ITS 311: IT Communications

Chapter 10: Analyzing a Process

Objectives:

This chapter discusses documents that analyze a process. Objectives important to this chapter:

  1. Types of processes
  2. Types of analyses
  3. Writing an analysis
Concepts:
Types of processes

A process is usually a procedure, a set of steps, that may happen once, often, or as needed. The text lists several categories of processes:

  • linear - a process that follows a specific sequence
  • cyclical - a process that is repeated frequently
  • independent - a process that is not affected by other processes
  • interdependent - a process that is affected by the outcome of other processes, and may affect other processes as well

A process analysis describes a process, explains what is done, by whom, and why. It is not a set of instructions, but instructions may be developed from a process analysis.

Types of analyses

Just as there are different types of processes, the text offers a list of types of process analyses:

  • historical analysis - Think of a history book, a good one, like James Burke's Connections. This kind of analysis tells the reader what happened, why it happened, and what the results were.
  • scientific analysis - This category includes analyses of any scientific process. Consider the many fine articles at Marshall Brain's site, How Stuff Works.
  • organizational analysis - This is the least understandable of the author's categories. It includes analyses of the work of a manager, which seems to fit with the connotation of "organizational". It also includes analyses of any human activity, such as farming, bricklaying, or computer programming.
Writing an analysis

More than any other writing model in the text, an analysis tells a story. It also includes other models, such as definitions and descriptions. An analysis goes beyond those models. It adds a discussion of the steps of the process as they are typically carried out, or as they typically occur, if this is an analysis of a natural process without actors, such as photosynthesis.