A process map can be defined as a management and planning tool which explains the workflow visually. It provides a clear framework for production processes, business structures and management responsibilities. Process mapping displays who and what is included in a process and can be employed in any business entity. Besides that, it can also disclose those regions where improvement is needed for a process.
The Process Mapping Steps
- The first of the process mapping steps is to identify the process that you want to map. You must select the process with which you want to start working at first. Often the best choice is to pick the process which is most critical to the organisation first.
- The second step is to establish the scope of the process. Define where the process starts and where it finishes. It must be kept in mind that there will be more than one likely end for some processes. So that is why in order to map every probable outcome it’s essential that all of them must be defined properly.
- The third of the process mapping steps is about ensuring that the proper symbols are being used for every process mapping step. For example, for the process starting or ending ovals are used, for tasks or steps rectangles are used, for decision point’s diamonds have to be used and for marking the process direction flow we use arrows. Usually, from each box only one arrow comes out, however, if two arrows are coming out of a box, then a decision point has to be added. Moreover, it must be made certain that the feedback loop is closed in case the process mapping is cyclical for our chosen process. It has to be done so it goes back in a loop until a certain criterion is met.
- The fourth step is about bringing together the right team. In order to make sure that all aspects of the processes are being covered, you must take the input of all people who are part of the process when mapping it. The right project team must consist of those individuals who are responsible for carrying out and managing the process to ensure input from all areas.
- The fifth step is to start gathering the necessary information for the process mapping. It is important that all steps are properly identified and recorded for clearly understanding who is responsible for what, when and in what manner. At this step we have to collect every possible detail for getting a complete and thorough process map.
- The sixth of the process mapping steps is to interview key figures as a part of gathering information. Here we would need to talk to those people who are involved in the process to learn their understanding of it. From their feedback, problems can be identified and the opportunities for improvements can be identified. Furthermore, you have to be aware of the fact that employees will convey their personal viewpoints and agendas into their work descriptions. However, still it’s essential to hear them out for understanding the process in a better way that wouldn’t be possible without their input.
- The seventh step is that the baseline of process map must be drawn. You have to draw a process map that demonstrates the process as it is run currently. This will help in showing the way in which the process was working before introducing improvements that have been identified. It can be used to make a comparison once a new process map has been planned and implemented. Besides, it is useful when training up new personnel.
- The eighth step is map analysis to identify areas of improvement. Despite of the fact that the process map is ready, the work is not complete to this point. The inefficiencies and bottlenecks within the processes have to be identified. At this point we have to see what steps must be excluded and where improvements can be made.
The last of the process mapping steps is about monitoring the improvements. The new and improved process has to be monitored in order to observe in what way it is working and whether more optimization is required. It must be remembered that only by means of continuous monitoring and optimization it can be expected that the processes will continue to get improved.