How do you describe a process to a team? There are lots of tools in the toolkit including value stream mapping, functional swim lanes, context diagrams and SIPOC to name a few. But I find they can be “a little cold” for a non-technical or cross-functional team and I want to “bring it to life”.

Take a simple example from the area I work in, general insurance. To describe the customer claims process in any depth takes time. So when you have a cross-functional team covering front, middle and back office it can mean (even with the tightest time keeping and agenda) that the people at the end of the process don’t get a look in as most of the day has been spent at the beginning/middle of the process, where all the customer interaction happens. So you end-up leaving people out.

As the title suggests my recommendation is Business Scenarios. Rather than cover the generic customer claims process, cover it in a series of business scenarios like

  • The policy holder’s vehicle collided with a lamppost, no one else was involved, it happened at 11:45pm
  • The policy holder’s vehicle was hit by a 3rd party vehicle from behind, both vehicles were drivable, no one appears injured at the scene, 3rd party was insured and traceable
  • The policy holder’s vehicle collided was a 3rd party vehicle on a narrow street, liability is unclear, 3rd party injured and vehicle undriveable

If you start with the simplest scenario where nothing goes wrong (sunny-day) then you can rapidly walk the whole process. You can add complexity as you need to. Maybe include failures in the process and known exceptions (rainy-day) e.g. 3rd party had no insurance.

This approach really opens up the discussion as you are talking to people in the language they relate to. You get to see the true degree of variation required of the process which allows for more robust solutions.

About the Author