IDEF0 implementation in QPR PD

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IDEF0 implementation in QPR PD

Someone asked me if IDEF0 can be implemented with QPR ProcessDesigner, does anyone have any experiences?

I've made an analysis of this standard based on the IDEF0 method report (http://www.idef.com/Downloads.htm). This language is defined as a set of rules, which define the graphical properties of elements (syntax rules) and their meaning (semantic rules). There were 28 IDEF0 rules in total - my analysis of IDEF0 is based on how well QPR PD can fulfill the requirements as defined by these rules.

In a nutshell, IDEF0 features only 2 different types of elements (box and arrow) and two main types of diagrams (parent and child). The graphical requirements for these elements and diagrams (e.g. the box is supposed to have square corners; arrows are supposed to be drawn vertically or horizontally) are all implementable in QPR PD by adjusting the graphical properties of the element in question.

It is easier to imitate the visual appearance of IDEF0, than to implement the behavioral properties/meaning of elements (as defined in semantic rules). Most semantic rules can be fulfilled; however, the main limitation in QPR PD relates to the connectors. IDEF0 arrows are segmented, which means that they can be bundled (combining arrow meanings into a composite meaning, indicated by a ‘join’); or unbundled (separation of arrow meanings, indicated by a ‘fork’). QPR PD does allow for a connector to connect to another connector (if the generic connector type is used), but not to multiple other connectors (as in a fork or join). Visually, a fork or join can be achieved using multiple complete/whole arrows connecting to the same starting/ending point respectively, but these arrows will not behave as segments (e.g. the composite/separation relationship of arrow segment meanings will be understood by the system; arrow segments cannot have different names).

Please note that in addition to the rules that can be enforced automatically by the QPR PD software (e.g. box shape), there are several IDEF0 rules that could only be enforced manually (e.g. A box shall be named with an active verb or verb phrase). There are also rules that must for the time being be enforced manually, but that could be automated in the future with additional software development to facilitate modeling (e.g. box/diagram numbering with unique Detail Reference Expression identifiers).

In my opinion, simple/smaller IDEF0 function modeling projects can already be performed with QPR PD (that do not require analysis or reporting from e.g. navigator/analyzer) with the addition of the required 2 new elements to the tool palette (with the appropriate graphical and behavioral settings).For more extensive modeling with IDEF0, it would be better to make IDEF0 its own template/tool palette with customized elements and to develop the above mentioned segmented arrows and automated Detail Reference Expression numbering.

I hope this answer helps you. Let me know if you have any further questions! 

Our Customer Ricoh have used the IDEF0 definition to design their process model in QPR PD. Our contact Jacques Vandepitte has done a great job in the creation of a very comprehensive model, that has been used for a number of years. He has modeled the right level of detail and has created an environment in combination with Metrics, that helped them to to get a European EFQM award. As stated by Virpi, it has been a little bit a hassle to get the flows drawn in decent way, but eventually he managed to get it done in a very decent way.