11/12/2010

CH-1 notation for business process modelling

About the blog
This blog contains:
-                   Specification of CH-1 notation,
-                   Personal opinion of the author about advantages and specific features of this notation in comparison with some others.

About CH-1 notation

CH-1 notation is intended for process modelling as a sequence of works with indication of:
-                   their performers,
-                   relevant events,
-                   parameters of works and/ or process in whole (for instance, normative duration)
-                   object and information flows.

How the notation appeared

A great deal of the author’s job experience has concerned with business process modeling of various organizations. Both operating ones (in order to systematize and optimize their work) and start-ups. At that, there was no intention to develop any notation at the beginning.
Nevertheless, if methodology IDEF0 is a very convenient tool for functional modelling, then it was not so definite in the selection of notation for workflow modelling.
Notation IDEF3 being a part of IDEF family seemed to be somewhat poor for compact&complete description of real-life processes (note: real-life processes are rather larger than those concerned with working with a corporate information system (!!!)). In case of use of "swim lanes" notation, the diagram may become “dense” and hard-to-read if the process modelled has many participants and many flows (documents flow, objects flow, etc). As for ARIS EPC notation, it seemed somewhat overburdened to me. But there was a need to draw up diagrams that will be (1) sufficiently detailed (i.e. diagram should contain all relevant details of the process) and (2) compact and simple for different people to read and discuss.
So, having begun work in IDEF3, I sometimes introduced new symbols and rules of their use then needed. And so, during several years this notation has crystallized, and it was first published in 2006 (but without a name), and then – under the name of CH-1 and with some clarifications – in 2007.
And how was the name of CH-1 born? It was very simple. Prior to publication there was an urgent need to name the notation, and, to stop guessing, two first letters of the author's surname in Latin spelling and postfix "1" (what if there appears a need for postfix "2" one day) were used.

Specification of CH-1 notation

Download as pdf (to download the file open hyperlink in new window/ tab of your browser, "Save as..." does not work here).

Advantages of CH-1 notation

In the author's opinion, CH-1 notation, as a process visualization tool for organizational design, has the following advantages:
-                   Diagrams are compact&complete, details and specific features of the process modelled do not get lost,
-                   Diagrams are not very hard to read, so they can be used both for discussing new working procedure and for training/ education,
-                   Elements of diagrams can be decomposed,
-                   It is possible to attach templates and examples of any documents to diagrams,
-                   Ability of integration with IDEF0 (one may decompose “works” of IDEF0 into CH-1 diagrams instead of IDEF3 diagrams).
At that, it is possible to note the following advantages of CH-1 in comparison with some other notations.
In comparison with IDEF3:
Much richer language that allows describing the real-life process more comprehensively, and, at that, relatively compactly;
In comparison with «swim lanes» notation:
Diagrams of processes, in which there are more than 3 participants, do not look so "overburdened", and “main line of the process” is easily traced and usually going from the left to the right;
In comparison with ARIS EPC:
Diagrams are more compact, not "overburdened".

CH-1 notation and software

Templates of the symbols used in the notation can be found practically in any software that has libraries (panels, stencils) of graphic primitives. Both commercial software (for example, MS Visio) and freeware. 
There are also special CH-1 symbol libraries for some software. These are: ConceptDraw (for CH-1 solution look here), Diagram Designer (for CH-1 solution look here)Flowchart.com, Dia (for CH-1 solution look here).
Recommendations (on hyperlinks using). If the software allows to create hyperlinks (this is a rather frequent situation), then the following recommendations are proposed:
-           Decomposed items should be linked to their decomposition diagrams via hyperlinks;
-           It is also advisable to attach the templates/ examples of documents used in the business process modelled to relevant items of its diagrams via hyperlinks.

Openness of CH-1 notation

The notation is open in the sense that any user can introduce new symbols or modify the template of symbols already defined in notation for the purpose of drawing his (her) own diagrams. Of course, it is advisable “not to produce entities without necessity”. But the real world is wider than any notations, so completeness of the process model should not suffer from formal limitations of the notation or software used.

Authorship and references

In case of notation use, as well as its mentioning in print works or on the Internet please use its original name.
In case of notation use, as well as its mentioning in your publications (on paper or on the Internet) please use the reference to this page and/ or to the specification of notation attached and/ or to published papers (depending on the used source).
References to published papers are:
S.A. Chernouhov. CH-1 notation of business process modelling (for workflow modelling) // System analysis in design and management: Proceedings of ХI International scientific and practical conference: in 2 parts, Part 2. St. Petersburg: Publishing House of Polytechnical University, 2007, pp. 304-312.
S.A. Chernouhov. On one notation of business process modelling // System analysis in design and management: Proceedings of Х International scientific and practical conference: in 2 parts, Part 2. St. Petersburg: Publishing House of Polytechnical University, 2006, pp. 183-191.

Contacts

The author is open for any questions, constructive remarks and proposals.
For example,
-                   If you are the company developing any graphic software (especially for business processes modelling) and interested in including the library of CH-1 notation symbols in your software,
-                   If you are a developer of a graphic language for process and system modelling and you would like to discuss possible integration of CH-1 notation and your language, etc,
-                   If you plan to start a new enterprise, or if you plan to improve processes of an operating one in order to make it more transparent, flexible and controllable,
-                   If you are engaged in (re-)engineering and modelling of business processes,
-                   Or you have any questions, remarks, proposals,
-                   Or if you have found any error here,
please contact me at the address: chernouhov@gmail.com

Yours faithfully,
Author of CH-1 notation     Sergey Chernouhov
©  Chernouhov S.A., 2010–2018