A process map is a tool to visually illustrate how the work flows. It is also a communication tool, a business planning tool and a tool to help manage the organization.
Key elements include:
- Activity steps
- Decision points
The lines and symbols on a process map help us to record concise sentences for every step in the process that tells the reader:
- What is happening.
- Where it is happening.
- When it is happening.
- Who is doing it.
- How inputs and outputs are handled and distributed.
The purpose of process mapping is for better understanding. It involves the gathering and organizing of facts about the work and displaying them so that they can be questioned and improved by knowledgeable people. Process maps aid in understanding by abstracting, using visual charting symbols consistently and masking unnecessary details.
Process mapping improves our understanding of processes and, in essence, boosts our understanding of business and operational performance. Some of the benefits of a well-prepared process map are as follows:
Employees can participate in constructing a process map. This is one of the most important benefits because it gives employees an opportunity to experience a shared view. The methodology is the catalyst to give businesses and organizations access to more diversity, creativity and innovation.
- Some of the best solutions to business problems come from within the organization.
- Employees are more often than not astonished by the complexity of the process and delighted to see the "actual process" for the first time. They say it reveals the issues and gaps that cause business and operational problems. Furthermore, people may be more willing to participate in a change initiative and pitch in with new ideas when they are directly involved. This helps to increase the probability of success and encourages a higher level of involvement and agreement.
Process mapping allows you to visually illustrate and convey the essential details of a process in a way that written procedures cannot do. A process map can replace many pages of words.
Process maps can save you time and simplify your projects because they can:
- Build, influence and accelerate the "Opportunity Assessment" and "Design" phases of a project.
- Effectively communicate ideas, information and data visually.
- Aid in solving problems and making decisions.
- Identify actual or ideal paths and can reveal problems and potential solutions.
- Be produced quickly and economically by a skilled individual.
- Show processes broken down into steps using symbols that are easy to follow and understand.
- Show intricate connections and sequences easily, allowing for immediate location of any element of a process.
- Show an entire business process from beginning to end and can be used to understand the current-state and to design and depict the future-state process.
Process maps help you to understand the important characteristics of a process, allowing you to generate useful analytical data in order to derive findings, draw conclusions and formulate recommendations. Furthermore, process maps allow you to systematically ask many important probing questions that lead to developing a view on business process improvement.
Processes are the most effective way to manage an organization at any level and eventually support its overall goals. By improving processes, a business or organization can improve internal efficiencies, effectiveness, adaptability and customer service levels.
Documenting processes involving people, particularly employees, can lead to insights and changes that can help improve an area or operation. One way to understand a process is to start thinking about its major elements - inputs, outputs, activity steps, decision points, enablers and functions.
Improving processes include:
- Eliminating entire processes or sub-processes that are unnecessary.
- Automating manual activity steps.
- Combining steps.
- Outsourcing elements of the process.
- Changing the location where steps are done or the people performing them.
- Altering or modifying how activity steps are done.
BUSINESS PROCESS IMPROVEMENT, BUSINESS PROCESS REDESIGN AND REENGINEERING INITIATIVES:
SIX SIGMA - Process maps are used in the ANALYZE PHASE to create "As-Is" maps and in the IMPROVE PHASE to create the "To-Be" process maps.
ISO - Map and analyze the major business processes in preparation for ISO documentation. Quality system documentation clarifies what is expected of workers and increases the likelihood of consistent operation.
Gather process related information and create a static model in preparation for simulation projects.
Develop the model building skills necessary to become an effective Simulation Analyst before investing in extensive simulation training.
Prepare your organization to make the transition into system requirements analysis because they describe how the functions would interact with a system to complete an activity step.
Create the Business Requirements Document. Business Analysts can use process maps to structure business user requirements in order to be able to validate them and document them for use by others.
Identify the types and function of information systems or applications used in the process. Process mapping is useful when projects involve integrating enterprise applications with current legacy and custom applications.
Map the steps to document the Contingency, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plans. Process mapping fosters discussion, communication, ideas and visually illustrates the key steps required to develop these plans.
DOCUMENT, REVIEW AND ANALYZE CURRENT-STATE PROCESSES:
Mapping the current-state is an important first step in process improvement projects and other major corporate initiatives.
Protect your organization's knowledge capital by mapping critical processes.
Find out how processes work and why they behave the way they do.
Stay focused on factual details, not on someone's opinion.
Identify root cause of sub-standard process performance.
Establish a baseline in order to validate improvement and justify change or capital expenditures.
Promote and foster a process-centric attitude in the workplace.
DESIGN FUTURE-STATE BUSINESS & OPERATIONAL PROCESSES:
INTEGRATION OF PROCESSES FOR ACQUISITIONS, MERGERS AND NEW SERVICES.
Ensure effective integration of business operations, including formation of common business practices and understanding of system platforms.
Establish common business practices.
Identify who will be affected in order to prepare them for change, re-assignment or training.
Get people to think together towards a common goal in a structured way.
Identify stakeholder issues and gaps at the outset.
SELLING AND DECOMMISSION OF BUSINESS OPERATIONS.
Map the processes required for a seamless transition of customer records, files or accounts and methodical shut-down of business operations.
Share process maps with purchaser to enhance communication.
Process Mapping Associates Inc. can meet your process mapping needs efficiently, effectively and economically. We have a distinctive methodology that captures the essential static and dynamic details of a process with a view on process improvement.