Method & Tools

Process cards

Process cards could be used for off-line modeling of processes in workshops:

Number of participants: 3-7 (best case, could be more or less, but than it may becomes inefficient)

Duration of modeling workshop: 3-6 h (best case, shorter meetings are to short for walk through, longer meetings are too hard for concentration)

Rules for modeling with process cards:

  1. Use for every task, event, gateway or object a own single card.
  2. Tasks are described with verb + object (e.g. approve request, unload truck, calculate price)
  3. Events are described “passive” in simple past (e.g. message received, request send, truck arrived) or with conditions (e.g. stock < 10.000 pcs) or with time expresions (e.g. 8.00, after 2 h, Monday morning). There are start, end and intermediate events.
  4. Objects are used for documents, digital information, physical things and so on (e.g. Request form, database table, a pizza)

Modeling procedure:

  1. Define start and end event for processes with all participants
  2. Workshop participants have 15 minutes to write down activities, gateways, objects and intermediate events. If there are more than one process and the group is big enough split into smaller groups and every group write down one process.
  3. Walk through every process with all participants. Per process one participant has to explain every single task in detail (What is done there, how is the work done, which objects are used, which conditions are relevant, etc.) All others ask questions and together the participants could immediately add new tasks, gateways, events and objects to enrich the process, but continue and focus on getting the walk through completed.
  4. Repeat step 3 until no more details are required.










You are interested into the template of the process cards (available as PDF) or you would like to have a small set of process cards for testing purposes. Please contact me:

Process modeling in workshops

Last week I explained how I manage to chair a process modeling workshop. Today I would like go into detail to the point of process modeling in workshops.

My goals for this are:

- easy to use and understand even for people which never thought about process modeling

- close to BPMN

- easy to transport

- visible for every participant of a workshop

I tried various things within the last years:

  • Using modelings tools with a beamer (not really off-line)
  • Using white boards and draw processes
  • Using static foils (e.g.
  • Using Post-It®s
  • Using facilitation cards with
    • magnets and white boards
    • with pin and pin boards
    • with tape and brown paper

In the end currently I prefer facilitation cards, because the are available in any company or easy to organize, available in many colors and big enough. But I struggled with the magnets, pins and tape. It often happens that after a few minutes of discussion right in the middle of the process some steps have to be added. It is really hard to take the cards of or shift the cards if they were attached to a wall. Or they drop because the pin is not long enough or the Post-It® do not stick well on dusty walls. Therefore i decided to switch into the horizontal.

Today I use tables.

All cards are arranged on the tables and the participants are staying around it. The cards can not drop, they are very easy to move and shift. Tables could be arrange to one very long row or a circle or or or. You have really enough space to work. The walls and brown papers are used for other stuff (like expectations, open topics, etc.).

Additionally after using facilitation cards fore a while I decided to design my own process cards, which are based on BPMN:

Task       Gateway      Event       BO

I printed those cards in postcard size on thick paper, they were really great. It is easy to mark necessary additional information, showing up the process flow and are more special than facilitation cards which has a positiv effect to the motivation of the participants.

You are interested into the template of the process cards (available as PDF) or you would like to have a small set of process cards for testing purposes. Please contact me: