20 Apr Map at what level of activity?
It is easy to say ‘map processes at the activity level’ but what level is this?
In practice an activity can be defined at anywhere between almost a sub-process level, at what we normally mean by an activity level, and at a level that is barely above tasks level, the only difference being that no ‘how to’ is attached to the activity otherwise it would be a task.
How can you tell what level you are at? I find that defining activities at the generally accepted activity level will result in a map that can fit onto one or two pages, whereas at a low level the process stretches across multiple pages.
So which is right?
My experience is that the AS IS and TO be should be defined at the higher activity level as this avoids the trap of loosing sight of the wood for the trees and only realising marginal improvements for the TO BE. This is because people are less likely to focus on what they do (which is at task level), and are more likely to think of radical improvements. So, significant process innovation is much more likely if the analysis is done at a higher level.
If the AS IS has been done at a lower level, because people really want to explain the intricacies they have to cope with, is this a waste of time? Well, you will still need to move the discussion up to the higher level but when you have finished the AS IS, TO BE and any SYSTEM design (the TO BE modified to maximise use of a BPMS and/or functionality provided by existing enterprise applications) at the higher level you will progress to defining the procedure and business requirements. These will be developed at the task level, and at this time the insight from the more detailed AS IS will enable this to be done more quickly. So overall not much time will be wasted and the key people who do the work will feel they have been properly listened to and are more likely to ‘let go’ of current practice and focus on getting the best improvements.