Thursday, 2 August 2007

Book Review – Detail Process Charting

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Detail Process Charting: Speaking the Language of Process


by Ben B. Graham
Edition: Hardcover

Price: $70.52



The Graham family has been involved in work-flow and work-simplification for 3 generations. This book brings together the work of Ben, his father and his grandfather, in an easy to follow text that explains both their approach to flowcharting and why it has been so successful.

Other readers, like me, may be a little unsure about the notation suggested or indeed the level of detail prescribed by Ben. However, putting such reservations to one side, the book is of great value to anyone involved in flowcharting, process modeling and especially work-flow automation.

I particularly liked the sections covering the setting up of a process team, which nicely addressed the roles and responsibilities, and the one looking at the structure and phases of a project.

The final chapter in the book is given over to detailing the experiences of practitioners in applying the technique and of the value created within their organizations as a result. This chapter alone more than justifies both the cost of the book and the time it takes to read it. We can all learn and understand more from hearing from what people have actually done.

In summary, I am not sure how viable the Graham notation is for those who have not already invested in it, but none the less the book presents an excellent case for process modeling or flowcharting and can help anyone who might be looking to justify a business case, whatever notation they finally settle on. Finally the book is a must read for anyone looking to undertake a work-flow automation project, on these projects the ideas in this small book will pay for themselves many times over.


Anonymous said...

Well, speaking of "a little unsure" and "I am not sure" paragraphs, what is your suggestion as a better alternative ? I am working in a manufacturing facility and need
a tool to generate process charts for manufacturing processes. And your book suggestion ?

Anonymous said...

The notation includes 8 ANSI / ASME standard symbols for process charting. I have seen people at all levels in an organization read and understand a Graham Chart with no introduction. They ARE different than most maps people are familiar with, and in my experience, that difference makes them far more useful.