This month BPTrends launched a mini-survey to determine what readers think constitutes a business process. So far we have only had 18 respondents, and we look forward to more. Even with our initial response, however, its clear, that a few things are core and a couple of things are less likely to be included by at about a third of our readers.
Everyone agrees, for example that some kind of Input-Output specification and a description of the sequence of activities that transform inputs to putputs is part of a process analysis effort. Similarly, almost everyone agrees that branching points, actors, and decisions or business rules are part of a process. A few less people think description of data used, a description of policies, and a description of who works at each activity is a part of a process.
And fewer still think that a list of resources consumed (needed for simulation) or a description of motivational contingencies that managers reinforce are part of a process. (See my previous blog on US Air Force problems in Afghanistan to see why I think management contingencies are so important.)
Hopefully others will respond to this mini-survey and we'll get a better idea of what others think is core and simply nice to have. In the meantime, its clear that a solid majority think all of the items on our list are important — and we do as well.
Different groups or methodologies have always emphasized one aspect of process or another, but, at the end of the day, a good process analyst wants every tool in his tool box so he or she can be more likely to identify problems and deliver improved results.