expert". The term seems to indicate that the person knows everything there is to know on a subject.

I might be an experienced consultant and practitioner of business process analysis/modeling and improvement, and I certainly can see where people are going down the wrong paths that I might have been down, but I have already indicated that I am rich in "withdumb" and relatively poor in wisdom. There's probably still a lot to learn that I am not aware of.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2010, 10:51:40 PM by IainB » Logged
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« Reply #35 on: June 28, 2010, 05:27:55 PM »

@superboyac
I recently PM'd a couple of the experts here (I forgot to include IianB!)

Please don't refer to me as, or imply that I am an "expert". The term seems to indicate that the person knows everything there is to know on a subject.

I might be an experienced consultant and practitioner of business process analysis/modeling and improvement, and I certainly can see where people are going down the wrong paths that I might have been down, but I have already indicated that I am rich in "withdom" and relatively poor in wisdom. There's probably still a lot to learn that I am not aware of.
i'm sorry.
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IainB
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« Reply #36 on: June 28, 2010, 10:56:52 PM »

@superboyac: Ha-ha. Nothing to apologise for. I just do not profess to be an expert, that's all.
I just noticed I had spelt it wrong in my post - should be "withdumb". I have corrected it.
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app103
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« Reply #37 on: July 06, 2010, 09:13:51 AM »

If all you need is nice flow charts, ConceptDraw Pro can do that and it's not all that difficult to use (I figured it out without reading the help file)

If you want more than that, ConceptDraw Office might be a better option.
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patthecat
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« Reply #38 on: July 06, 2010, 01:05:20 PM »

In terms of business process modelling software, business units most often turn to software they already have rather than putting in a requisition to purchase specialized software.  This often means Microsoft Office suite of products inclusing Visio.

Open source software alternatives which are also portable (for those computers which are locked down and prevents the installation of new software) are:

Dia Portable - http://portableapps.com/apps/office/dia_portable

Open office Draw - http://portableapps.com/a...ffice/openoffice_portable
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superboyac
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« Reply #39 on: July 06, 2010, 03:42:31 PM »

Ok, I have a flowchart, but it is too big to fit on one 8.5x11 page.  How can I show this on letter size paper by splitting it up?  The arrows kind of go all over the place, so there's no easy point to simply break and say "continue on next page".  Do any of you have ideas?  I have 4 swimlanes.  It fits great on 11x17, but I don't know how to show it in our printable manual.
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steveorg
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« Reply #40 on: July 06, 2010, 04:26:02 PM »

Use page connector shapes. The text will be the page number and any other designation required if there is more than one page connector. For example Page 1 may have Page Connectors a, b and c. Page 2 may have connectors a and b. Let's say the flow is going from Page 1c to Page 2b. The text in the Page 1C connector shape would be "To Page 2b" and the text in the Page 2b connector shape would be "From Page 1C". FYI - Visio helps automate page connectors.

Now that I reread it, I see that you don't want to jump pages. That kind of restriction can drive you crazy, and using larger paper sizes can prove to be dysfunctional in printed manuals and more difficult to follow on screen.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2010, 04:29:39 PM by steveorg » Logged
superboyac
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« Reply #41 on: July 06, 2010, 04:41:50 PM »

Use page connector shapes. The text will be the page number and any other designation required if there is more than one page connector. For example Page 1 may have Page Connectors a, b and c. Page 2 may have connectors a and b. Let's say the flow is going from Page 1c to Page 2b. The text in the Page 1C connector shape would be "To Page 2b" and the text in the Page 2b connector shape would be "From Page 1C". FYI - Visio helps automate page connectors.

Now that I reread it, I see that you don't want to jump pages. That kind of restriction can drive you crazy, and using larger paper sizes can prove to be dysfunctional in printed manuals and more difficult to follow on screen.
I know.  I had it initially on a 11x17 landscape.  I just redid the flowchart manually to fit on a portrait 8.5x11.  It's good for now.  From now on, I'm keeping in mind this will be printed in a manual.  So I'm going to leave the page setup as is, and i really need to jump pages, I will.
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steeladept
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« Reply #42 on: July 07, 2010, 02:24:15 PM »

Don't forget, 11x17 landscape is 8.5x11 times 2.  In other words, what I often see (particularly with engineering drawings incorporated into books for example) is what is called an engineering fold.  You basically have an 11x17 page, you fold it in half, and then fold one side in half again to make a z-fold with a long tail where the bind will actually take place.  This allows you to print on 11x17 without reflowing the images to fit in a manual.
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superboyac
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« Reply #43 on: July 07, 2010, 02:44:36 PM »

Don't forget, 11x17 landscape is 8.5x11 times 2.  In other words, what I often see (particularly with engineering drawings incorporated into books for example) is what is called an engineering fold.  You basically have an 11x17 page, you fold it in half, and then fold one side in half again to make a z-fold with a long tail where the bind will actually take place.  This allows you to print on 11x17 without reflowing the images to fit in a manual.
I know, i do that all the time (I am an engineer!).  But I'd still prefer to keep it on letter size if possible.  During this process, there are a lot of meetings going on and stuff, and I always have to print this and that out.  So it's just easier to keep everything the same.
But I use the engineering fold all the time.  I always have to stick stuff in my binders, and all those 11x17's get folder in.  i remember learning that fold early on, I thought it was cool.  That's how geeky I am!

here's another little known engineering tidbit:  when you have those big plans, you are always supposed to roll it so that the sheet title is visible once the rolling is done.  That usually means you roll plans from left to right, top side on the outside (because the sheet title is normally in the lower right hand side).
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bmm
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« Reply #44 on: July 10, 2010, 03:32:45 PM »

A very nice freeware BPMN Modeler software is BizAgi Process Modeler.
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steveorg
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« Reply #45 on: July 16, 2010, 12:34:27 PM »

A very nice freeware BPMN Modeler software is BizAgi Process Modeler.
I just took a quick look. Apparently BPMN is an accepted BPM standard. One of the nice features of the site is that it has documentation and instructional materials on BPMN. BizAgi has built-in tools for detailed documentation that can be exported to Word or PDF. This eliminates the issue of keeping flow charts and detailed documentation in sync. I almost wish that I had a process to document so that I could test BizAgi.  tongue
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steeladept
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« Reply #46 on: July 16, 2010, 01:08:03 PM »

Nice catch bmm. 
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