After receiving several requests to tell more about how we are modeling our processes at Lufthansa Technik, I interviewed Sascha Lamass, our process modeling expert, to give an overview about this topic.
Mirko: Before we get into the details of process modeling at Lufthansa Technik, can you say a few words about your process modeling experience?
Sascha: I started modeling processes at Lufthansa Technik in 2006. This was the time of the initial process modeling in the context of the rollout of IQ MOVE and I was – and I still am – the responsible process modeler for our sales and marketing as well as our strategic purchasing processes, for example. Today, I am also responsible for the development of our process modeling methodology. This includes training new process modelers and improving our editorial process itself.
Mirko: With regards to what we are doing in the area of process modeling at LHT, how would you describe the different levels of process modeling that we are using?
Sascha: According to the different target groups of IQ MOVE – like the senior management or the expert from production – we describe our processes on four different levels.
For example, we are using process maps for our senior management as a kind of executive summary of our processes. Process maps are graphical tables of content and the highest level – with the lowest level of detail – that we use to model our processes.
Mirko: How do these process maps look like?
Sascha: We have three different kinds of process objects. These are “value-adding processes” – they look like a fish or an arrow – , “supporting processes” – little houses – , and “management processes” – they are simple boxes on top of a process map.
Mirko: What is the next level? When you click onto one of these objects, you get one level further down.
Sascha: Yes, the next level could be another – more detailed – process map, or in the end, you reach the level of the process descriptions for the experienced employees. These process descriptions contain a six by eight cell template with swimming lanes for each role that performs activities in this process. Roles are in the first column followed by six cells for activities. At the bottom, we have an additional lane for adjacent processes to link to the up and downstream processes.
With this kind of presentation, the employee has a quick overview about “What is my role?”, “What other roles are involved?” and you can easily see the flow of the process.
Mirko: Okay, and then we have another level of detail when you click onto one of the activities…
Sascha: Yes, by clicking onto one of the activities you get a so called “info box”. There you have a detailed description about what to do. For example, an activity is named something like “Fill out checklist” the detailed description could be “Fill out the checklist to prepare the delivery. If you tick one of the yes check boxes, contact the export control officer.” and so on.
At the highest level of detail, we have a possibility to link the latest checklist directly from the activity and also from the “activity-related documents” swimming lane at the bottom of the process description. So the experienced employee can save a click because he does not have to go via the link from the info box. He knows how to complete the checklist and how to react in case of a marked “yes”. He simply wants to have the latest version of the checklist without opening the detailed description every time.
Sascha: I think it is a combination of the process descriptions and the info boxes.
Mirko: Can you also tell a little bit about how these different levels of process modeling were developed?
Sascha: At the beginning of the implementation project, there were several activities to find out which kind of presentation is the most intuitive. Like one of the project managers wrote his dissertation about how to split up the information into very little homeopathic activities. And we used this six by eight cell layout for a process description because this is what you can read on the monitor without scrolling – at least at the point of time where the implementation started. By now, we have much bigger screens but I still think that six roles – that is the magical number seven plus one minus two – are perfect to handle.
Mirko: I think this was a good overview about our different levels of process modeling. Is it possible to give an outlook? What is coming up next? What are the current challenges that you are facing concerning process modeling, at the moment?
Sascha: Our biggest challenge is still to model our processes in a way that we can fulfill the IQ MOVE vision “To find all relevant procedures quickly and easily!” for the employee. Thus, we have to maintain a high level of quality in all our process models. – Because the key performance indicator of IQ MOVE is the acceptance by the employees. And we won’t get any acceptance if the employees look at the processes and don’t understand the content of the process descriptions. The challenge is to keep the system easy to read for the employees to ensure the acceptance. This includes all the aspects in the background like process acceptance, conformity check, and feedback management. But these topics would be worth to give a separate interview. 😉
Mirko: Okay, let’s see if we are going to do more into this direction in the future. For now, I would like to thank you very much for this interview!
If you are interested in learning more about our process modeling approach or other process management topics, please feel free to write a comment or send us an email to share your thoughts.