“Process Modeling Style” By John Long; Elsevier / Morgan Kaufmann

Process models are typically used within businesses to document existing processes and procedures or as a mechanism for designing process improvements and enhancements, such as automation or consolidation of processes across departments. There are many tools and methods for creating process models which can lead to workflow models that are difficult to understand and incompatible with models created using different tools or across different projects. Little attention may be given to best practices such as consistent notation, terminology, and explanatory descriptions. This book seeks to provide a guide to best practices and style to create process architectures that are easy to understand and consistent across an organisation from the experiences of an experienced process architect.

The book starts with an introduction to why there is a need to provide a book on style for process modelling and goes on to discuss the most significant common mistakes made in process modelling. An overview is provided on some alternative notations available and some of the appropriate pros and cons of these different methods, covering flowcharts, LOVEM, Uses Cases, UML, IDEF0, and with a preference for Business Process Modelling Notation. The following chapters provide more background into process modelling including the goals, how to define the different elements of the models and what should be included, process structures and the components of workflows, and fixing bad workflows. Chapters are also provided on best practices such as naming and identifier conventions, connections and relationships, roles, other useful process documents, and tools. The final chapter discusses how to choose which style elements are most appropriate for your team.

The text is illustrated with example process diagrams and workflows showing examples of both good and bad designs. An appendix is also provided with information about a number of ISO standards that include requirements for processes, including ISO 9001.

This isn’t a particularly well written book. There are aspects of the writing style, frequent repetition, and other inconsistencies that are a little irritating (to a writer anyway). Even though the book is about style it could have benefited from a little more explanation about how to do the process modelling and the diagrams included could have been annotated to make it clearer what the terminology used in the text was referring to.

The book does, however, do the job that it says it will, in terms of providing suggestions about style and best practices for process modelling and workflows. If you are already familiar with process modelling then this book provides some useful suggestions on what to make sure you have covered and how to make your workflows consistent across an organisation.

For more information, see the O’Reilly product page.

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