Model Governance and Process Governance
Merriam-Webster defines "governance" as follows: "the act or process of governing or overseeing the control and direction of something (such as a country or an organization)." ( (Merriam-Webster 2020))
In the literature, the term is found in combination with various terms or objects. We speak of IT governance, corporate governance (corporate governance), project governance, process governance, and also "model governance.
I would like to point out that governance includes the creation, maintenance, and use of the object of interest. Occasionally, discussions focus primarily on creation.
Create, Use, Maintain Model – Model Governance
I already outlined the general process of model development, use, and maintenance (see Figure 1: General Model Development Process).
The collection of needed information and the formalization of this information is usually described and regulated in a modeling guideline and a modeling policy.
It describes which standard notations and informal descriptions we use, which working techniques are used for information gathering and formalization, and how models are structured and built.
The question of model governance leads directly to the question of model quality. Figure 2 shows quality criteria for models (according to (Rauh 1997) and (Pitschke 2020)).
Governance has the task of ensuring compliance with the quality criteria during creation and maintenance. Long-term maintenance, in particular, is often a challenge. The creator of the models is no longer accessible. The rules of the modeling guideline and the modeling policy have the task of ensuring and facilitating the long-term maintenance of the models.
Organizational regulations are essential. E.g., the rule "After a year, the timeliness of the model must be confirmed by the model owner." We name a responsible role (the model owner) that is responsible for compliance with the governance rule.
Process Mining, Data Mining; Technical Solutions
In addition to organizational rules, technical solutions are sought. Process mining and data mining have become popular recently. "Process mining" is not only used for the long-term maintenance of business process models, but also as a technique for information gathering and formalization. The technique is powerful. The limits must not be overlooked. Other methods have to be used in addition.
Design, Measure and Maintain Business Processes - Process Governance
A good model does not automatically mean a good business process. Maybe we have a perfect business process model that meets the quality criteria. However, the business process is ineffective, costly, and has other shortcomings.
In (Tregear 2018) Roger Tregear describes the PO and PI circle.
Process ownership is an ongoing task. We try to manage the business processes continuously to keep them in-sync with KPIs.
Which role is responsible for this? It is the "Process Owner", not the "Model Owner".
The PI Circle is interesting from a governance perspective. What do we do to improve the business process when everything is fine, and there are no errors?
Linked to this is the question of KPIs. What can be influenced by the "operator" who lives the process every day?
If the operator cannot influence something, it is unfair to judge him and the process quality accordingly.
The limits of "Process Mining" for the PI Circle can be seen here. "Process mining" is based on actual data (The As-Is). We are looking for changes to improve business processes. This can not (yet) be found in the existing data.
Finding the "right" KPI is essential. Once again, the "Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architecture®" I chose (Zachman 2001) is helpful. What can I change and improve about processes?
- What: I can change the business objects used. Both the business objects used as input for a business activity. But also business objects that serve as "enablers".
- How: The course of a business process (the flow) naturally influences the quality of the business process and is essential. This closes the circle to business process modeling. The operator often has little influence on the course of business processes. We model business processes to achieve uniformity, repeatability, assessability, ...
The operator usually has a significant influence on the (operational) business decisions.
Therefore, the modeling and description of business decisions (e.g., with DMN) is of great importance to the PI Circle (see (Taylor 2019) and (James Taylor 2016))
- Where: Sometimes, the "Where" has a direct impact on the process quality.
- Who: Representations such as RACI charts are part of business process modeling. Behind this is the knowledge that the "who" is essential for process quality.
- When: The "when" is also often very important. Processes in a nuclear power plant or an aircraft must pay due attention to the "when". Corresponding KPIs are part of the quality assessment.
- Why: Our project charter and our process charter determine KPIs.
The post makes statements on model governance and process governance. Business process models are an important enabler of business process management. Therefore, governance of business process models and governance of business processes are closely related, but they are not identical!
This material may be used freely on an in-house, non-commercial basis. Commercial re-use or retransmission of any portion of this material is prohibited without written permission of Dr. Juergen Pitschke, BCS - Dr. Juergen Pitschke. Contact BCS - Dr. Juergen Pitschke for licensing and re-use arrangements. Please include this notice in all reproduction.