A visual analysis of the process of process modeling

Jan Claes, Irene Vanderfeesten, Jakob Pinggera, Hajo A. Reijers, Barbara Weber, Geert Poels
Information Systems and e-Business Management, Vol 13 (1), p. 147-190, 2015 (IF-2015: 0,953 - Q3 (Q2 in 2016)) pdf
The final publication is available via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10257-014-0245-4


Abstract. The construction of business process models has become an important requisite in the analysis and optimization of processes. The success of the analysis and optimization efforts heavily depends on the quality of the models. Therefore, a research domain emerged that studies the process of process modeling. This paper contributes to this research by presenting a way of visualizing the different steps a modeler undertakes to construct a process model, in a so-called PPMChart. The graphical representation lowers the cognitive efforts to discover properties of the modeling process, which facilitates the research and the development of theory, training and tool support for improving model quality. The paper contains an extensive overview of applications of the tool that demonstrate its usefulness for research and practice and discusses the observations from the visualization in relation to other work. The visualization was evaluated through a qualitative study that confirmed its usefulness and added value compared to the Dotted Chart on which the visualization was inspired.

Additional material.

Evolving PPMChart

Below is a link to a PowerPoint presentation that shows how the PPMChart evolves during the construction of a process model
PowerPoint presentation


Download all figures here.

Figure 1. Example of a Dotted Chart for the full event log with multiple PPM instances and for an event log containing events of only one PPM instance (each line representing the operations on a different process model element)
  • Figure 1a: Full event log: multiple PPM instances
  • Figure 1b: Transformed partial event log: only one PPM instance

Figure 2. The process of process modeling and the attributes of the captured data

Figure 3. Visualization of the events in the construction of one model by one modeler

Figure 4. rocess model in BPMN notation as result of the modeling process in Fig. 3

Figure 5. Screenshot of the PPMChart window in ProM. (Model 2012-184)

Figure 6. Additional sort order options in the PPMChart implementation

Figure 7. Scattered or simultaneous delete operations

Figure 8. Timing of movement operations: few (a), close to creation (b), at the end (c), scattered (d)

Figure 9. Order of creation of activities, gateways and edges

Figure 10. Order of creation of gateways and activities

Figure 11. Chunked modeling

Figure 12. Chaotic process of process modeling

Figure 13. Similar patterns of creation of elements in simple (a, c) and extensive cases (b, d)

Figure 14. Similar patterns of element creation in a first (a, c) and second (b, d) modeling effort of the same modeler

Figure 15. Patterns of creation of elements (a, c) and corresponding process models (b, d)

Figure 16. Example of a Modeling Phase Diagram and PPMChart for the same PPM instance

Figure 17. Examples of process visualizations that are not considered to be traditional process models