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 (WoS IF '15: 0,953 (Q3, Q2 in 2016)) (Scopus CS '15: 0,96 (Q3, Q2 in 2016)) pdf
The final publication is available via https://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.

  • The 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
  • The figures:
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 6a: Distance from start
    Figure 6b: Create order from start
Figure 7. Scattered or simultaneous delete operations
    Figure 7a: Model 2010-318
    Figure 7b: Model 2010-213
Figure 8. Timing of movement operations: few (a), close to creation (b), at the end (c), scattered (d)
    Figure 8a: Model 2010-312
    Figure 8b: Model 2010-210
    Figure 8c: Model 2010-170
    Figure 8d: Model 2010-228
Figure 9. Order of creation of activities, gateways and edges
    Figure 9a: Model 2010-367
    Figure 9b: Model 2010-237
Figure 10. Order of creation of gateways and activities
    Figure 10a: Model 2010-106
    Figure 10b: Model 2010-361
Figure 11. Chunked modeling
    Figure 11a: Model 2010-201
    Figure 11b: Model 2010-189
Figure 12. Chaotic process of process modeling
    Figure 12a: Model 2010-258
    Figure 12b: Model 2010-270
Figure 13. Similar patterns of creation of elements in simple (a, c) and extensive cases (b, d)
    Figure 13a: Model 2010-354
    Figure 13b: Model 2010-156
    Figure 13c: Model 2010-140
    Figure 13d: Model 2010-136
Figure 14. Similar patterns of element creation in a first (a, c) and second (b, d) modeling effort of the same modeler
    Figure 14a: Model 2010-354
    Figure 14b: Model 2010-355
    Figure 14c: Model 2010-140
    Figure 14d: Model 2010-141
Figure 15. Patterns of creation of elements (a, c) and corresponding process models (b, d)
    Figure 15a: Model 2010-354
    Figure 15b: Model 2010-354
    Figure 15c: Model 2010-140
    Figure 15d: Model 2010-140
Figure 16. Example of a Modeling Phase Diagram and PPMChart for the same PPM instance
    Figure 16a: Modeling Phase Diagram
    Figure 16b: PPMChart
Figure 17. Examples of process visualizations that are not considered to be traditional process models
    Figure 17a: TreeMap
    Figure 17b: Timeline tree
    Figure 17c: Gantt chart
    Figure 17d: E.J. Marey"s train schedule