At one of ComputerWorld Canada’s Tech Insights events today about business process management (BPM), one presenter discussed the various steps organizations go through in improving processes. One such preliminary step is to illustrate the desired process in the form of a model to help stakeholders visualize it. Introducing a new or better process is like a cultural change and often meets resistance among those who fear they will have to learn something new or even lose the comfort level they’ve had in their existing way of working.

So mapping out a process model is important for buy-in from all those who will be affected. But even a good process can get tossed out the window if the model doesn’t convey what it’s supposed to. Depending on who created the model, the process can come across as more complex than it actually is, leading some to think the change is not worthwhile the effort. Who should create the process model? People from the IT side of the organization can be prone to inserting technology jargon and unnecessary complexity in a model as if they were presenting it to their IT peers. But a process spans multiple departments besides IT and so the model must reflect that.

Keeping a process model bare bones in the initial phases of a process change project is probably the best way to get initial interest from all parties. BPM is an iterative, agile approach so there will be future instances when the model will get revised as new problems are identified that must be fixed in the process. Later instances are where more bits can be further added to the mix.

But the process design route must also be reversible. When a change in direction is warranted down the road, can the BPM team easily trace its steps back to the model to assess its bearings? As BPM progresses from design to actual implementation, the accountability will shift from business people to IT people. So, a model, in every way, must be illustrated for both the eyes of business and IT.

Read our coverage of  ProcessWorld 2011

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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