Model Requirement – Workflow Diagram

This week, let’s get familiar with another type of Stakeholder Requirement – Work flow Diagram. It’s a sequence flow of work such as review or approval process. Recall that the technique we will use to draw a Work flow is Process Modelling.

According to BABOK version 3, there are many types of Process Models and Notations: Flowcharts and Value Stream Mapping (VSM), Data Flow diagrams and Unified Modelling LanguageTM (UML®) diagrams, Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN), Integrated DEFinition (IDEF) notation and Input, Guide, Output, Enabler (IGOE) diagrams, and SIPOC and Value Stream Analysis. For Work flow diagram, we use Flowcharts and Value Stream Mapping (VSM) notation type (so it does not relate to UML at all!). In particular, Work flow is also known as a Flowchart or Cross-functional Flowchart.

So, why Flowchart and Cross-functional Flowchart?

A flowchart is quite simple, displaying just the sequence of activities, while a cross-functional flowchart is more comprehensive, using swimlanes. A swimlane is a partitioned area (horizontal or vertical) that segregates those activities in the process that are carried out by a particular role.

Let’s see below picture for an example of a Work flow.

Picture1

It’s quite clear that this is a Cross-functional flowchart.

There are two vertical swimlanes in this workflow (named by AM and Non-financial Reviewer – 2 particular roles/ actors in a system). When the flow of work crosses the boundary of a swimlane, responsibility for the work then passes to another role within the organization. All actions within the left swimlane are carried out by AM, while all actions within the right swimlane are performed by Non-financial Reviewer. Normally, vertical swimlanes are used to segregate activity of particular roles/ actors.

There are two horizontal swimlanes in this workflow, named by Submission and Review. They are also called “phase”. All actions in the above swimlane belong to submission phase, or they are submission actions on the other hand. All actions in the below swimlane belong to review phase, or actions a particular user do for review purpose.

The flowchart, thus, will comprise below elements:

  • Event: a zero-time occurrence which initiates, interrupts, or terminates an activity or task within a process or the process itself. In this example, it is Start point, End point.
  • Activity: Action/ Step of the process (each one is represented by a rectangle). In this example, they are Create Non-financial Segment, Submit JAP for Review, Enquire Non-financial Item, Acknowledge Non-financial Item.
  • Directional Flow: a path that indicates the logical sequence of the workflow. In general, diagrams are drawn to show the passage of time in a consistent fashion (typically in the direction that text would be read). In this example, they are arrows connected between activities.
  • Decision Point: a point in the process where the flow of work splits into two or more flows (paths), which may be mutually exclusive alternatives or parallels. In this example, it’s alternatives (Reviewer can do either acknowledgement or enquiry per time) and represented by a diamond.
  • Role: in this example, they are AM and Non-financial Reviewer.
  • Link: a connection to other process maps. In this example, there is no link. It normally happens with a complicated work flow in which many sub-work flows are required to be divided for easier understanding.

Thanks for reading!

Reference:

  1. IIBA. 2015. BABOK. Version 3.0.
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