Colloquium IS – Oktay Turetken: The Understandability of Business Process Models: The Effect of Modularity Representation …

Speaker: Oktay Turetken

Title: The Understandability of Business Process Models: The Effect of Modularity Representation, Presentation Medium, and BP Modelling Competencies

Abstract: Many factors influence the creation of understandable business process models for an appropriate audience. Understandability of process models becomes critical particularly when a process is complex and its model is large in structure. Using modularization to represent such models hierarchically (e.g. using sub-processes) is considered to contribute to the understandability of these models. To investigate this assumption, we conducted two experiments that involved 2 large-scale real-life business process models that were modeled using BPMN. Each process was modelled in 3 modularity forms: fully-flattened, flattened where activities are clustered using BPMN groups, and modularized using separately viewed BPMN sub-processes. The main objective is to investigate if and how different forms of modularity representation in BPMN collaboration diagrams influence the understandability of process models. In addition to the modularity representation, we also looked into other factors that potentially influence model comprehension. These include the presentation medium (paper vs. computer), and personal factors, such as model reader’s level of BPM experience and competency. The first experiment involved 60 business practitioners from a large organization, while 140 graduate students participated in the second experiment. The results of the experiments indicate that process models in the form of BPMN collaboration diagrams are best understood by people with relatively high BPM competencies, and when represented in ‘flattened’ forms (with or without the use of groups) and in ‘paper’ format.

–> Presentation is available at “here“!