The Power of Visualization: How Five Boxes Can Be A Good Day’s Work

My colleague Craig Willis has an interesting post today on the power of process visualization in enabling collaboration. In process discovery especially, a well-run workshop forces the process actors to let go lazy intuition and really understand what’s happening:

“The act of talking through and visualizing a process can often, in my experience, actually improve the effectiveness of that process without any attempt to change it.”

I’ve believed it ever since I saw it with my own eyes, many years ago, soon after I joined Nimbus. In a day-long workshop with the stakeholders on a core process for a major utility client, we established that the three functional silos involved each had a slightly different take on the process. These subtle differences meant that this organization employed 250 staff to deal with the (largely avoidable) process exceptions.

All process visualization tools are not the same of course. It’s quite possible (and still amazingly common) to create visualizations that are simply process fragments, often written in an arcane technical language, and with the complexity of a wiring diagram.

At the end of that extraordinary day with the utility client, that group of senior people had, as a group, drawn just five boxes on the screen. But it was the nuances in the top level of that core process that were the root cause of the process exceptions and the resulting costs. As ever, simplicity forced clarity, and that – together with a joined-up end-to-end perspective – is where the value so often lies.

Interestingly, the process visualization tool itself is only part of the answer. The methodology matters hugely. Nimbus is a superb process management platform – but it’s the simplicity and rigor of the Nimbus UPN methodology which enables it to deliver results like this.

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