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CSC614 – Midterm Examination


Chris Grenard
In this report, I will discuss the advantages, disadvantages, and possible
applications for hybrid analysis methods using both communication based
and activity based process identification methods for process modeling and
improvement.
Table of Contents

Contrasting Statements about Workflow Modeling..................3

Assessment of Communication-Flow Model............................ .5

Personal Assessment of Article Conclusions...........................6

References................................................... ........................8

2
Contrasting Statements about Workflow
Modeling

In the article “Communication-Focused Business Process Redesign: Assessing a

Communication Flow Optimization Model Through an Action Research Study at a

Defense Contractor” [1], the author asserts through group research with 3 process

redesign teams at a defense contractor, that although a more difficult process to start

modeling with, communications-based modeling is the correct way to depict the

processes and interactions of business functions in an organization.

In this control environment, a defense contractor that deals with complex requirements

for acquiring and producing government projects, the researcher assembles 3 groups to

study a process, without indicating a bias towards using workflow/activity modeling or

communication-flow methodologies.

The unstructured interview notes, focus group meetings and discussion notes all reveal

that the project participants always preferred constructing an activity diagram as a natural

first course of action when analyzing a process. Then they could proceed to creating a

communication-flow based model of the process.

Based on the results [2] of the study “more than two-thirds of the group members who

were interviewed perceived communication flow representations as more difficult to be

generated than activity flow representations”.

From these initial findings, the results seem to indicate that the activity diagrams are

the foundation of an understanding the communications that accompany process.

3
While I was able to understand the diagram in Figure 1a (Communication Flow

Representation), the timing of events and the exact number of process enablers and

participants in the process are not as clear as they are in the Activity Flow representation.

4
Assessment of Communication-Flow Model

The Communication-Flow model “attempts to show that a focus on communication

flow representations and methods is likely to lead to better process redesign outcomes

than a focus on workflows” [3]. The author states that activity based processes analysis

“makes some sense in materials transformation processes whose final product usually is a

tangible manufactured item…this orientation is fundamentally inconsistent with the

communication-intensive nature of the vast majority or processes found in organizations

today” [4, pp35, abstract]. Kock continues this argument by stating that the activity-

based approach is ill suited to today’s more service oriented organizations that produce

non-tangible goods.

I would argue that the process for the delivery of a manufactured part and processes

that deliver services, such as customer support or custom-order lighting, both provide

tangible results; goods or services delivered.

There is a sales process, a billing process, an action process (build 250w ballast [in the

manufacturing example], perform remote desktop software debugging [in the services

example]) that accompany both types of customer requests for goods.

5
Personal Assessment of Article Conclusions

6
7
References

[1] Ned Kock, Communication-Focused Business Process Redesign: Assessing a


Communication Flow Optimization Model Through an Action Research Study at a
Defense Contractor. IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PROFESSIONAL
COMMUNICATION, VOL. 46, NO.1, MARCH 2003

[2] Ned Kock, Communication-Focused Business Process Redesign: Assessing a


Communication Flow Optimization Model Through an Action Research Study at a
Defense Contractor. IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PROFESSIONAL
COMMUNICATION, VOL. 46, NO.1, pp 44MARCH 2003