Modern BPMSs are so good in prototyping that this cycle can be round-tripped in hours, if not minutes. It's amazing how efficient this way to discover process is.
PS: What are some best practices for effective process modeling?
AB: You might notice from my blog that I'm a proponent of process patterns. Pattern is a typical process fragment common to a number of real world processes. And the matching word for "pattern" is "recognition." With an adequate training and some practice, a process analyst just sees familiar patterns in the process task he is working on. And this way, he or she gets the results much faster, [but] they're more error-prone because they are based on proven fragments or patterns.
I'm not talking here about elementary sets of patterns developed to evaluate process engines. This is about high-level and more business-oriented patterns [such as those in resource planning].
It's common today to compare patterns vs. templates. My personal opinion is that templates are less useful because the ones I've seen are about auxiliary processes that don't really affect business. Nobody makes their core business processes publicly available.
Another key modeling technique is process decomposition. Once again, it's a specific vision and a specific mindset that any process analyst must develop. Itís an ability to see levels of abstractions and the technical knowledge of how to isolate these levels in BPMN sub-processes.
PS: What are some of the biggest mistakes you see companies make with process discovery and modeling?
AB: One of the biggest, yet very common, mistakes could be called "putting the process functionality first." The right way is to start with business issues, then proceed with process issues, and then get to process functionality as the third step. So you start with communicating about what the current business goals are, then you identify the business processes that are responsible for reaching these goals. You set the targets for these processes. Only then do you proceed to desired process functionality.
Unfortunately, way too often, people and organizations jump right to process functionality. Most people donít realize how dramatically the process architecture and the final process scheme depend on the particular business goals they set up.