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flowcharting - UML and/or others

 
#1 flowcharting - UML and/or others
08/02/2010 09:27

Mari

Hi,

I'm a business consultant in Romania. My current activity is implementation of ISO Standards and some BPM implementation. These days, one of my customer told me that flowcharts I make (based on UML language similar to Microsoft Visio) are to rough, to cold and to repulsive to be studied by his employees. My question is: what other modeling language to use (or what software) in order to be able create some more human/friendly flowcharts?

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#2 RE: flowcharting - UML and/or others
08/02/2010 12:25

Mr Cool to Mari (#1)

Mari,

I’m not a UML-guy myself, but have been on the end of a few UML presentations of new systems/processes, etc. Generally the problem with UML is that it can support definition to a very low-level of detail, but does not always “bring the processes to life” for normal business users, who have no UML training. It also captures some of the requirements in the syntax of the method, not just the content, which can be lost on non-UML folks.

Often I suggest that analysts continue their UML work (it will be very useful for software builds and detailed process implementation, defining training requirements, etc), but also work on some PowerPoint based “use cases” or “scenarios” that capture a single moment, or customer journey, or user experience. If the project has a software build component, then it can be useful to mock up some screen shots (even if they are also in PowerPoint!) – many business users find it easier to understand a system by following a sequence of screens.

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#3 RE: flowcharting - UML and/or others
09/02/2010 07:18

gunslinger to Mari (#1)

the issue may not be UML but rather your depiction of UML.

UML is designed to be high level and easy to understand by business users. Generate 'Business' Use cases- i.e. in one page or so, just high level tasks that are performed ( use cases- verbs) by certain nouns ( actors). Keep it high level and simple in the first instance. It can then be drilled down into a finer level fo detail.

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#4 RE: flowcharting - UML and/or others
09/02/2010 11:21

Mari to gunslinger (#3)

This is a problem because their employees were not capable to understend their low level detail flowcharts for about 2-3 years. Now, finally, top management understood that procedures may be used as tool not just as pictures. So I drew more detailed procedures but with no increased interest for people. Now I want to make the flowchart more detaild and, in same time, more atractive, human friendly etc.

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#5 RE: flowcharting - UML and/or others
09/02/2010 14:24

Cynic to Mari (#4)

Just remove 75% of the words, use a pretty font and put some colourful 3D shading on each flowchart. Use a nice thick line between each box and make sure each flowchart fits neatly onto an A4 piece of paper. Remove any references to database fields and that kind of thing. This technique does the trick 99% of the time in situations like this (i.e. ones where people don't appreciate the importance or can't be bothered with detail). Keep it simple - remember, 90% of the population are morons.

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#6 RE: flowcharting - UML and/or others
09/02/2010 17:07

Mr Cool to Cynic (#5)

Cynic,

Spot on.

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