Adapting the YaSM Process Map to your organization

     

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The YaSM process model for Visio® is completely flexible when it comes to adapting the service management processes to the needs of your organization.

Adapting the YaSM processes is easy because the YaSM® Process Map contains ordinary Visio diagrams that can be modified in any way, plus a small database with object definitions - the "Excel® repository".

The repository is a central place where to define and manage all descriptive information and link data for the processes, data objects and roles used in the Visio diagrams.

The "repository add-in" establishes the link between the Excel repository and the Visio process diagrams: You are thus able to quickly add new process, role or data object shapes to the Visio diagrams with a mouse-click; the shapes' links and descriptions will be set automatically with the information specified in the Excel repository.

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Video transcription

The YaSM® Process Map with its process diagrams is the ideal tool if you want to understand how service management works, but of course what you get from us is not static content.

In fact we provide process templates in popular formats, such as Visio® and ARIS™, that you can adapt to the needs of your organization - which is perfectly allowed since YaSM after all is not a standard but a set of recommendations, and nobody would expect you to implement the YaSM processes to the letter.

So today I'm going to show you a few examples of how you can go about changing and adapting the YaSM process diagrams in Visio.

My first message here is that you can do to these diagrams whatever is possible in Visio. There are no locks whatsoever, you can add any type of shape that is available.

But we provide a number of features that will help you with keeping a consisting look and feel of the diagrams.

How to change the content of the flow charts

First, there is a collection of master shapes - you can see them down here in my document stencil. These are the shapes we used ourselves when creating the original diagrams, and you can also use them if you need to add, say, an additional activity:

In that case you can drag an activity shape from the document stencil onto the diagram, then adjust the sequence flow a bit... and also add an additional sequence flow... and then you can enter some description into the new task shape.

Of course it is also possible

  • to change the text in existing tasks
  • or in the notes below the tasks,
  • or indeed you can delete what you don't need.

There are no limits whatsoever.

How to change the looks of particular shapes

The nice thing about using master shapes is that a link is maintained between the shapes and their master. That's a big advantage if, for example, you want to change the looks of particular shapes, and I'll show you quickly how this works.

We open the master with a double-click and, for demonstration purposes, let's now change the background color of this shape to something that makes a difference. Then we close the master, and as you can see this changes the background color of all the task shapes.

So with the master shapes you can change the format of a number of shapes in one single place; there is no need to adapt every shape individually.

This was simple enough because the activities down here in the swim lanes typically occur only once in the whole process model, and that's why it's no problem to edit the descriptions directly within the shapes.

How to modify the descriptive information

Things are a bit different up here where we have processes and data objects:

As you may have seen in my earlier videos, a process shape has a link to a process diagram, and it also has some descriptive information in the shape data fields, such as

  • the process name,
  • a brief description of the process,
  • a reference number,
  • the superior process,
  • a unique identifier,
  • and a status value.

Status values can be handy if you introduce YaSM processes step by step:

If, say, a process is not yet active but in the planning stage, you can enter "In planning" here and as you can see this makes the shape turn grey. So, by entering anything different than "Active" in the status field you can "grey out" a process - and if you change this to "Active" again, the shape will turn green again.

Using the Excel repository and the Visio repository add-in

Now, as you can imagine, a process like this one is used in many diagrams. And whenever it's used, it needs to have the correct link and the correct descriptive information.

Obviously, adding hyperlinks and descriptions manually every time we use the process would be a lot of work, so a lot speaks for having a central repository somewhere where we manage the processes with all their attributes.

Such a repository comes with the YaSM® Process Map, and also a kind of Visio® macro ("add-in") that we can use for picking items from the repository and inserting them into the Visio diagrams.

If you install our add-in, you will get a couple of new commands up here in the add-ins tab.

And now, with the repository and the add-in, you can do the following:

You can create a fresh process shape like this. This is still a blank process shape, there's no link yet, therefore we cannot see a plus sign. And it has no useful information in the shape data fields.

And now we click on the "Select" command to get a list of all the processes from the repository. We can enter a search pattern to narrow down the list a bit, and then select a process from the list.

  • This will set the process name,
  • the link to the process diagram
  • and also the descriptive information in the shape data fields.

How does this work?

Probably you guess already that we pick the processes from some kind of small database. In fact our object repository is not a database but an Excel® file with a couple of simple tables.

Here, for example, we have the Process table. In this table every process is defined in one row.

  • Every row starts with a unique ID.
  • Then we have a couple of cells with the process properties, such as the reference number,
  • the process name,
  • its description,
  • the next higher level process,
  • and the status value.

Obviously these properties are the same ones that we've seen before in Visio in the shape data fields.

And here in the last three cells we also define the link for the process, pointing to the correct process diagram.

Down here at the bottom you can see that we have several tables in this Excel workbook,

  • one for processes,
  • and other ones for the YaSM objects,
  • other data objects,
  • and the roles used in the YaSM® Process Map.

So we can use the same mechanism to easily insert data objects into the Visio diagrams:

  • First we create a new data object shape and then click on "Select" to bring up a list of the YaSM objects defined in the repository. Again, we can select one from the list and that will set the name of the object, the links to the checklist and the lifecycle diagram and the descriptive information.
  • Now we also add an association - like this -
  • ... and another one...
  • and in fact we have now defined a new output from this process.

To change the responsibilities in the process,

  • we can, for instance, create some space at the bottom of the page, insert an additional swim lane below the existing one,
  • add a new role shape to the swim lane,
  • pick a role from the repository as needed,
  • and then drag an activity or two into the new swim lane.
  • And we also need to adjust the sequence flows a bit so the diagram looks perfect again.

Adjusting the Excel repository

Now, before we finish, I'd also like to point out that you can, of course, change the repository, just as you can change the Visio diagrams.

For example, you can go down to the end of the process table and insert an additional row, which amounts to adding a new process to the repository.

  • You would start by entering a new unique ID,
  • then you put in the reference number, a process nameand a description. We don't have to fill in every field but in the status field we say that the process is "In planning".
  • And if we don't have a diagram yet for the new process we leave the link fields empty.

Now we save the repository and close it, and go back to Visio.

  • And here, back in Visio, instead of creating a new process shape we select an existing one, bring up the list of processes,
  • and search for the new process. ... Here it is ...
  • and by clicking on "OK" we switch this process over to the new one we've just created in the repository.

As you can see the process shape is shown in grey because we set the status to "In planning", and also there is no plus sign in the process shape because we didn't enter any link information.

So, we have a simple mechanism here for managing objects in a repository and inserting those objects easily into the Visio diagrams.

Updating the Visio diagrams

Of course we also need a way of updating the shapes if changes were made to the repository.

To show you how this can be done, we first do some small change in the repository, such as giving a few sub-processes of "Incident management" a new status of "In planning".

Once the repository is saved, you can select a couple of shapes in the diagram and then use the Refresh command. This will update the selected shapes with current information from the repository, and two incident management processes are now shown in grey because of the new "In planning" status, as expected.

There's a second option to update the diagrams if there were many changes in the repository: If you click on Refresh file, this will update all the shapes in the currently open Visio file in one go.

It's easy to adapt the YaSM process model to your organization

With these examples I wanted to demonstrate that the YaSM® Process Map is completely flexible when it comes to adapting it to the needs of your organization. This applies to the Visio® version of our YaSM model, as shown in this video, and also to the other platforms like ARIS™.

I'm afraid we cannot cover all the details here because that would take too long, but then our process model contains a user manual with further information. And you can also get in touch with us if you need any help!

 

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