Something Besides BPMN for Requirements Solicitation

Scott Francis
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Matt Harding of Aurora Energy just posted this on the SAP community blog:
Within business process modelling (from a detailed requirements and process design perspective), I believe the best option for business users is to use BPMN.  But the question is: Are we just waiting for the iPhone of Business Process Modelling to come along.
I think Matt has a point – BPMN isn’t the best for requirements elicitation – it is the best for firming up an agreement between “Business” and “IT” as to what the process execution looks like.  When we’re in the discovery/elicitation/collaboration efforts, we find it more useful to use simpler mapping approaches:
  1. value stream mapping
  2. outlines
  3. process mapping a la Six Sigma (inputs, measurable outputs, of a linear view of the process)
  4. mind mapping tools for doing associations or nested structures
Right now some of the best tools for doing this – besides white boards – are tools like IBM’s Blueprint, which doesn’t force you into a BPMN notion of things.  It has separate views of process mapping and process modeling – and my main critique of the modeling section is that it needs to be more exact, whereas what I love about the process mapping side is precisely that it doesn’t require being exact.  Another useful tool for brainstorming topics related to BPM: MindMeister.   It let’s you brainstorm ancillary ideas to the process: how business objectives and values drive the objectives for the project.  There are other tools that are useful for brainstorming project plans, etc.