In this post I want to share a moment of process discovery and modeling from a project we are involved in.
We are supporting a regional project with process discovery and modeling to help them identify requirements for configuration and integration of medical support systems in surgery processes.
Besides being important and fun and all of that, we also get to validate the architecture deliverables and guidelines we are developing for the practice; Win-Win!
We use an approach inspired by Alec Sharp, described in his book Workflow Modeling, to discover processes in patient paths involving surgery.
It is heavy on guidelines for identifying the right process boundaries and hand over points which helps avoiding subsequent inconsistencies and problems later on.
This is mixed with an iterative and agile method to develop process, information and application architecture models and so far it has worked well!
Modeling versus drawing
Significant modelling time is spent in Post-it mode (collaborative wall and white board sessions) to identify as many issues as possible together with process actors and stakeholders. The agreed upon work flow is then transferred into a process model (BPMN notation) and integrated with other models stored in an architecture repository. This is a documenting exercise that is technical in nature and is best done in a separate session by a modeller.
Why not just use a standard drawing tool for visualizing the processes and be done with it?
Going through the extra work of integrating business processes with information and application models enables us to identify and visualize sub-optimal use of IT in a process, e.g. duplicated functionality or incoherent use of information. This helps reduce risk for patients and increase usability. For an ideal situation these potential benefits can quite easily be identified by following an architecture development method.
But then, of course, there’s reality;
In which separate, but functionally overlapping, systems are in different stages of implementation by different projects, -making global design decisions as they go in order to reach deadlines. This demands a delicate preciseness to modelling and a pragmatic method to ensure the benefits of modeling can be derived.
But how we deal with that is a candidate for a future post I think,
so stay aligned!