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BPM - Key Aspects of Process Discovery Phase

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BPM - Key Aspects of Process Discovery Phase

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This article represents different aspects of process discovery phase which is key to any business process implementation project. The analogy to process discovery phase in regular software project is “requirements gathering phase”. However, it requires different approach than regular software requirements gathering phase owing to the very complexity of business process. Please feel free to comment/suggest if I missed to mention one or more important points. Also, sorry for the typos.
Following are the key points described later in this article:
  • Different aspects of process discovery
  • Key Deliverables
  • Key Stakeholders
  • Effort & time involved
Different aspects of process discovery

Following are key phase of process discovery that a process/BPM analyst go through to discover the process details:

  • Identify
  • Assess
  • Discover/Document
  • Analyze

When identifying and assessing the process, following are some of key aspects that process analyst intends to understand:

  • Pain-points: Process owners primarily find pain-points in relation with some of the following:
    • Lack of visibility of process as a whole (at times, also termed as unmanaged process)
    • Lack of automation
  • Whethar it is a short-running or a long-running process
  • Integration touch-points with internal and external applications
  • Type of data involved
  • Users/Stakeholders involved including internal (operations/IT team) and external (end users) users
  • Different tools/products involved during business process execution
  • Existing documentation/artifacts around the business process

The approach taken to understand above shall be a set of interviews with different stakeholders, thereby, recording their inputs in some document (preferably, a spreadsheet or so), digging into existing documents and exploring related applications.

Process Discovery – Key Deliverables

The output of the process discovery phase includes some of the following:

  • A detailed workflow diagram representing different steps
  • Business process description including details on some of the following:
    • Different steps of above-mentioned workflow diagram
    • Key stakeholders
    • Key integration touch-points with different applications, along with application details
    • Information on products/tools involved in the workflow
Process Discovery – Key Stakeholders

Following are different stakeholders that may get involved in the process discovery phase:

  • Process analyst
  • Process owner
  • Product/project manager
  • Operations staff
  • IT stakeholders such as technical lead/senior developer
Process Discovery – Effort & Time Required

Well, there is no science to how much time and effort would be required to complete process discovery phase. However, I have found that it takes a process/business analyst, somewhere between 4 to 8 weeks depending upon size & complexity of the business process and, more importantly, availability of resources (stakeholders and artifacts).

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