Business functions and business processes represent what the enterprise ought to be doing. Business procedure defines how the enterprise ought to do this.
Each step in a processes is a function. Similarly, each step in a procedure will be a mechanism – a mechanism is the means by which a function is executed.
example: suppose we have a business function called ‘accept customer order’. This can be done in several ways, for example, by phone, by fax, by e-mail or by snail mail. Each of these methods represents a mechanism for executing the function “accept a customer order”.
The linking together of these mechanisms in a logical and predetermined way gives us a business procedure.
A common way for representing a procedure is the flow chart.
A procedure, like a process, should have a least one trigger and at least one preferred outcome. It can also have one or more non-preferred outcomes. These are controlled and acceptable, though not the preferred, business outcomes for the procedure.
It is a common error to confuse process with procedure and vice versa. Much of the so-called “process modelling” software on the market is, in fact, only suitable for modelling procedure.
The simple rule to remember in order to avoid this confusion is:
- process models show the order in which business functions are carried out – they are all about what the enterprise ought to be doing.
- procedure models show the detail of how process are executed.
procedures are all about the order in which things should be done. The detailed actions for each step in a procedure are usually called work instructions.
Detailed work instructions will define the who, what, when, where, skills, resources and constraints for each step in a procedure.
Procedure modeling is an essential modeling technique to have in business systems modeling, business process modeling and bpm.
However, it is a secondary modelling technique and should never be used as the main means of modelling an enterprise.