The Difference Between Flowchart Diagrams and Process Tempo Models

May 9, 2017

There must be hundreds of diagram solutions on the market today and many of them look and act the same. The artifacts that they create also tend to look very similar. Whether it is a Visio diagram, a flowchart or a workflow model they all cater to building linear models which have a defined starting point and a defined end point.

 

Take a look at the example workflow below. It was designed to describe how the metric "Customer Revenue" is generated and where it is sourced from. You can see from the highlighted arrows (in blue) the path the data takes:

Image courtesy of: https://www.collibra.com/blog/lineage-vs-traceability-understanding-the-differences/ 

 

 

Now let's try to demonstrate the same process using Process Tempo:

Like in the flowchart, a Process Tempo user can highlight portions of the model in order to add emphasis but to those familiar with flowcharts one thing stands out: Why is the arrow from Data Aggregation to Order Table reversed? Shouldn't data flow in one direction?

 

In our model, the process Data Aggregation consumes data from the Order Table.  This makes sense since data doesn't simply move by itself, something else must act on it.

 

Note: The colors in the model denote the category of information: Yellow = Process, Light Gray = Data, Dark Gray = Software, Green = Metric.

 

Now if you compare the two models and ask a simple question: Where does Customer Revenue come from? You should be able to answer this question. When you ask the next logical question: How? Only one of the two model shines. The more questions you start to ask the more you will find that Process Tempo models are far superior to other modeling options.

 

It turns out that the Data Aggregation process impacts five other parts of this model and sits at a critical junction making this entire process work. Does the workflow diagram demonstrate this? Not really.

 

The key to remember is that Process Tempo models enforce consistency, diagram tools do not. By enforcing consistency your models may require a second look to understand but in the end you will have a very rich set of data to ask questions of.  With flowcharts you will end up with a bunch of pretty pictures each telling a very linear story.

 

 

 

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