Project Guide — Part 1: Process Selection
We have discussed a lot of practical process mining topics here on the blog over the past years, but one thing that is still missing is a step-by-step project guide. This is what this new series is all about.
- Step 1: Process selection (this article)
- Step 2 – 12: Coming soon
Today, we start with the first step in any process mining project: The selection of the process that should be analyzed (see below). The other steps will be added in future editions and linked from here.
When you start out with process mining, it is often not so easy to know where to start. Which process should you pick first? And which process might be less suitable for your process mining project?
In a previous article, we identified data availability and process awareness as two key ingredients to judge the suitability of a process for process mining. Read it here to see the detailed break-down and recommendations.
In addition, consider the following tips as well:
Agree on the scope. Make sure that everyone has the same understanding of where the process starts and where it ends. Often, people have a different process scope in mind while they are using the same process name (for example, “Is invoicing still part of the purchasing process?” or “Will the pre-operative care be included in the analysis of the surgery process at the hospital?”). All stakeholders should agree on the same process scope.
Ensure champion support. Just as important as the data availability is a good support from the team that is responsible for the process. You will need access to a domain expert who knows the process well and can answer questions during your analysis. Without the support of a good champion, you will hit a wall of questions very quickly. Process mining does not happen in a vacuum and an unavailable project sponsor who wants a “surprise me” analysis is a red flag. You also need the support of the process manager in defining the main analysis goals for the process mining project.
Keep an eye on improvement potential. If you need to choose a process among multiple good candidates, pick the process that is most relevant and has the most improvement potential. Unless you just want to play around for learning purposes, there must be an interest from the business in the results of your process mining analysis. You can either assess the improvement potential with a classical business case analysis or base the decision on the gut feeling and anecdotal evidence from the process experts. If you still have a tie between multiple processes, go for the one with the highest volume (for example, based on the number of cases that are processed).
Have you picked your process? Then you can move to the next step: Making your project plan.