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Designing Process Models to Support Communication

When seeking to re-design business processes to improve operational efficiency, revenue and/or compliance, or when seeking to build IT-based systems to support the execution of organizational processes, organizations use graphical documentations of their business processes – so called process models. These models act as blueprints of organizational processes, and are a key tool for making decisions about where, how and why changes to the processes should be enacted to warrant improved operational efficiency, cost reductions or increased compliance.

Any (re-) design decision made on the basis of process models is susceptible to the quality of these models. A process model that documents a business process in an incomplete, incorrect, cumbersome or otherwise deficient manner will not convey the information about the business domain to the decision maker such that a good decision can be facilitated. When creating process models, therefore, business analysts require principles that guide them in conceiving graphical representations of business processes that are understandable (useful, intuitive and accurate) to the stakeholders working with these models. This is important because any application of process models, for tasks such as organizational documentation, process re-design, workflow specification, software development or others, requires firstly that the involved stakeholders reach a effective and efficient common understanding about the business domain.

Selected Publications

  • Figl, K., Recker, J., Mendling, J. (2013): A Study on the Effects of Routing Symbol Design on Process Model Comprehension. Decision Support Systems, Vol. 54, No. 2, pp. 1104-1119.
  • Mendling, J., Strembeck, M., Recker, J. (2012): Factors of Process Model Comprehension – Findings from a Series of Experiments. Decision Support Systems, Vol. 53, No.1, pp. 195-206.
  • Recker, J., Dreiling A. (2011): The Effects of Content Presentation Format and User Characteristics on Novice Developers Understanding of Process Models. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, Vol. 28, No. 6, pp. 65-84.