Posted by: Adam Deane | 17/12/2010

BPM: Mind the Gap

Mind the GapUnderstanding a process design is sort of like travelling on London’s underground railway – The people that use it every day don’t need a map. The people that need a map will probably lose their way in the tunnels anyway.

Mind the Gap
London Underground (The Tube) is a well known tourist magnet.
Thousands of tourists descend into the underground railway maze and try to find their way from A to B.

If you want to travel from Camden Town station to Waterloo station, you’ll need to find the southbound platform of the Northern Line and ensure you’re on the train going via the Charing Cross branch, not via the Bank branch.
(If you feel very brave, try doing it during rush hour…)

Now I don’t want to get into another futile discussion on swimlanes vs flowcharts. I’d just like to show examples of another approaches to maps.

Most people that use the Tube are familiar with the standard tube map
It has a neat and clean look, with the names of the stations and the lines. No clutter.

But what if you need details… which stations have toilets, mobile phone coverage, travel times between stations,

Steve Prentice decided to create alternative maps of the London Underground

TFL Silly Maps TFL Silly Maps

“An important person has an expensive car, but a very important person has a driver”
I just hop onto the train and say “go”… and it goes…
Yes, we all like to whinge about our public transport system, but I quite like it…

The Stig, Hammond,May and Clarkson Cross-London Race – Top Gear

Workflow flowcharts, BPMN designs, Process maps… are there any alternative BPM maps?

Enjoy your weekend


  1. Great topic! In the phase of our BPM projects where we are looking at improving the subject business process(es), we sometimes create a technology oriented model that we call a “solution map”. We use our process mapping and analysis tool as a very initial model of what we ultimately build into the BPMS. For us, the solution map differs from a “future state process map” in that its perspective or bias is towards those process activities that will be conducted within/orchestrated by the BPMS. We prefer to do this in the process analysis tool because we can use its rich documentation features to make important requirements notes in the exact context of the BPMS activity to which they correspond. Pairing this solution map with UI mockups for the human facing BPMS activities in the flow can make short work of the initial planning of the BPMS solution we will deliver in a given project, although I am sure it violates multiple commandments of BPM and the universal laws of future state process mapping.

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