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Topic - Documenting Business Processes

Page history last edited by Dr. Ron Eaglin 8 years, 5 months ago

Documenting Business Processes


Once you have determined how a business process works it is your responsibility to document the process in such a way that (1) it is easy to understand, (2) the process can be duplicated, and (3) the documentation can be used to create an SRS.


An incredibly useful document on how to document business processes is in this document from quickbooks - http://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/employees/techniques-for-documenting-your-business-processes/ . These are useful and will be discussed here. realize that not all techniques are appropriate for every type of business process.




Flowcharts, like those used for software processes are also tremendously useful for business processes. Everyone in this class should be familiar with basic flowcharting - here is some more information - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flowchart 




This may seem trivial, but many business processes can be documented with a simple list of steps to be taken. In the case where this is appropriate, this is an easy and effective method to document the process.




Encapsulation is a software term where a process that has a known input and output is treated as a black box. Drill-down is the ability to peek inside the black box to see the steps inside of it - but if the process can be rolled up and drilled down it allows for a level of simplicity in documenting a complex process. Encapsulation can be easily used with lists in a Tree Structure ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_structure ) to encapsulate steps and provide both details and summary steps.


Business Process Model Notation (BPMN)


BPMN ( http://www.bpmn.org/ ) provides a standard for documenting business process. This is an Extensible Markup Language (XML) based standard for documenting business process. The advantage here is that it is a standard and can be easily understood by any persons (or software) that know the standard. The standard follows 4 basic constructs; events, activities, gateways, and connections - these are well documented in the article at wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Process_Model_and_Notation . It is worth noting that BPMN is complex, but it is designed to handle all business process documentation needs.


Unified Modeling Language (UML)


UML is a language developed in software engineering to document software design. Because software design overlaps tremendously with business systems - UML has models that are useful in business process modeling.  You can get an overview of UML at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_Modeling_Language 


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