Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 10

UnderstandingBusinessProcesses

ByBenBGraham
President
TheBenGrahamCorporation
Copyright 2004, The Ben Graham Corporation. All rights reserved.
Permissionisgrantedtopost,printanddistributethisdocumentinitsoriginalPDFformat.

Processchartsprovideabaselineforprocessimprovementandareexcellenttrainingtools
iftheyincludeenoughdetailtosupportcommonsensedecisions.TheGrahamprocess
chartingmethodologywasinitiallydevelopedoverahalfcenturyagotohelppeople
analyzebusinessprocesses.Grahamchartsclearlyidentifythedocumentsinaprocess
thevalueaddedpointswheredataismanipulatedthereportsthataregeneratedandthe
peopleinvolved.Withthisinformationathand,currentprocessescanbeanalyzedin
detail.Grahamchartsareasolidtoolforincrementalchangeandapowerful
enhancementtomajorchangeeffortshelpingimprovementteamsensurethatreal
requirementsarebuiltintonewprocessesandunnecessarydata,flow,workiskeptout.

In1944,BenSGrahamSr.attendedAllenMogensensWorkSimplification
ConferenceinLakePlacidNewYork.Theworkshopwasanintensive6week
programthatimmerseddelegatesinthephilosophyandtoolsofwork
simplification.Astheonlydelegatewhosebackgroundwasnotin
manufacturing,Grahamtooktheworksimplificationtoolsandmethodsbackto
hisemployer,TheStandardRegisterCompany,andproceededtoadaptthemto
thestudyofinformationprocesses.

Worksimplificationisdefinedastheorganizedapplicationofcommonsense.It
isablendoftechniqueandteamwork.Theorganizationisprovidedbyasolid
toolsetwithrigidmethodology.Thecommonsenseisprovidedbyteamsof
peoplewhodothework.Worksimplificationputsthetoolsetintothehandsof
thepeoplewhoaremostknowledgeableaboutthework,therebytappinginto
theorganizationsmostvaluableresourcethefirsthandexperienceofits
people.Worksimplificationprovidesuswiththetoolsandmethodstostudy
andunderstandourbusinessprocesses.

Simplytalkingaboutprocessesisntunderstandingthem.Lookingatthemfrom
10,000feetisntgoingtocutitIfwereadthroughproceduresandtalktothe
managersandsupervisorsabouttheprocesses,wearegaininganunderstanding
thatisatleastonestepfromreality.Ifwedocumentprocessesusingthis
information,thedocumentationwillnotreflectreality.Tounderstandour
Understanding Business Processes

www.worksimp.com www.processchart.com

processes,weneedtwothingstherightinformationandagoodtoolfor
capturinganddisplayingprocessdetail.

TherightinformationisintheheadsofthePEOPLEWHODOTHEWORKthe
peoplewho,dayinanddayout,arelivingtheprocessthatyouwantto
document.Itistheaccumulatedexperiencespecifictotheprocessthatyouwant
tochart.ThesepeopleknowWHATHAPPENSintheirpartoftheprocessbetter
thananyoneelsebecauseitiswhattheydo.Theyknowwhatappearstomake
senseintheprocessandwhatappearstobenonsenseintheprocess.Theyknow
howtomaketheirpieceoftheprocessworkandhowtogetarounditwhenit
doesntwork.

Therighttoolshouldprovideclaritywithoutbeingoverlysimplistic.Itshould
providedetailwithoutclutter.Itshouldbeeasytouseandeasytounderstand.
Therearealotofflowchartingtoolsthatprovidesymbolsets.Butifthesymbols
arenotwrappedinamethodology,thenthecharterhastoinventone.
(Collectingthedata,stringingthesymbolstogether,handlingreworkunusual
situations)Fortunately,theworksimplificationchartingmethodhasmade
thiseasywithasmall,wellthoughtoutsymbolsetandmethodologythat
provideselegantstructuretotheominoustaskofprocesscharting.Thefactthat
theworksimplificationsymbolsetwasadoptedastheANSIandASME
standardsforProcessChartingfiftyyearsagoistestimonytoitsfundamental
simplicity.Ithasflowedthroughahalfcenturyofnewtechnologiesand
constantlychangingprocesseswiththegraceofanalphabetbecauseitis
fundamental.Itisbasic.Itgetstotherootofourprocesses.Itspeaksthe
languageofprocess.

ProcessChartFormat
Grahamprocesschartsflowlefttoright.Theydisplayallofthemajoritemsina
process.Anitemisalwayssomethingphysical.Itissomethingyoucansee.
Thisincludeselectronicfiles,email,documents,diskettes,CDs,databases,log
books,referencebooks,etc.EachItemischartedasaseparateflowlinethatis
identifiedwithalabelatthebeginningoftheline.

Figure1showsthehorizontalnatureofaGrahamchart.Evenatthistinyscale,it
isclearthatthereare15differentitemsinvolvedinthisprocessincludingone
itemthatisseparatedintofouritems.Mostchartingmethodologiesdonotcome
closetoprovidingthislevelofdetailinasinglepicture.Thepointofprocess
flowchartingistoprovideavisualrepresentationoftheprocessincludingeach
itemintheprocess.
Understanding Business Processes

www.worksimp.com www.processchart.com

Figure1:Horizontalflowofadetailprocesschart.

Processchartsshowtheinterrelatedflowsofmanyitemswithaveeshaped
conventionscalledEffects.Relationshipsbetweenitemstiethepiecesofthe
process(allthedifferentitems)together.Theserelationshipsshowwhen
informationononeitemisusedtocausesomethingtohappentoanotheritem.

Bracketsshowwhenitemsarecombinedorseparated.Whenafourpartformis
separatedintofourindividualitems,anopeningbracketisusedtoshowasingle
flowlinesplittingintofourseparateflowlines.Eachofthefournewflowlines
beginswithalabelforidentification.

Figure2showsasectionofachartthatincludesanumberofdifferentitems
involvedinapatentingprocess.Newprocesslinesareintroducedwhenthe
PatentDatabaseisaccessed,whentheInternationalInstructionSheetisprinted
fromthePatentdatabase,andwhentheActivitiesScreenisdisplayed.Anew
lineisalsointroducedfortheInternationalApplicationCoverSheetthatis
created.EverylinebeginswithaLabel.Everyactionthatoccursonanitemline
ishappeningtotheitemidentifiedintheLabel.Alltheitemsaretiedtogether
withEffectsThereceiptoftheDocketfoldercausesthePatentsDatabasetobe
accessedandthedocketnumberthatisenteredcomesfromthedocketfolder

Understanding Business Processes

www.worksimp.com www.processchart.com

Figure2:ALabelIdentifiesEachItem.
Symbols
Actionsandnonactionstepsareindicatedbysymbolslaidoutinsequencealong
eachflowline.Eachsymbolincludesafewwordstocompletethedescriptionof
whatishappeningtotheitematthatstep.Periodsofnonactivityarecaptured
usingtheDelaysymbol.

Processcharts,displaywhatpeopledo,stepbystep,totheitemsinaprocess.
Theflowlinesrepresenttheitemsandthesymbolsrepresenttheactions.Each
itemisdistinctandeachstepisdistinctsothereislittleconfusionaboutjustwhat
ishappeningateverypointintheprocess.

Four basic symbols represent doing work (the


Handle symbol), checking work (the
Inspection symbol), moving work from one
location to another (the Transportation
symbol) and nothing happening (the
Delay/Storagesymbol).

Fouradditionalsymbolsrepresentvariationsofdoingwork.Thefourvariations
of doing work include three variations of valueadded work and a symbol
representing destruction or termination. The valueadded symbols are the Do
symbol for manufacturing processes and the Originate and Add/Alter symbols
forinformationprocesses.Thatsit!Eightsymbols.

Thisoutstandingsetisanalogoustoanalphabetornumbersystem.Thesymbols
aremutuallyexclusive,comprehensiveanduniversallyapplicable.

Conventions
ThewordConventionreferstotheconventionalwaystolabelanddrawthelines
thatconnecttheSymbols.Therearealsoconventionsthatdontrelatedirectlyto
theprocessflow,butsimplyprovideclaritytothechart.

LabelandLine
AbasicprocessflowisrepresentedwithahorizontallinebeginningwithaLabel.
Thelineisdrawnlefttorighttodisplayflow.Thereaderfollowsthemovement
ofitemsthroughaprocessbyreadingthechartfromlefttoright.Labelsidentify
theitemsthatflowthroughtheprocess.

Understanding Business Processes

www.worksimp.com www.processchart.com

Documentingaprocessalmostalwaysrequireschartingtheflowofmorethan
oneitem.ThefollowingConventionsshowinterrelationshipsbetweenmultiple
flowlines:
Effect
Aneffectshowsarelationshipbetweentwoitems.Oneitemprovides
informationthatcausessomethingtohappentotheotheritem.
Brackets
Bracketsshowthephysicalgatheringorseparatingofmultipleitems.Theymay
alsobeusedtoshowlogicalgroupingsofmultipleitemsthroughalternative
processingpaths.OpeningBracketsshowtheseparationofitems.Closing
Bracketsshowthegatheringofitems.

ThefollowingConventionsareusedinindividualflowlines:
Alternative
Sometimesanitemreachesapointintheprocesswhereadecisionmustbemade
andtheitemwillincludetheinformationneededtodeterminewhichpathto
follow.ThatpointintheprocessiscalledaDecisionPoint.Itisdisplayedasa
small,solidblackcircleandalwayshastwoormorealternativepathscontinuing
outofittotheright.
Correction/Rejection
ACorrectionorRejectionisaspecialcaseofalternativethatfollowsan
inspectionandisrepresentedwithadottedline.
Rejoin
ARejoinsimplybringsalternativepathsbackintoasingleline.

ThefollowingConventionsarefeaturesthataddclaritytoachart:
ConnectorLabel
AConnectorLabelattheendofalineiscalledaGotoConnectorandindicates
thatprocessingcontinueseitheronanotherchartorsomewhereonthesame
chart.TheGotoConnectorreferencesaTargetConnector.TheTarget
ConnectoristypicallyatthebeginningofashortlinesegmentthatusesaRejoin
intoanotherlinetoshowwheretheprocessingcontinues.
Stop/Start
AStop/Startisusedtoindicateasectionofprocessingthathasbeenintentionally
leftoutofachart.
Period
APeriodisusedonprocesslinesthesamewaythatitisusedinasentence;it
markstheendoftheline.
Bypass
ABypassisusedtoeliminateconfusionatcrossedlines.
Understanding Business Processes

www.worksimp.com www.processchart.com


Thelabelisthesubjectandthesymbolsareverbstheactions.Theprocesschart
speaksthelanguageofprocess.Allweneedareafewwordsofplainlanguage
textassociatedwitheachLabel,SymbolandAlternativebranchandANYBODY
canreadit!

Choosingtherightwords
Withjustafewwordsassociatedwitheachsymbol,thereadercanunderstand
whatishappening,wheretheworkisoccurring,whoisdoingtheworkandhow
longittakestocomplete.Therightwordsarepresentedbyansweringafew
basicquestions.Basicjournalismclassesteachthattowriteacompletestoryyou
needtoansweraspecificsetofquestions.Thequestionsareoftenexpressedin
anorderthatseemstorolloffthetonguenaturallywho,what,when,where,
whyandhow.Thesearethesamequestionsthatareusedindefiningand
analyzingbusinessprocesses,buttheyarenottreatedequally.Indefininga
process(developingtheasischart),themostimportantquestiontoansweris
whatishappening?ThenextsetofquestionsarealsoimportantWhodoes
thework?Whereisitdone?AndWhenisitdone?Detailastohowtheworkis
doneisnotasimportantandthequestionWhyisthisstepdone?shouldbe
avoidedduringdatacollection.

GatheringtheFacts
Armedwithaclipboard,apencilandfamiliaritywiththeprocesssymbolsand
conventions,yougototheworklocationandobservetheprocess.Always
gatherdatafromthepersonwhoisthetopauthorityintheorganizationwith
respecttothatdata,thatis,thepersondoingthework,andtreatthatpersonwith
therespectdueatopauthority.

Walkthepaththateachprocessfollowswithaclipboardinhand
Observemorethanoneworkcycleandworkerwhenapplicablebutdonttryto
charteveryvariation
RepresentaNORMALworkcycle
WorkquicklyusethechartingSymbolsasanotetakingshorthand
Bemethodicalfollowandliststepsinorder
Donttrustdetailtomemory,writeitdown
Clarifyuncertaintieserrtothesideoftoomuchinformation
Beaccurateandlegiblesothedatacanbeaudited/reviewed
Dontlookforfaults
Oncecharted,walkthepathagainforverification

Understanding Business Processes

www.worksimp.com www.processchart.com

Observe&interview
Respectworkschedulesandjobrelatedinterruptions
Assumetheroleoffactfinderthepeoplearetheexperts
Makesurepeopleunderstandwhatyouaredoingandwhytheyareinvolved
becausetheyaretheexperts
Observe&interviewthepeoplewhodothework,notmanagers
Observe&interviewattheworkarea
Getfactsprimarilyfromobservationpeoplecanusuallyshowyoufasterthan
theycandescribe
Demonstrationismuchclosertorealitythanwords
Sticktosimplyidentifyingstepsandavoiddetailofhowstepsareperformed
thissavesanenormousamountoftime

Documentthefacts
NoteWHATisdoneateachstep
NoteWHEREtheworkislocatedatthestartoftheprocessandwitheach
transportationnotewhereitgoes
NoteWHENtheprocessbeginsandtheamountoftimewitheachdelayaswell
asanyothertimeconsumingsteps
NoteWHOisdoingtheworkeachtimethepersondoingtheworkchanges
AvoidgettingintodetailofHOWeachstepisperformedanswerstotheother
questionsprovideuswithenoughdetailtoidentifythestepsforanalysis.For
mostactivities,HOWisimplied(writtenwithapen,keyedonakeyboard)by
theactivityandtheitem(Label)involved.Insomecases,HOWcanfillpages
andstillnotbeadequate(adoctorcompletingapatientsrecord).Inthesecases,
whateverdetailisneededisacquiredduringanalysisbyhavingthedoctor
present.
SaveWHYforanalysis

Organizethefactswithaprocessflowchart
Charttheitemsoftheprocessashorizontallines
EachitemlinebeginswithaLabelforidentification
EachworkstepisidentifiedbyaSymbolthatrepresentswhathappenstothe
itematthatpointintheprocess
TheSymbolsappearinsequencealongtheitemlines

Understanding Business Processes

www.worksimp.com www.processchart.com

ExampleCreditCardPayattheCounterProcess
Withaclipboardinhand,followthecreditcardthroughtheprocess.
Thevehiclepullsuptothepump.Thecreditcardisinthedriverswallet.Thedrivergetsoutof
thevehicleandwalksovertothepump.Thecardcontinuestositinthedriverswalletwhilethe
gasispumped.Afterthegasispumped,thedriverwalkstotheofficeandremovesthecredit
cardfromthewallet.Thedriverhandsthecardovertothestationclerkwhoswipesitthrougha
reader.Thecreditcardisverifiedbythecardreader.Thecardisplacewithapurchasesliponan
imprinterandanimprintofthecardismadeonapurchaseslip.Thecardishandedbacktothe
driverwhoplacesitbackinthewallet.Thepurchaseslipisfilledinbytheclerk,andthen
handedtothedriverforsignature.Thedriversignsthepurchaseslip,removesthecustomercopy
andhandstheestablishmentcopybacktotheclerk.Thedriverplacesthecustomercopyofthe
purchaseslipinthewallet,returnstothevehicleanddrivesaway.
Thefollowingtablerepresentsthenotesthatwouldbecapturedduringobservation
OBSERVATION

Credit Card

Other Items

The vehicle pulls up to the pump. The credit card is in the driver's wallet.
The driver gets out of the vehicle and walks over to the pump.
The card continues to sit in the wallet while the gas is pumped
After the gas is pumped, the driver walks to the office.
The driver removes the credit card from the wallet.
The driver hands the card over to the station clerk.
The card is swiped through a reader by the clerk.
The credit card is verified by the card reader.
The card is place with a purchase slip on an imprinter.
An imprint of the card is made on the purchase slip.
The card is handed back to the driver.
The driver replaces the card in the wallet. The purchase slip is filled in by the clerk.
The purchase slip is handed to the driver for signature.
The driver signs the purchase slip.
The driver removes the customer copy of the purchase slip.
The driver hands the establishment copy back to the clerk.
The driver places the customer copy of the purchase slip in the wallet.
The driver returns to the vehicle and drives away.

Understanding Business Processes

www.worksimp.com www.processchart.com

Begin the chart with a label that identifies the item.

Add the symbols, left to right, in the order they occur.

When a second item, the purchase slip, is introduced in the process, a second Label is drawn and
a second line is begun. The Credit Card line (below the Purchase Slip line) provides the first
transaction information to the Purchase Slip (the card number and detail that is imprinted on the
Slip)so there is an effect from the Credit Card line into an origination symbol on the Purchase
Slip line. The Credit Card provides information that is used to prepare a Purchase Slip.

and when the purchase slip is separated into two parts, the purchase slip line separated into two
lines (with an opening bracket) and both lines start with a Label. The Labels no longer just
identify the purchase slip, but identify the specific parts of the purchase slip (Establishment Copy
and Customer Copy). The Customer Copy is placed with the Credit Card (the bottom line) in the
wallet (with a closing bracket) and they continue through the process together as a single line.

Understanding Business Processes

www.worksimp.com www.processchart.com

ManagingOurProcesses
Aswechartmoreandmoreprocesses,weneedtoconsiderhowwearegoingto
manageourprocessesandourprocesscharts.Aprocesschartlibrarywillhelp
us:
providebusinessprocesstransparency
satisfyregulatoryrequirements(SarbanesOxley)
satisfycertificationrequirements(ISO)
supportaudits
andwillserveasafoundationforcontinuousimprovement.

ForaProcessLibraryandcontinuousimprovementprogramtosurvive,they
mustbeincorporatedintothebusinesscultureandbecomeawayoflife.This
requiresgenuinesupportandencouragementfrommanagement,realperceived
valueinthemindsoftheoperatingpeopleandsolidtrainingwithclear
expectation.Whentheworkmakessenseandthepeopleunderstandwhatthey
arecontributingtotheorganization,attitudestendtobeupbeatandinnovation
thrives.Goodtrainingcancontributetoagoodprocesslibraryandagood
processlibrarycanhelpbuildagoodtrainingprogram,soletsnudgethe
momentuminthatdirection!

Fundamentalrootsofsystemmanagementcanbetracedbacknearly2500years
whenConfuciusofferedthefollowinginsights

MancanmakeSystemgreat.ItisntSystemthatmakesmangreat.

Toexpectaccomplishmentwithoutproperadvisementisridiculous.

Reference
BenBGraham,DetailProcessCharting:SpeakingtheLanguageofProcess(John
Wiley&Sons,2004)
Understanding Business Processes

www.worksimp.com www.processchart.com