Often, we hear, “We want to make the process better, we just don’t know how.” The secret to business process improvement isn’t (just) inviting in an expert who will magically change things. The secret is to know what your process are now so that you can change them.

Said another way, if you don’t know what your actual process is, then you won’t know if the changes you make to the process will be successful.

Often, we also hear, “We know what our process is, and we want to change it.” When we hear this, we ask for a diagram or explanation of the process and it’s rarely forthcoming. When we dig just a little bit deeper, it becomes apparent that there is disagreement on what the process is.

The process for domain modeling is very similar to process for business process modeling. Instead of focusing on activities, we focus on the “things” in those activities.

What is the goal of business process modeling?

With business process modeling, we uncover what the current tasks in the process are, who is doing the tasks, when the handoffs occur, and what the result is. Collaborating on this is a great way to get input from everyone and highlight inconsistencies.

Who do we talk to regarding the business process?

We find the right stakeholders and ask them what they do until we’ve exhausted the process. Stakeholder engagement during the business process modeling phase most likely engages different stakeholders than when we are trying to uncover business goals and risks. Stakeholders who know the business process are those doing the process: they aren’t necessarily managers or executives.

These stakeholders could be in these following areas:

  • Content Management
  • Programmers and Database Administrators
  • User Experience
  • BI and Analytics
  • Governance
  • Support and Helpdesk
  • Frontline Workers
  • And anyone else who is involved in the process

How do we go through the modeling process?

Naturally, there’s a process for the process!

We start with a kickoff meeting for all of those involved to explain the process and timeline. On our projects, one of the most asked questions is “How does the process work?” Typically, people haven’t gone through a similar process or don’t know the jargon. This kickoff is a way to level-set for all people involved so they know what we’re doing, when we’re doing it, and what their involvement will be.

After the kickoff, we do one-on-one interviews to ask people how they are involved in the process. These interviews are also a way to build rapport. And we can get into much more detail either in this interview or subsequent interviews.

One-on-one interviews are crucial for discovering the detail. Some people may not feel comfortable speaking up in a group to provide contradictory commentary. Plus, getting nitty gritty detail on process is very hard in a group setting where multiple people are talking at once!

After the interviews, we collate our findings and bring stakeholders together to review diagrams. Collaboration naturally happens. In this collaboration, we find things that we want to know about, things that can change, and things that need further clarification.

In this modeling process, you will figure out what is not working for you. You can identify what you’re able to change and what you need more help with. Knowing your current process and its problems allows you to make targeted and effective changes.