The principles behind Elements
Elements allows you to build a graphical representation of process information in a diagram. From each activity box on that diagram, you can choose to create a ‘drill-down’, which creates a new blank ‘child’ diagram to describe the detail of the ‘parent’ activity box. This allows you to describe any process in high-level activities, and break it down into ever increasing detail in a managed, linked hierarchy. Each hierarchy is called a ‘Map’.
There is a simple numbering system to understand where you are in the Map. The top level diagram is level 1 of the Map. If you clicked on the top left corner of box 3 to access the child diagram, you would go to Diagram 1.3 of the Map – In that diagram, if you clicked on the top left corner of box 6, you would now be on Diagram 1.3.6 of the Map and so on.
While this is a pragmatic way to break down vast quantities of information into digestible portions, there is an art to creating good diagrams and structuring maps that be easily understood and used by people from any background. See Drawing Diagrams and structuring Maps
It is simple by design. This simple notation has been proven to make process understanding easy for everyone. Capture process knowledge with a single, simple building block to show WHO needs to do WHAT, WHEN and WHY.
Sharing and collaboration
You control access to your Maps. Invite users inside or outside your organization and give them access to view, edit, collaborate or manage your Map content. You can also share content as ‘view only’ with everyone in a given Team Space. The following 8 min video explains Spaces and sharing content.
This sharing model is hugely powerful. It means that you can map the complete end to end processes which involves employees, contractors and suppliers and give each of them access to the same version of the Map. You can all collaborate in a secure environment and literally “get on the same page”.
Multiple tabs in the browser
There are different “applications” within Elements and each opens in its own tab in the browser, and they each work independently:
- Elements Home Page: this is where you manage the major “objects” i.e. Maps, Resources, Data Tables and Users, with more to come.
- Diagram Editor: This is where processes.capture, collaborate and communicate your process knowledge, either as an editor or viewer.
- Reports Viewer: Standard reports on the maps.
There are huge benefits in this approach. You can have multiple tabs open – the Elements Home Page, multiple different diagrams each in a Diagram Editor tab and Reporting – and flip between them. Your productivity will soar. So the perfect excuse to go and get a huge screen, or a second one for your desk.
Don’t worry if you close the Elements Home Page. It doesn’t close down the application. Just click on the ‘Home’ logo on the left and it will open up your Elements Home Page.
Spaces are a container for specified groups of Elements users to share and manage content which is related to specific Resource and Data Table libraries. You might have a Team for a whole company, for a project involving multiple companies or for any specific purpose where you want to manage a group of people around specific content, Resources and Data Table definitions.
To explore Spaces in more detail click here. You can always see which Space you are currently in by looking near the top left of your screen. under the top panel, there is a thinner bar, with “current Space : [Space name]”
Every user has their own Personal Space where content can be created and played with without impacting the Resource or Data Table libraries of a wider group. Think of it as your ‘sandbox’. You can share content with specific users, or change to a different Space (where you are also a user), and copy content to that Space.
You can see the Spaces you have access to (MySpaces) by clicking on the “Spaces” button on the left hand panel. When you login, you will be in your “Default Space”. You can set your default Space in this Spaces page. Each Space can have one or many Admins. You can see the Admins and their contact details by highlighting the Space in the Spaces page and looking in the right panel. The person who creates a Space is by default the Admin but you can add and change Admins.
Where is the Save button?
Every time you make a change on an object by object basis we are continuously saving the
incremental changes back to our central database and then sending the changes to everyone who is viewing the content, so it refreshes automatically.
It means that if you lose your internet connection then all your changes, up until you lost connection, have been saved. Also, whatever you were editing at the time when you lost connection will not be able to save, and Elements will turn the diagram back into View Mode, so you cannot continue working on content which does not save. If you lose internet connectivity, someone else can pick up and start editing the same diagram immediately as there is no edit lock in place from the time that the connection was lost.
How do I learn more about creating useful and understandable Maps?
While the approach is simple, there is an art to creating good diagrams and structuring maps that be easily understood and used by people from any background. See Drawing Diagrams and structuring Maps
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