UPN LO3-6: Best practice 2 – More on verbs

Knowledge needs to be a verb. – W. Edwards Deming
A verb is a word that describes an action or activity. And that’s exactly what processes are all about: Do something so we get business results that add value (to both internal and external customers).
Simply remember:
Always start with an active verb in an activity, NEVER EVER start with a verb on a flow-line. An active verb means do something. So avoid “Customer validation”. Rather use “Validate customer”.
Tiny pitfall ahead: There are some verbs though that need to be avoided. See expert text.


There are a couple of verbs that don’t make sense. Or simply don’t add much value. The most known one is “Manage”. Do you prepare/cook your food, or ‘manage’ your food? Bad examples: Manage IT, Manage HR, Manage Finance. The verb “manage” refers to making decisions. Get something accomplished. It’s a container.
Other tricky verbs are sometimes ‘send’, receive’, ‘accept’, ‘reject’. The best is to check is to see what exactly the value is a verb creates and what the focus is. For example: A customer needs to review a quote. Obviously, the quote needs to get to the customer in some sort of form (send+receive). But the more critical bit here is that the customer reviews the quote and accepts the quote. The core process would be something like: ‘Create quote’ (by Sales) and then ‘Review’ quote’ (by Customer). The result of reviewing the quote can be ‘quote accepted’ or ‘quote rejected.’ A mistake that sometimes happens is that the activity is shown as ‘Accept quote’ rather than ‘Review quote’.