The Practical Guide to BPR Using IDEFO

Author: Clarence G. Feldmann
Publisher: Dorset House (ISBN 0-932633-37-4)

“The Practical Guide to Business Process Reengineering using IDEF0″, by Clarence G. Feldmann and published by Dorset House, is more a book about IDEF0 modeling than Business Process Reengineering

The book is well organized into six chapters, five appendices, a glossary and an index. Concepts are supported throughout the text with numerous diagrams and illustrations. IDEF0 conventions,
benefits, and history are all well presented, but anyone seeking a “how-to” on BPR will not find much here.

The book provides chapters on the utility of IDEF0, its use by the Department of Defense (DoD) in process improvement, as well as IDEF0 syntax and semantics, their application (called pragmatics),
and tips.

The first chapter is about the value of using IDEF0. The author provides an overview, an informative history, and a description of IDEF0 elements. He finishes chapter 1 with all too brief
descriptions of IDEF0 positioning relative to scoping, the Systems Development Life Cycle, CASE, systems analysis, and Object Oriented methods. Surprisingly no mention is made of Zachman’s
Framework for Information Systems Architecture.

The process improvement chapter is the only portion of the book specific to BPR and it is brief. Feldmann does describe his experiences with the DoD and reengineering. He presents a table with the
DoD’s 25-step BPR process. He discusses benefits of IDEF0 in Enterprise Reengineering. Feldmann also describes the Reader/Author Cycle and Workshop approaches to gathering information. He
completes his BPR chapter with a treatise on the value of AS-IS modeling and presents four examples of how IDEF0 can be used to improve an enterprise.

The third chapter of the book describes principles, benefits and features of using IDEF0. A well-illustrated comparison to data flow diagramming is included. The chapter finishes with explanations
of abstraction and the place of data analysis relative to function analysis.

A practical presentation of IDEF0 syntax, semantics and pragmatics are presented in the next two chapters. The author notes that FIPS PUB 183 provides the precise, original definition of IDEF0
syntax and semantics, but Chapter 4 does provide a nice overview. The basics of input, control, output and mechanism (ICOM) arrows along with decomposition are nicely covered here. Pragmatics,
covered in Chapter 5, presents an overview of how to apply IDEF0 in activity modeling.

The final chapter presents “Do’s and Don’ts” where the author clarifies and expands upon the material already presented.

The appendices may well be the most useful part of the book. Appendix A describes the types of models and decomposition strategies. The next section provides many interesting sample models. A
rather academic and dry treatment of SADT and IDEF0 is in Appendix C. In Appendix D, where SADT data modeling, IDEF0 and IDEF1X are positioned, the author asserts that “some amount of process
modeling should be done before data modeling.” The final section provides an insightful case study.

The primary concern about the book is its light treatment of BPR concepts. Also, the points made in the “Do’s and Don’ts” section might have been better presented in the related sections of the
text; the separate chapter seems redundant or confusing at times, making a single topic difficult to review. A detailed treatment of how to use activity based costing in process analysis and
redesign would have been most welcome. Finally, the book seems incomplete without a listing of tools that support IDEF0 modeling.

All things considered, this book is recommended with reservations. It is the best-written summary of IDEF0 presently in print.


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About Todd Owens

Todd Owens has over fifteen years experience as an industrial engineer, programmer, systems analyst, data administrator, methodologist, college instructor and consultant. His most recent endeavors have been in IS consulting for an aircraft manufacturer in North Texas. Todd M. Owens Independent Consultant (972) 410-1040