Case Study Part 2: Process Flow Diagram Analysis

The diagram was a challenge but I will persevere!

 Well it took me longer than a week to post the results of my process flow diagram experiment and for that I apologize. I will not bore you with excuses. 

A quick recap for those who did not read Part 1 of this Case Study.  I submitted a proposal to my boss to add a process walk through conversation with the customer during the project kick-off, 2-day discovery meeting.  This meeting is currently driven almost exclusively by a question and answer tool and resulted in a very stale and stunted meeting.  My aim was to engage the customer by asking them to tell the story of their current process, which I would capture using a swim lane type model I had developed, for delivery with the Business Requirements Document. 

The pilot overall went well, however it was a challenging meeting as the customer was not engaged in the process and had provided little documentation beforehand to help me lead the discussion.  But it did achieve some of the goals I had set for the experiment, which were: 

  • Provide a framework for a free-flowing discussion.
  • Elicit requirements that are missed by the basic question & answer format.
  • Allow the diagram to be constructed as the discussion took place.

The challenges I experienced were: 

  • The customer was small and the process being described, although with many parts, was all conducted by one person.  Therefore the customer found it difficult to talk through the process in a more abstract way, linking one section to another.  This highlighted that I had designed the process with a larger customer in mind and would need to tailor it to a small company setting.
  • Creating the diagram neatly, on the fly, was difficult.  The meeting was conducted in a restaurant and I had to do the diagram just with a pad and pen.  I had not prepared for this correctly, not knowing the setting of the meeting until we arrived, and needed a portable whiteboard, or just plain paper and a pencil would have been better.  I will certainly be more prepared next time. 

I will persevere with this method however and continue to work on refining it.  My boss is still certainly on board with the idea. 

Once again it demonstrates the power of iteration, and learning from your experiences.  I will do this again at the next meeting and I will now have these lessons learnt and will start from a stronger position.  I am striving to make sure I personally review my work  and learn from my mistakes.  An internal heuristic walk-through of my work output if you will.  I must embrace my mistakes and challenging experiences and see them as a valuable part of learning. 

Thanks again for reading!

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Case Study Part 2: Process Flow Diagram Analysis