Do your work flow charts cause confusion?
I believe that a good starting point for process improvement is to fully understand the as-is process to be improved. Creating a flowchart is an effective way of describing a process as most people in business have a basic understanding of flow charts and feel able to interpret them.
If a best practise approach is followed, it is likely that most misunderstandings will be resolved during a verification exercise; however it is not guaranteed that all will, and it is much cheaper to get things right at the first time of asking.
Using a standard such as Business Process Management Notation (BPMN 2.0) addresses this problem. BPMN provides the capability for fully describing complex processes occurring across multiple departments, systems or organisations. It supports complex business events, message flow, inclusive and exclusive gateways and merges, and provides a model which leaves no room for personal interpretation.
Will adopting a standard mean individual interpretation will go away? Unfortunately not, but I believe it goes a long way towards a solution as it allows those familiar with the standard to fully understand and challenge the model. In practise, if a model contains notation which is unfamiliar, I believe most people are likely to seek an explanation, rather than fill in the blanks themselves.
Have you experienced problems with process flow charts causing confusion and want to learn more about BPMN 2.0? Contact Lithe IT on 0141 314 3707 and ask for Anthony or see our website at www.litheit.com.