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New Post 9/13/2010 1:26 PM
User is offline Nerhesi
3 posts
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Resources displayed on Business Process Models? 

Good afternoon ladies and gents,

I've been an Analyst for some years now, and in my current position, I manage teams of analysts on a variety of IT projects. (think of it as horizontal manager, where I am responsible for the Analysts on several projects vs a PM responsible for a project as a whole).

In my most recent project, I have butted heads with our Cluster Architect regarding some new... technique?  There is a strong movement, spearheaded by a specific project, to begin to show Resources, on Business Process Models.

Please bear with me as this is a bit foreign to me, but I have never seen Resources modeled directly on a BPM. Is this a new emergening standard that I may have missed?

If I may quote:

Resources must be expressed in the Business Process Models (BPMs), visually
depicting which processes produce and/or consume the Resources; it is implied that
Resources that are not produced and/or consumed by the processes are not in the
project scope; the existing business process models do not comply; the Resources
identified need to be examined to ensure that they are adequate to support the processes
and do not contain unrelated entries.

 

I'd like any opinions/comments you have on this approach. Whether you have done this yourselves, or you see issues with it, or gains from it, etc..

 

Thank you,

 

Sam W.

 
New Post 9/14/2010 2:48 AM
User is offline Nigelus
23 posts
www.altkon.com
9th Level Poster


Re: Resources displayed on Business Process Models? 

Morning Sam,

In my humble opinion, it is good practice to first map or model the "As-Is" of the business process. In so doing the roles or resources or people who carry out the activities within the business process model, must form part of that model. How would you cost the "As-Is" for that business process without indicating 'which' resource carries out 'which' activity and at 'what' cost.

Then comes the consultative approach of studying the "As-Is" model and it's related costs and trying to identify where there may be waste, duplication of effort or other areas where savings could be made. The "To-Be" business process model is then drafted and collaboratively ratified and approved before being adopted. I am sure this is part of your every day activities, just wonder why you feel that resources are not a part of the business process model?

Regards Nigelus

 
New Post 9/14/2010 9:54 AM
User is offline Nerhesi
3 posts
No Ranking


Re: Resources displayed on Business Process Models? 
Modified By Nerhesi  on 9/14/2010 10:55:28 AM)

Thank you for your quick response Nigelus.

While I am most definitely in favour of showing which resource carries out what activity, I believe that can be well modelled using swimlanes.  My concern is regarding the specifically proposed modelling technique, which may be difficult to explain, but I will try nonetheless.

Now, we're all familiar with swimlanes. So lets take a simple process in which an applicant interacts with a clerk at a public office to, for example, obtain permission_card (Driver license, id card, fising license, passport, etc...)

In in a very basic format, two swimlanes would frame this process for the applicant and the system (one can argue three, to include the clerk/admin person but lets just stick to two).  The activity steps would constitute things such as:

Prepares application form.

Checks Eligibility.

Enters information into the system.

etc...

 

Now, the proposal by the architect, is that for each activity step that interacts consumes or creates a resource, that resource must be physically identified on the model. So, if you are still following me, picture a basic BPM with swimlanes.  Now, the Prepare application form activity, would have a dotted line going off to the side connecting it to a document-artefact icon titled "application form SD-1" as an example. At the end of the process, if there is an activity for "Create temporary ID card" - there would be a dotted line linking that activity, to another document-artefect icon titled "Temporary ID card EQ-4".

Normally, in terms of resources created or consumed, I would have seperate document detailing all these interactions (my resource type document) that would simply point to the relevant activity diagram/BPM.

 

My concerns regarding the more cluttered approach is at when point do you draw the distinction between resources consumed that you need to show, and what which you don't? The system is creating logs and tables constantly at each of these steps, why are they not modelled directly on the BPM?  Personally, I have never seen a BPM that goes out of it's way to identify which activity steps create or consume "physical resources".  But, as I do like to at least think I'm open minded, I was wondering if this is common practice elsewhere or if any of you ladies and gents have been exposed to it?

Thanks

 

Sam W.

 
New Post 9/14/2010 3:32 PM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: Resources displayed on Business Process Models? 

Hi:

Look at data flow diagrams.  The "data flows" do not have to be data.  They can be flows of tooling, materials, or any other resource.   Such has been the case for decades.

BPMN can also show flow of resources.  However, by showing flow of control, sequencing, and resources all on the same diagram, the diagrams soon become so complex that it is impossible for the analyst to tell where his/her errors are.

Tony

 

 
New Post 9/15/2010 8:42 AM
User is offline Nerhesi
3 posts
No Ranking


Re: Resources displayed on Business Process Models? 

 ajmarkos wrote

Hi:

Look at data flow diagrams.  The "data flows" do not have to be data.  They can be flows of tooling, materials, or any other resource.   Such has been the case for decades.

BPMN can also show flow of resources.  However, by showing flow of control, sequencing, and resources all on the same diagram, the diagrams soon become so complex that it is impossible for the analyst to tell where his/her errors are.

Tony

 

 

Thank you Tony, I am aware of Data Flows.  While they are not UML2.X diagrams by any means, they at least are focused on a single context - The flow of Data.

An activity diagram, is not focused on the flow of data/resources. As the name suggests, it displays the flow of control, and you have outlined perfectly my concern regarind cluttering activity diagrams by displaying information/physical/etc resources created by each activity.

I have seen and done it to lesser extent in terms of identifying created entities/objects on an Activity diagram; but that is with regards to a fairly granular system activity diagram, and not a high level business process.

Thank you folks,

 
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