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Process Analysis I: Flow Charts, Decision Tables, Decision Trees


Waves of fashion / variety of uses. Programming. Documenting processes ... Shows conceptually what is going on you step through the decision-making process ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Process Analysis I: Flow Charts, Decision Tables, Decision Trees

Process Analysis I Flow Charts, Decision Tables,
Decision Trees
  • Yale Braunstein
  • School of Information Management Systems

  • These lectures all relate to processes
  • Describing, analyzing, developing, modifying,
  • Types of processes include
  • Decision processes
  • Data flow manipulation processes,
  • Specific approaches depend on internal needs
    practices, standards
  • A process model is a formal way of representing
    how a business operates

Flow charts
  • There are several standards just be consistent
  • Manual methods vs. automated tools
  • Visio, PowerPoint, etc.
  • Waves of fashion / variety of uses
  • Programming
  • Documenting processes
  • Multi-user settings
  • General documentation of all sorts

Flow chart techniques
  • Basic symbols
  • Terminator
  • Process
  • Decision
  • Predefined process
  • On-page connector
  • Connector

Flowchart guidelines
  • Top to bottom, left to right on the page
  • Activity being flowcharted should be defined
    carefully and made clear to reader
  • Identity start and end
  • Use one-verb (verb-noun) descriptions
  • Examples prepare statement, file record
  • Keep steps in proper sequence
  • Observe scope range of activity branches
    should be on separate pages
  • Use standard symbols lines should NOT cross
  • Use cross-overs only if necessary keep lines
  • No blind alleys or endless loops

Samples (with comments)
  • Dining room table (again)
  • Only partially complete, has potentially endless
  • Still partially complete, but with additional
  • Flow of logic in an SPSS session
  • No terminators, no decision points
  • Flow of information in a survey
  • No terminators, no decision points, but clear
    distinction betweens types of processes
  • How to obtain your FBI file (or Elviss)
  • Why you might want to do this (if time permits)

Common problems
  • Distinguish between do it and schedule it
  • Avoid endless loops
  • Account for follow-up on holds / pauses /
    unable to process conditions, etc.
  • Make clear whether data flows and telecom links
    are one-way or two-way
  • Do NOT link to processes use connectors

Other uses for Visio
  • Document spreadsheets
  • Functional decomposition diagrams
  • Network wiring diagrams
  • E-R diagrams for databases
  • Organization charts
  • Statistical documentation output
  • Crime scene documentation, time lines, etc.

Links to some of these are on the course download
Decision tables Decision trees
  • Sometimes DFDs and E-R diagrams do not work
    adequately or the nature of the problem is more
  • First, a slight digressionIt may help to
    specify the underlying logic in structured
  • Structured programming natural English
    Structured English

Examples of Structured English - 1
  • For each customer number in the customer table
  • For each loan in the loans table that matches the
    above customer number
  • Keep a running total of loans
  • Keep a running total of the original loan
  • Keep a running total of the current loan balance
  • Keep a running total of the amounts past due

Examples of Structured English - 2
  • Sequence of Actions approach
  • Action 1 Go to inventory area
  • Action 2 present ID to guard
  • Action 3 Pick items from stock
  • Action 4 Wand the items

Action Conditions can be simple or complex
  • Simple Condition Actions
  • If item is on shelf
  • Then sequence of actions
  • Else sequence of actions
  • Complex Condition Actions
  • Do the following based on the customer order
  • Case 1 Construct turkey sandwich
  • Case 2 Assemble taco salad
  • Case 3 Construct pastrami sandwich

Decision tables
  • May be a better alternative to characterize the
    actions taken in a given task
  • Tabular form of presentation that specifies a set
    of conditions and their corresponding actions
  • Sometimes used for guidance in decision-making,
    especially if trying to routinize a process.

Example Should we cash the check?
  • Awful pun may go here
  • We can document the process with a flow chart or
    with a decision table (or both)
  • Which one is better?
  • Depends on common practice in organization
  • May depend on the specifics of the process
  • The policy (decision rule)
  • A customer with check-cashing privileges is
    entitled to cash personal checks up to 75 and
    payroll checks from pre-approved local employers.

Construction of the decision table
  • Four main parts
  • Conditions vs. Actions
  • Stub vs. Entry
  • Conditions think of a series of if statements
  • Actions think of a series of then statements

General format
The cash a check table
Decision trees
  • A decision tree is an alternate approach to
    representing decision situation
  • More graphical
  • Easier to change (sometimes)
  • Shows conceptually what is going onyou step
    through the decision-making process
  • Legend
  • Salaried?
  • Hours worked lt 40?
  • Hours worked 40?