There are probably a hundred analytical techniques for improving a business process, but four are required and swim lane analysis is one of them. (For more information on the other three see my blog, “We Finished Modeling Our Processes? Next is Optimization–WRONG “)
After creating the charter, and selecting the sponsor, process owner, project lead, facilitator and team members, one of the first things the BPM team does is model the current state process using a swim lane model, also called a cross functional deployment model. This is a process diagram showing the steps and decisions/gateways in the process by role. This task in itself can be eye-opening and motivating. (See other i4Process blogs,
“Isn’t There a Simpler Way to Model a Process?” and “Which Process Improvement/BPM Diagramming Notation Should We Use?” Parts 1 and 2 for more information.) While diagramming the current state employees see the whole process, note how their part impacts another part of the process, identify current problems, and suggest improvements. They also learn the basics of diagramming a process and how to use the notations and communicate the flow, steps, and decisions with them.