Thursday, May 15, 2008

Process Documentation

There are two basic audiences for process documentation:
  1. Process Engineers (those who define and document the processes) and
  2. Practitioners (those who have to follow the processes).
The process engineers are very interested in the overall process architecture, inputs/outputs, interfaces, etc. In contrast, the practitioners simply want to know exactly what they have to do in order to get their jobs done. When you read the purpose of Organizational Process Description (OPD), one of the key messages is establishing and maintaining a USABLE set of processes and process assets. Therefore, in order for your processes and process assets to be usable by the practitioners, it doesn’t help if you provide them all of the process architecture, inputs/outputs, interfaces, etc. that the process engineers need and want. The simplest approach that I have seen for the practitioners is to provide a “swim lane” process flow chart. Then it is very easy for the practitioner to see where they fit into the process. Also providing good, as well as bad, examples of how a template or checklist should be filled out is also a good idea.

But keep in mind, that an approach that works in one organization for achieving “buy-in” may not work in another. You really need to work with the organization and jointly determine the best method for the organization. If most of the practitioners, for example, do not relate to visual process flows, then the “swim lane” approach may not work.

3 comments:

Lucas Rodriguez Cervera said...

"When you read the purpose of Organizational Process Description (OPD), one of the key messages is establishing and maintaining a USABLE set of processes and process assets."

Hi,

I am very interested in anything related to process documentation, and the "Organizational Process Description" sounds interesting. I've googled it but it seems that there's not a lot of information available in the Internet ¿do you know whre can I find more information about OPD?

Kind regards,
Lucas

Henry Schneider said...

Dear Lucas,
I am guessing from your question that you may be unfamiliar with the Software Engineering Institute's (SEI's)Capability Maturity Model (CMM) and Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)process improvement models. The CMM was released in the early 90s and the CMMI in 2000. The CMMI replaced the CMM in 2005. Both models have a Process Area called Organizational Process Definition. There are three primary means by which you can learn more information about OPD.

1. You can download a copy of the CMMI from the SEI's web site http://www.sei.cmu.edu/cmmi/models/
This is the best place to read about OPD.
2. Attend the SEI's Introduction to CMMI 3-day course to learn more about OPD and process improvement.
3. Consult with a CMMI Lead Appraiser.

Please visit my web site at http://www.ppqc.net for more information about the CMMI, training, and consulting.

Best Regards,
Henry

Henry Schneider said...

Dear Lucas,
I am guessing from your question that you may be unfamiliar with the Software Engineering Institute's (SEI's)Capability Maturity Model (CMM) and Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)process improvement models. The CMM was released in the early 90s and the CMMI in 2000. The CMMI replaced the CMM in 2005. Both models have a Process Area called Organizational Process Definition. There are three primary means by which you can learn more information about OPD.

1. You can download a copy of the CMMI from the SEI's web site
This is the best place to read about OPD.
2. Attend the SEI's Introduction to CMMI 3-day course to learn more about OPD and process improvement.
3. Consult with a CMMI Lead Appraiser.

Please visit my web site at for more information about the CMMI, training, and consulting.

Best Regards,
Henry