The Beautiful Game as a Modern Business Process Structure

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Aug 28, 2022
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The Beautiful Game

Whether you call it soccer or football, “The Beautiful Game” as it is widely known, has simple rules of play. But playing soccer is another matter. It is a highly dynamic, agile process. In the flow of a single match, an eleven-player professional team can make more than 500 passes and there can be dozens of game stoppages.

In the eyes of process analysts, quality improvement professionals, and business analysts, who still rely on the more than 100 years-old, strictly procedural notions of a process and on flowcharting notations that were also invented in the last century, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to perceive and model something like playing soccer as a sequential process.

The Modern Business Process Modeling Solution

The most effective business processes are not only structurally sound and efficient but also highly dynamic and agile. A high-quality business process structure today is one that has been conceived, structured, and can be readily configured as a network of specialized, collaborating, event-driven, and outcome-oriented services, not just as a sequential procedure.

If a business analyst, process analyst, quality analyst, or manager adopts a modern business process paradigm and a modeling notation that is aligned with how today’s business relationships and processes work, then perceiving and modeling something as dynamic and agile as the beautiful game as a process, IS NOT ONLY POSSIBLE BUT ELEGANT.

Universal Business Process Definition [1]

The Universal Business Process Definition is not constrained to a strictly procedural notion of a process. It is an event and outcome-oriented business process paradigm. The Universal Business Process Definition’s four common-sense rules define all processes, workflows, and activities, regardless of a process’s scale, the overarching project methodology, the model’s required degree of abstraction, the modeling participants, and the organizations and the technologies that will implement the process or workflow.

The Universal Business Process Definition, and its related Business Process Normalization technique are defined in the Universal Process Modeling Procedure (UPMP), published by ProcessModelingAdvisor.com.

Business Process Modeling and Notation [2]

Business Process Modeling and Notation (BPMN) is a graphical notation for illustrating modern business process elements. BPMN was defined by the Business Process Modeling Initiative (BPMI) and is maintained by the Object Modeling Group (OMG).

BPMI states that the goal of BPMN is:

“To provide a notation that is readily understandable by all business users.”

BPMN is the best-suited notation for illustrating modern business process and workflow structures. It overcomes the clear limitations of the last century’s procedural flowcharting and process mapping notations. It includes sequential flowcharting elements, but BPMN also includes symbols for illustrating concepts that are relevant to today’s dynamically collaborating systems and business processes. Namely, events and messaging.

The Beautiful Game as an Example

We don’t need process models about playing soccer. We’d rather be playing or spectating. But we’ve all observed enough about playing soccer to use it as a commonly understood example. Playing soccer happens to be similar to how modern-day business processes and operating relationships work. Let’s use soccer to demonstrate how to apply a modern business process modeling paradigm and modeling notation to discover and illustrate a sound, modern business process structure.

Event-Driven Business Process Flow

A contextually and structurally sound model of the Play Soccer process can be discovered by answering the Universal Basic Business Process Flow Elicitation Agenda [3] and the Universal Event and Outcome-Oriented Business Process Flow Elicitation Agenda [4], found in The Universal Process Modeling Procedure.

This basic, event and outcome-oriented BPMN process flow diagram communicates the normal, dynamic, player-controlled flow of Play Soccer as a set of collaborating, specialized activities.

The Play Soccer process is initiated by a kick-off at center field. It is comprised of 4 activities: Tend Goal, Defend, Play Midfield, Play Striker. Activities are performed by the players of two teams. The expected outcome of Play Soccer is that a match has been played to its allotted time limit, according to its rules.

Once the match has been initiated, all players in their assigned positions maneuver freely, whether they possess the ball or not. The expected succession of the keeper’s, defenders’, midfielders’, and strikers’ activities is determined dynamically, by the players, while the match is played, by receiving or intercepting passes, stopping shots, and by making passes or taking shots.

The player with the ball will make a pass to any one of up to 10 other teammates or take a shot; Either the intended teammate will receive a pass, or an opposing player will intercept a pass or stop a shot, to possess the ball. Any player that has possessed the ball will then maneuver, within limits of their assigned position and own skill, and pass the ball to any one of up to 10 other teammates or take a shot. This succession of activities continues until a stoppage in play.

The success of the expected outcome (pass made or shot taken) of one Play Soccer activity will determine the initiating event (pass received/intercepted or shot stopped) of another Play Soccer activity. Barring the referee’s whistles, the control of the flow of a game is determined dynamically, by the players who perform Play Soccer’s activities. It is in the players’ hands, or more correctly, at their feet.

This basic, event and outcome-oriented process model of Play Soccer is contextually and structurally sound, but still basic. What about activities, like throw-ins, corner kicks, penalty kicks, fouls, injuries, delays, and half-time? It is upon this sound, basic structure that one can now elicit, add and communicate logical details about the Play Soccer process, and that this model’s readers likely expect to see.

Logically Refined Business Process Flow

The logical details about the periodic rule-based conditions, activities, and delays in the execution of the Play Soccer process can be straightforwardly discovered by asking and answering simple agendas that are defined in The Universal Process Modeling Procedure [5]. This refined BPMN process flow diagram communicates the conditional activities delays that are expected to periodically occur throughout the dynamic flow of Play Soccer.

The BPMN process diagram shows that it will be game events, not a sequential procedure that determine what and when certain activities will be performed in the Play Soccer process.

Even with all these logical refinements made, the contextually accurate and sound basic structure of the Play Soccer process, that we previously established, has not changed. These refinements can be graphically included or excluded, without any rework of the basic contextual meaning or basic diagrammatic structure of Play Soccer.

Activity dependencies are contextually accurate, without depicting a sequential procedure and sequential flows. Dynamic, alternate activities, paths, and timings throughout the process are accounted for in the model. Process navigation decisions and alternate flow paths are modeled, but need not be explicitly illustrated as sequence flows. That undue model complexity, and the time that would have been spent on it, have been avoided.

Conclusion

The Beautiful Game is a beautiful example of a process that is a set of dynamically collaborating, specialized services. It is not a sequential procedure. Modern business processes are not just sequential procedures either.

The Universal Process Modeling Procedure, with its Universal Business Process Definition and elicitation agendas, provides a modern process modeling paradigm, capable of event-driven as well as sequential business process elicitation and modeling. BPMN is a modern process modeling notation, that includes the graphical elements to represent business event-driven, not just sequential process flows.

With these tools in hand, process analysts, quality improvement professionals, and business analysts who know how to use them, are capable of eliciting, perceiving, normalizing, defining, and graphically illustrating structurally sound, modern business process structures and operating relationships.

Learn more …

Read related Modern Analyst articles:

An Introduction to Business Process Normalization

No-Code and Low-Code Platforms Demand Process Modeling Competence

Top 6 Business Process Modeling Mistakes

Business Process Modeling Tips for Digital Transformation.

Get IIBA-endorsed business process modeling training for yourself or your project team through www.ProcessModelingAdvisor.com.

Get and follow the step-by-step Universal Process Modeling Procedure – The Practical Guide to High-Quality Business Process Models Using BPMN, available from Amazon Books.

Copyright 2022, Edmund Metera


Author: Edmund Metera, Process Modeling Advisor

Edmund Metera has taught and mentored project managers and business analysts in best practices for professional organizations such as PMI, IIBA and, CMMI. Ed teaches IIBA-endorsed business analysis courses and is an advisor to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology's Corporate and International Training department’s Business Analyst, Process Analyst, and other certificate programs. He is the author of the book: Universal Process Modeling Procedure: The Practical Guide to High-Quality Business Process Models Using BPMN (Amazon) and the founder of www.ProcessModelingAdvisor.com.


References/footnotes:

  1. Universal Process Modeling Procedure – The Practical Guide to High-Quality Business Process Models Using BPMN (Metera, 2018, 2022) www.ProcessModelingAdvisor.com
  2. Object Modeling Group, www.OMG.org
  3. Universal Process Modeling Procedure, Step 3 – Define Basic Business Process Flow (Metera, 2018, 2022)
  4. Universal Process Modeling Procedure, How to Specify Event/Outcome Oriented Business Process Flow (Metera, 2018, 2022)
  5. Universal Process Modeling Procedure, Step 5 – Refine Business Process Flow(s) (Metera, 2018, 2022)
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