Introducing the Visual Process Management Revolution


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Visual Process Management (VPM*) with SmartDraw is a revolutionary new approach to process management.

Companies that implement VPM reap real and measurable ROI:
- 25% increase in companywide productivity
- Up to 80% reduction in training time
- Consistent and predictable quality
- Visibility into exactly how things are done, critical for effective management

Knowledge is shared seamlessly, is universally accessible, and easily updateable.

*VPM is only available in the Enterprise Edition of SmartDraw

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Introducing the Visual Process Management Revolution

  1. 1. Introducing the Visual ProcessManagement Revolution 9909 Mira Mesa Blvd. San Diego, CA 92131 Phone: 858-225-3374 Toll Free: 800-817-4271 Fax: 858-225-3390
  2. 2. Visual Process Management (VPM), developed by SmartDraw Software, revolutionizes the wayprocesses are documented and managed. Binders filled with documents on a shelf are now obsolete. Intheir place, SmartDraw VPM offers a collection of hyperlinked visuals that anyone in the organizationcan easily navigate like a web site. The VPM Collection, stored on a network server, is a completeelectronic model of an organization. It links every process with the position that is responsible forexecuting it and managing it. Documenting processes using VPM is extraordinarily faster than traditionalmethods. It gives you a result that is complete and easy to access and update. Best of all, it is somethingthat employees actually use.Companies that implement SmartDraw VPM are discovering real, measurable return on both time andmoney invested. Here are some of the results:  Productivity increases companywide by 25%  Training time is reduced by as much as 80%  Quality is more consistent and predictable  Redundancies are found and eliminatedEmployees at every level gain visibility into exactly how things are done. This is critical for effectivemanagement and implementation.Introducing the VPM RevolutionThe advantages of documenting the processes in your organization are obvious:  Flexibility: Both new and existing employees can immediately learn the right way to perform any job.  Quality: If everyone on the team performs a job in the same way each time, the outcome is predictable and consistent.  Visibility: Management can see exactly how each job is meant to be performed.  Process Improvement: You can’t improve the way your organization gets its work done unless you know how it’s being done now.In addition to these benefits there are many external pressures that require processes to bedocumented. For example:  BPM Automation: Documenting processes is a “VPM has benefited L+L prerequisite for automated BPM (Business Process Management). through helping us to  ERP: Documenting processes is required as better understand part of an Enterprise Resource Planning implementation. roadblocks and  Company Sale: Documenting processes is an inefficiencies in our important preparation when positioning a processes.” company for eventual sale.  Compliance: Various legislation and regulatory Bob Dixon President, Digital bodies, like the Sarbanes–Oxley Act and The Division, L + L Printers2 800-817-4271 ©2012 SmartDraw, LLC. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. Joint Commission for example, often require extensive process documentation.  Customers: Some customers may require ISO or other quality certifications as a prerequisite for doing business.Despite the benefits or requirements, many organization resist documenting their processes. Why?Because of the pain that traditional methods inflict. Process documentation is often viewed as:  Time-consuming, disruptive, and expensive: Traditional methods are slow and distract team members from normal productive activities.  Incomplete: Not all processes are documented and those that are may be difficult to find (i.e., the big binder on a shelf somewhere). Team members are unaware that documentation for a process, or even the process itself, exists.  Ineffective: The result is a binder of difficult-to-understand documentation that no one looks at and that soon becomes stale.Visual Process Management (VPM) is a revolutionary advance in the field of process documentation andmanagement that eliminates the pains described above. VPM creates a collection of hyperlinked visualsthat functions like a web site, called a VPM Collection.A VPM Collection is a complete electronic model of an organization. It links every process with theposition that is responsible for executing it and managing it. It separates, complex processes into smallercomponents that are easy to manage and understand and then links the components to each other.With a VPM Collection, every employee in the organization can immediately identify all of the processesthey are responsible for and view the documentation for each one. Every process in the organization issystematically identified, documented and the position that is responsible for executing or managing itcan be immediately accessed.VPM makes process documentation painless because:Building a VPM Collection is fast.By leveraging visual processor software, VPM captures final process documentation in one quick pass,reducing the time and cost involved by five-fold compared to traditional methods.A VPM Collection is complete:The VPM method makes it easy to systematically identify and document every process in anorganization.A VPM Collection is effective:A VPM collection is a live visual description of every process that is easy to understand, easy to accessand easy to maintain so that it is always up to date. A VPM Collection is actually used because teammembers can immediately see the processes they are responsible for and their documentation.The Visual ProcessorThe visual processor is to visuals what a word processor is to written documents. Just as anyone cancreate a beautifully formatted written document with a word processor, anyone can create a beautifullyformatted visual with a visual processor just as easily.VPM is made possible by the introduction of the visual processor. The speed with which the visualprocessor can capture ideas in visual form makes it possible to create flowcharts that document a3 800-817-4271 ©2012 SmartDraw, LLC. All rights reserved.
  4. 4. process in real time while interviewing the people that perform it. This method greatly reduces the timeand cost it takes to document processes compared to traditional process documentation methods. Thevisual processor also makes it possible to easily build the group of hyperlinked visuals that makes up aVPM collection.The Six Innovations of VPMIn addition to the visual processor, VPM is built upon six major innovations in the way processes aredocumented and managed. 1. Live Documentation Process documentation using VPM takes the form of an interactive collection of interlinked visuals stored on a file server. Everyone in the organization has access to the collection and can easily find the processes that they are responsible for. If updates need to be made, they are reflected immediately in the live collection. 2. Process Hierarchy Instead of attempting to document a complex process with a single complex flowchart, VPM breaks it into a hierarchy of processes and sub-processes that are hyperlinked together like a web site. 3. Systematic Process Discovery VPM begins by identifying the small number of top-level master processes that are at the core of any organization. The remaining processes are then identified by systematically drilling down into the sub processes from each master process. As each new layer of detail is revealed, new processes are discovered until all processes are identified down to the desired level of detail. 4. Process Accountability VPM assigns responsibility for both the execution and the management of each process to a position within the organization. The flowchart for each process is hyperlinked to a visual representation of the organizational structure and vice versa. 5. One-Pass Process Capture By using a visual processor to document processes as flowcharts in real time, VPM methods can capture an entire tree of processes as finished flowcharts in one interview with the person who performs them. This is a radical improvement compared with traditional methods. 6. Visual Grammar When visuals, like flowcharts, are used to communicate with many different people across an organization, standardized formatting is necessary. In VPM, the flowcharts and other visuals adhere to the rules of visual grammar to ensure a common format that leads to maximum comprehension by everyone in the organization.4 800-817-4271 ©2012 SmartDraw, LLC. All rights reserved.
  5. 5. Let’s examine each of the six innovations in greater detail.Live DocumentationVPM process documentation takes the form of an interactive collection of hyperlinked visuals. There aretwo principal entry points (or home pages) to the collection: the master process tree and theorganization chart. The master process tree provides links to all of the master processes for theorganization, and this is used to drill down into details of each process. The organization chart links eachposition in the organization with the processes that fall under the responsibilities for that position.These entry points make it intuitively easy to find the information you’re looking for, whether you aretrying to find out “how this is done” or “who does what.”Each member of the organization can use a visual processor to browse through the documentation, viaeither entry point, to quickly find the information they need. Users with the responsibility to update thedocumentation can modify it and everyone else will immediately see the updated results. The collectionof visual document files is stored on a file server, with shared access. Read/write permission can beimplemented using the operating system or a document management system such as SharePoint whichVPM fully supports. This contrasts with traditional methods of publishing process documentation inprinted form stored in a ring binder, where there is no clear indication of all the processes a position isresponsible for, or who is responsible for maintaining them, and there is no easy way to find theprocesses unless you know their exact name. Too often traditional process documentation is filed away,ignored and forgotten.Process HierarchyProcesses are naturally hierarchical. When most people describe a process they summarize multiplesteps into one summary step. For example, when closing the end of the month the controller mightdescribe his process as:Each of these steps actually represents a whole additional process. For example, the “Make Entries forRemaining Expenses” step is itself a process:5 800-817-4271 ©2012 SmartDraw, LLC. All rights reserved.
  6. 6. Even in this sub process, the step of “Enter The Expense for The Previous Month” could be anotherprocess that describes the steps of making an entry into the accounting system and so on. You can drilldown to the level of detail you desire.VPM reflects this natural hierarchy and uses hyperlinks to allow a viewer of the documents to click on ashape and drill down to the sub process it represents, in much the same way as you’d navigate a website.The traditional way of documenting this process would be to combine all of the steps in all of the subprocesses into one large flowchart with many steps. The result is something that needs to be printed ona poster-sized sheet of paper and is incomprehensible to 95% of the people that have the misfortune tolook at it.Using a hierarchy of linked charts allows people to focus on the key steps of the top-level processwithout being distracted by the details, while still being able to drill down to the details as needed. Thearrival of the visual processor makes it possible to build and maintain a hyperlinked collection of visualdocuments to easily implement this concept.6 800-817-4271 ©2012 SmartDraw, LLC. All rights reserved.
  7. 7. Systematic Process DiscoveryThe natural hierarchy of processes provides a structured approach to systematically discover anddocument all of the processes in an organization. VPM best practices dictate that one shouldsystematically drill down from the master process to the finest level of granularity.Most organizations have a relatively small number of master processes. A master process is one thatstands alone and is not part of any other process hierarchy. It stands at the top of a hierarchy and issometimes called a top-level process.For example, a printing company has one master process for originating and fulfilling orders (theproduction process), plus other administrative master processes like HR and Accounting.Process discovery begins by identifying the top-level master processes in an organization and thendocumenting them as a small number of summary steps.Each summary step is then used a starting point to drill into the details of the sub processes that itrepresents. Processes are discovered and documented down to the level of detail desired, while buildinga flowchart for each one, and then linked together into a collection.This is a comprehensive and systematic process unlike the traditional method that depends onindividuals within an organization volunteering the processes they can recall.This systematic approach not only ensures that nothing that is missed, but also provides context forevery process in your organization. Instead of a random collection of isolated processes, you caninstantly see how each process fits within the organization and how they interact.7 800-817-4271 ©2012 SmartDraw, LLC. All rights reserved.
  8. 8. Process AccountabilityOne of the key features of VPM is the assignment of accountability for each and every process. Thisprovides an important dual benefit: 1.) It allows any employee to identify the processes they are responsible for and to locate their documentation. 2.) It allows anyone in the company to look at a process and identify who is responsible for carrying out the work and who is responsible for managing the process and keeping the documentation up to date.Since VPM is concerned not just with processes, but also with those responsible for them, organizationalinformation is also included in the collection of interlinked visuals.So, in addition to identifying top-level master processes, VPM begins by building a functionalorganization chart. This chart includes a shape for each distinct position. It may also include names ofspecific employees associated with these positions.8 800-817-4271 ©2012 SmartDraw, LLC. All rights reserved.
  9. 9. Each position in the org chart is hyperlinked to another visual, unique to VPM, called a job map. Clickingon the Bindery Operator position, for example, will give you this job map:9 800-817-4271 ©2012 SmartDraw, LLC. All rights reserved.
  10. 10. Each of the shapes in the “Processes Executed” tree of the job map is linked to the flowchart for thatprocess. For example, “Wafer Sealing” is linked to the flowchart for the wafer sealing process.This means that a bindery operator can find his or her position in the organization chart, click on thehyperlink to open the bindery operator job map, see all the processes she is responsible for, and thenclick on the hyperlinks to view the flowcharted documentation for each process.The first shape in each flowchart for the processes she is responsible for is hyperlinked back to its parentprocess, so by following this link she can also see how her processes fit in to the overall process. She canfollow these links all the way to the top-level master process and see how her work fits in with the restof the organization and how it contributes to the company’s productivity.Each flowchart describing a process is hyperlinked to the job map of the position responsible for it viathe title block.This means that someone browsing through the process hierarchy can immediately see who isresponsible for executing and managing each process.10 800-817-4271 ©2012 SmartDraw, LLC. All rights reserved.
  11. 11. The position that manages the process is responsible for updating the flowchart when the processchanges. This creates accountability to ensure that the process documentation remains current anddoes not get stale.One-Pass Process CaptureWith VPM, processes are captured in real time by interviewing the people who carry them out. This isonly possible with a visual processor. Traditional graphics software used to create process flowcharts istoo slow to be able to create them during an interview. In traditional process documentation, flowchartsare created later based on the written notes taken during an interview. This leads to an iterative processof presenting the flowchart at a later meeting, getting feedback, making changes, and so on. Traditional Capture MethodThe arrival of the visual processor makes capture a process in one pass. By allowing the interviewer tocreate a flowchart of the process during the interview, no notes are necessary. Instead the finalflowchart can be created and approved in a single interview. VPM employs this method and gains up toa five-fold increase in the rate of process capture compared to traditional methods. One-Step Capture MethodVisual GrammarWhen we write we follow accepted rules:  We spell words in a standard way  We put a space between words  We arrange the words in lines that read from left to right.  We read lines on the page from top to bottom  We use the same font, size, and color for the text unless we intend to show special emphasis.  We use sentences and other punctuation  We form paragraphs and arrange lines so that they line up on the leftFollowing these rules makes written communication universally accessible. We can pick up a documentwritten by someone else and immediately read and comprehend it. We don’t have to think about theway it’s formatted. We can just focus on the content.11 800-817-4271 ©2012 SmartDraw, LLC. All rights reserved.
  12. 12. The same is not generally true of visual documents. Search for “flowchart” in Google image search andyou get the following results:There is nothing uniform about these charts. They flow from top to bottom, left to right and right to leftall on the same chart! Colors and shape outlines are used indiscriminately. Most of these charts wereprobably created for either just the author, or a couple others to use. With a limited audience rules arenot so important. However, if an entire organization is going to view hundreds of related flowcharts andother visuals, then a set of accepted design standards is necessary. Otherwise their effectiveness incommunicating will be reduced considerably.All visuals created as part of VPM follow the same standards, or Visual Grammar. There are two rulesthat apply to all visuals: 1. The Consistency Rule 2. The One-Page RuleAnd two more special rules for flowcharts: 3. The Left-to-Right Rule 4. The Split Path RuleThe Consistency RuleThe Consistency Rule says that the appearance of equivalent shapes, lines, and text in a visual should beconsistent (i.e. the same).12 800-817-4271 ©2012 SmartDraw, LLC. All rights reserved.
  13. 13. For example, VPM flowcharts use the same color, same font and same size for each equivalent shape.Only the start and end shapes have a different outline to indicate their status as starting and endingpoints. Shapes with hyperlinks to sub processes are blue. Shapes that represent a decision are dark gray.The One-Page RuleThe One-Page Rule states that the visual should fit on one page and the text should remain readable.To be effective, a visual must be viewed as a whole and so it should fit on a single page or a screen.Because of their interlinked nature, VPM visuals are best viewed on screen with a visual processor.However, there may be cases when printing is necessary. In these cases visuals can be scaled down to fiton a single page but not by so much that the text in the shapes is no longer readable, otherwise, thevisual fails to communicate at all.This rule is common sense but is also the rule most often violated. What happens when there is toomuch information to fit on one page? The answer is to create a hierarchy of multiple linked visuals, eachof which does fit on a page. This is a core principle of VPM.The Left to Right RuleIn Western cultures, people read from left to right. Flowcharts that flow from left to right are also easierfor the average person to read than flowcharts that flow from top to bottom.The Split Path RuleTraditionally, a step in a flowchart that represents question or decision has been represented as adiamond with lines coming out of two vertices, one for the path with one answer, the other for a secondanswer. There are several problems with this: 1. A decision symbol immediately introduces two directions of flow in the flow chart, breaking the left to right rule and making the chart harder to follow. 2. Most consumers of flowcharts don’t know the convention of the diamond as a decision and the change in symbol outline is just a distraction for them. 3. Many creators of flowcharts don’t know this convention either and so they use diamonds and other shapes inconsistently, resulting in confusion not information.A split path is immediately understood without special training by virtually everyone. It is intuitive anddoes not have to be learned.Compare these two flowcharts of the same process below.13 800-817-4271 ©2012 SmartDraw, LLC. All rights reserved.
  14. 14. Split Path Decision Symbol PathsYou can see how introducing the decision symbol causes the flow chart to immediately break the left toright rule as one path now flows vertically.Getting Started with VPMVPM can be applied to an entire operation or to any unit within an operation. Often the simplest way tobegin is to apply it to a particular unit or a particular master process.In any case the process for implementing VPM follows these steps:14 800-817-4271 ©2012 SmartDraw, LLC. All rights reserved.
  15. 15. The documentation of step follows these steps:These steps require a facilitator who is certified in VPM. SmartDraw Software or its partners can providea facilitator, or SmartDraw Software can train and certify a person within the organization to be afacilitator.Documenting the OrganizationAs the flowcharts above show, the facilitator begins by creating the organizational chart that shows thejob title of each position, and may also contain the name of the person who currently fills this position.Often this is done interactively with management using the one-pass technique. If an org chart alreadyexists, then this can be used as starting point.The job maps for each position are then created automatically using a SmartDraw command.Documenting the ProcessesThe facilitator begins by mapping the steps in the master process interactively with management. Theneach step is hyperlinked to its sub-process using a simple SmartDraw command that creates the sub-process chart and the links between it and the parent.The facilitator interviews the people responsible for the sub processes, either in front of a projectedimage of the flowchart for the process, or using software like GoToMeeting® to share the image of theflowchart being made using the one-pass method described earlier. Steps that require further expansionare again hyperlinked to sub-processes using a SmartDraw command, until every process thatcontributes to the master process has been documented.Assigning ResponsibilityAs the facilitator creates each flowchart, he or she assigns responsibility to the position that manages it,and the position that executes it by linking fields in the title block to the job maps for those positions.SmartDraw also automates this. Typing the <enter> key in those fields displays a list of positions toselect from.15 800-817-4271 ©2012 SmartDraw, LLC. All rights reserved.
  16. 16. Completing the CollectionThe final step in completing a VPM Collection is to update the job maps and link each process to theposition that manages and executes it. A SmartDraw command does this automatically.Managing CollectionsSmartDraw manages the group of hyperlinked documents that make up a VPM Collection by treatingthe files in a folder and its subfolders as a single Collection. Collections can be moved and printed as asingle unit, while still maintaining the hierarchy of the hyperlinks.Deploying a VPM CollectionTo maximize the value of a VPM Collection all of the people in the organization documented should haveaccess to it. This allows everyone to see what processes they are responsible for and how to executethem.The Collection can be deployed on a file server or SharePoint. Access control can be managed usingWindows groups or SharePoint. Users who manage processes should have read/write access to thedocuments that describe them, so that they can update the processes when changes occur. Other usersshould have read-only access.SmartDraw should be installed on the PCs of everyone in the organization documented, becauseSmartDraw has a browse mode for navigating Collections and enforces the read-only access whenneeded. Installing SmartDraw also allows each user to realize the benefits of the software for otheruses: project management, visual presentations, and more effective communication. Buy and save $100 for a limited time. Download a copy of To watch a video showing If you prefer to contact one SmartDraw for free by how easy it is to do VPM with of our product specialists, clicking here. SmartDraw, click here. click here or call us at 800- 817-427116 800-817-4271 ©2012 SmartDraw, LLC. All rights reserved.