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“Shelley worked with a cross-functional team and designed a client team approach with enabled us to integrate client strategies from multiple perspectives. Already we have seen results in the marketplace: one customer said that the team approach was critical and instrumental in their decision to sign an ongoing contract. Another prospect said that the strategic team approach was a differentiator in the market place which set the company apart from its larger competitors.”

Dale Brown
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing


How to Get Executives Engaged in BPM Analysis

“The process model is boring–just so many rectangles and diamonds.” That’s pretty much what executives say if you show them a process model that is 20-100 steps. They will be impressed by its length and they are likely to say, “Wow that process is pretty complicated. I can see why it takes so long.”

They will look at this complicated current state model once, voice their appreciation to the team that constructed it, and that’s the end of the conversation. But if you make the model a Visual Analysis Model they will ask questions, give you their opinion, and want to know more.

Of course you and the business process improvement team have to do a bit of work to turn the current state diagram into a Visual Analysis model. Start with the current state model (in BPMN or your standard modeling tool) and add icons and data to it. Early data you will be collecting are baseline measures and input from the customer. The team can put these on a white board or butcher paper large display of the current state model manually. (I prefer noting them on the swim lane over the high level model as it allows more specificity and detail.) You can also notate them on an electronic model using your modeling tool or bpm suite. Either way the point is to show this information on the current state diagram with icons and numerical data.

Then you can add other visual analysis symbols and information to your diagram. You can add wastes and characterize them by letter with a hyperlink to a phrase giving the specific sample, diagnostic data that the team is collecting to provide information about size of gaps or to lead to root cause analysis. You can add information from other analytical techniques such at frequency and level of risks, number of handoffs or approvals, a notched time line to show process time and wait time for steps and in between steps.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are some pictures using the simple ‘on paper’ visual analysis and also electronic formats built in software. I prefer to build them on large butcher so the business process improvement teams can get up and gather together to create them; this method provides a collaborative engaging team analysis and visualization. At the same time you can have them documented on line as well, and then show the legend. Or, if you are doing it at various locations, you have to show them electronically so all can see.

Example 1

SJS and visual analysis manual 2015-10-14 at 6.37.37 PM


Example 2

Roelosf Vis Analysis BPM A 2015-10-14 at 6.41.23 PM


Example 3

Judy Sterm BPm B Vis Analysis at 6.43.55 PM


There are now several online tools that make it easy to build visual analysis diagrams/pictures. And the popular Design concept is using visuals as a creative device to capture wordy procedures and draw the understanding of the current way or a future state diagram. See the examples in the two links below.

Visualization for Big Data

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 9.57.53 AM

Visualization of Concepts in Legal Design

Legal visualization Shot 2015-10-14 at 12.02.27 PM


Pictures entice and focus executives, and encourage dialog, collaboration, and deeper thinking. Pictures intrigue many of us and allow us to show things instead of making lists and writing words. Which ones do you use in your work now and which ones would you like to use?

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4 comments to How to Get Executives Engaged in BPM Analysis

  • Orlanda Lopez

    As an attorney I am accustomed to written analysis using words but with Executives this is not an effective way to get their attention. The current state model of our contracts process was incredibly helpful. However, it wasn’t until I added data and other information such as pain points to the diagram that the story really unfolded. It made it easier to understand the process. The visualization of the analysis of the contracts process was much more powerful than using just text.

  • Holly Hugdahl

    When I was a technical writer, we used a documentation methodology that addressed the three different learning styles: Visual, Kenesthetic, and Auditory. This helped to insure that we were communicating to the end user in their preferred language, making our user manuals much more effective. The above examples incorporate all three of these learning styles, as well, making them a very effective tool for drawing people in, and engaging them in the process.

  • Shanzay Sheikh

    I have been able to get executives interested in process alignment by presenting different granularities of the process starting with L0 and going all the way to L4. Each executive wants to go into different levels of granularity so I try to cater to their specific style.

  • Moe Nada

    In my role, I met many CxOs for various purposes (strategy formulation, commercial negotiations, managerial discussions…etc.)

    From my experience, I think the key common successful outcome of all these meetings is choosing the right communication model. Some CxOs like facts more than anything else, others like visual analysis as mentioned in the post, others like theme based meetings that focus on only one them regardless of the process details.

    So, I believe a data gathering activity before stepping into any CxO’s meeting room is the most important thing to do…data about business, the process and everything else. If the presenter can have pre-meeting or requirements gathering discussion with CxO that is even better, the idea here is to collect as much information as possible to address this CxO needs in a way that he/she likes to see

    Majority of CxOs like only to have a macro focus and like only to speak about strategic directions and KPIs leaving the details to be handled by their subordinates. Others (which are bit minority) like to see details and go micro with the presenter, this is yet another approach.

    I think you cannot go wrong with visual and simplified visual analysis as explained in the post; however, you must be ready with details and show them as per the nature of CxO/executive you are dealing with to achieve a maximum outcome out of this meeting! thanks for the great article!

    Thank you!

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