The Top 5 reasons why UPN is perfect for Process Workshops

Before we get started, I’m going to be honest… I’ve been a fan of UPN or Universal Process Notation for a long time. I’m a self confessed process geek with a love of making things simple and easy for everyone, so UPN appealed to me straight from the get go. In this blog I’d love to share my reasons why UPN is absolutely perfect for process workshops. If you want to win over your team or get the business excited and collaborating in your processes then UPN is definitely the way forward. Just read on to find out why!

1. Shhhh… don’t mention the P word

If you can actually believe it, not everyone loves processes as much as me. And there are some pretty good reasons why. It’s usually down to a bad experience in a workshop. Perhaps they were locked in a dark room for days picking up fallen post it notes from the floor and slowly losing the will to live. It may have been that the workshop created something so complicated that even the attendees can’t understand it days later. The fact is that often process discovery is a traumatic experience, and if you start off like that how are you going to affect successful change?

UPN, however,  is based around a simple two shape system. This means it doesn’t assume any prior experience with mapping processes, and certainly doesn’t require any training to engage with. Everyone in your workshop can read and understand the process from the very start. . 

This means you can run UPN process workshops without even using the word process…. a potential win already?

2. Head in the cloud vs the weeds

Every workshop has these two characters, firstly the person who can see the big picture very clearly, but struggles when asked about the details and secondly one who jumps straight into the detail, and struggles to see how it fits in the wider end-to-end. Both are very valuable members of the team but this can often cause friction and unsatisfactory results in a workshop.

In Universal Process Notation we look at processes hierarchically. This approach encourages you to define the higher level first and then go into the details. Thus satisfying the different characters in the workshop. Once people can see how it works the conversations become more aligned. 

In addition, once you’ve agreed that higher-level, you can have a conversation around who needs to be involved in the lower-level details, cutting down on unnecessary workshop attendees going forward.

3. Hours, not days (or weeks!)

Often process workshops are an all day affair. Think about this for a minute. There’s a very real cost associated with taking experts out of your business to spend time in workshops. Say you’re running 10 workshops, with 4 experts in each, if each workshop is a day long then that’s 40 days! And that doesn’t even count the lost value in what they would have been doing in their day jobs. 

So now imagine the savings you could get from the same output in a 2 hour workshop? 

This is exactly what UPN lets you do. Designed to be used during the workshop, a facilitator maps the process at the speed of conversation. It drastically cuts down the time needed to achieve your goals and is at least 5 times faster than conventional methods.

Not only is the speed an obvious benefit but the ease also brings increased engagement from attendees. You’ll also find people are more open to that ‘quick Zoom call’ to check through a process. 

4. In-person or remote, you decide

“It can’t be as engaging as people standing up puting post-it-notes on a wall… can it?”

Yes it  absolutely can!

Whether you’re in the boardroom displaying the process on a big TV, or sharing your screen through Zoom or Teams, the fact you’re capturing the process in real-time, adding, deleting, moving stuff around… makes it hugely engaging for people. The process will come alive in front of people, it is really compelling, and makes you look pretty impressive too!

It also means you can decide if you want to get everyone in the same room, or ask them to dial in to a remote meeting. 

In our experience, 80-90% of workshops are now held remotely, so choosing an approach that works in this format is crucial to the success of the project.. 

5. A single version of the truth

Finally – imagine if you will a traditional process workshop – the end result will often consist of and is not exclusive too: A visual of the process (typically a Visio PDF/Screenshot), excel spreadsheets capturing requirements / questions / integrations / systems / compliance points,, training docs (perhaps a series of PPTs, short videos if you’re lucky), system links, Specification docs (50-page Word Doc).

It’s no wonder that people leave with a bad taste in their mouth or the work gets forgotten about two months later. 

The beauty of UPN is that the process that you capture in the workshops gets used throughout the project (and beyond!). 

You can add links and structured data (such as requirements, improvement ideas, etc…) against the processes, and importantly, report on it all. 

You’ve also captured it in a way that can be owned, and improved, by the process owners, meaning that this becomes an ongoing asset for the business. Not only that but as you do this in a workshop you can look for sign-off straight away from stakeholders when it’s still fresh in their minds. 

UPN Process Workshops – Valuable Time Spent  

A process workshop is a vital part of any project but it’s not just enough to go through the motions and get the relevant data. We need to be able to engage and excite the business with the changes or improvements that are planned. UPN is the first step to ensuring that not only does your workshop go with a bang but the time spent by everyone there is useful and of real value to the organisation. Creating a living document that can be used, updated quickly and evolved means the effort invested really is returned. Given that UPN is so easy to learn and use, it truly is a win win situation. 

Get in touch – want to learn more about how Skore can help you get the most out of Process Workshops with UPN?

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