Tips and Tricks for Process Modeling in Open Text Metastorm


Open Text Metastorm ProVision® 6.2 Strategy Implementation

Open Text Metastorm ProVision® 6.2 Strategy Implementation

Create and implement a successful business strategy for improved performance throughout the whole enterprise

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Identify and engage the process owner
Tip: Identifying and engaging the process owner in the improvement process is important.

  • Unless the process owner is fully committed to process improvement, it will not happen and any attempts will be met with resistance.
  • Failure to engage a committed process owner guarantees failure to improve the process in the long term.

The people who understand the process the best are those engaged in it, either as customers, suppliers, or staff who run the process. Getting engagement from everyone who has responsibility is the best way to deliver transformation. The appreciative inquiry method is an innovative way of doing this, by engaging individuals in organizational renewal, change, and focused performance through the discovery of what is good in the organization. This leads to my second top tip.


Talk to the people who deal with errors
Tip: It is good to engage the process staff from the beginning, especially those who fix mistakes. Ensure their participation in the process improvement. They know what is necessary to fix the mistake, so they can help design to prevent mistakes from occurring.
Managers frequently do not know how work is really done. They may think they do, but in reality the work is often done other ways. Look for informal processes based on relationships and local knowledge, which are often more important and effective than the formal, documented process.

Capture the current "What" in detail but not the "How"
Tip: The two most important aspects of a process are what and how. The question of what is the information that is required to run the process has its answer as data. Whereas, the question of how is value created and enhanced has its answer as a process.

  • If the current process is broken, the new process will probably reuse the data but not the process itself. It is only necessary to model the current process at a high level.
  • Ask why at least five times to get to the root cause of the process problem.


Tips and Tricks for Process Modeling in Open Text Metastorm

Reduce moments of truth
Tip: The customer judges a process on the experience when they engage with the organization. For any given transaction, strive to limit the number of contacts with a client. Think of eBay's one-click process for ordering a book. Isn't that preferable than filling out a long form?
Seek to minimize these moments. Add value to the customer at these moments while reducing effort for them; in short simplify any process for your customers.

Reduce handoffs
Tip: Many problems occur at hand-off from one person to another. The fewer the handoffs, the less opportunity there is for delay and miscommunication.
Where handoffs are essential, you can consider parallel processing rather than sequential.

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Eliminate non-essential checking
Tip: The workflow in the following diagram shows the tea making process at Café Hopeless. There are three swim lanes, one for the customers, one for the role that makes the tea, and the third for the role that checks whether or not the tea is made properly. While the role that makes tea is normally a noun such as Tea Maker, I prefer to use the verb-noun combination make tea. This way, you do not confuse the role with position. Remember that several positions may be able to perform the role make tea.

(Move the mouse over the image to enlarge it.)

  • Checks add no perceived value to a process other than to slow it down. Develop a culture where process participants have the ability to self monitor.
  • If you have not done so already, read Steven Covey's book titled The Speed of Trust.

At Café Hopeless, the tea making process is so bad that they employ someone to check each cup of tea before it goes to the customer. If you can create a culture where everyone checks their own work, this saves time and eliminates steps that add no value.

At Café Hopeful, the process is much simpler.

By default, all activities can be allocated a property type. This is a drop-down list. If you select Value Added as the type, you can then create a property grid to see all of the activities of that type.

Tips and Tricks for Process Modeling in Open Text Metastorm

Focus on high-volume processes
Tip: It is preferable to improve a high-volume process than one that occurs less frequently because you will benefit more.

Implement the right process for right now
Tip: The process will change. Don't be concerned about the future. Allow small incremental changes to develop over time.
Look at the exception processes and try finding what causes them. Then design the process so that the exceptions do not occur in the first place—to put in a single term, simplify!

Use the 10 Enterprise Designer processes
Tip: Processes exist to deliver products and services. Ensure that all 10 processes exist and identify which is critical. Even if you don't want to use the Enterprise Designer framework, memorizing the 10 process types will be invaluable. You can look at a service and identify which of the 10 processes need attention. The others can remain out of scope. When having conversations with stakeholders, they may not appreciate the difference between two process types. This will result in scope creep. Here is a brief reminder. Notice how they fall naturally into pairs.

  • Contract (New and Quit): Processes that begin and end a contractual relationship.
  • Deliver (Help and Logistics): Processes that deliver the product and support it.
  • Explain (Inform and Market): Processes that gather and communicate information.
  • Fund (Kollect and Pay): Processes that receive and distribute revenue.
  • Get Set (Organize and Join): Processes that gather and assemble components.

Don't automate a broken process
Tip: Automation should be considered the last step.
Other than tips #1 and #2, you can use all of the tips in any sequence, but automation is always the last step. You don't want to make a bad process faster.

Bonus tip—model backwards
Tip: When talking to subject matter experts, get them to describe a process backwards. That way, they have to stop and think and are less likely to forget a step. It also encourages them to see a process from the customer's point of view as it starts with them.


This article took a look at some tips and tricks for process modelling.

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