Process Mapping: Part 1

Process Mapping refers to activities involved in defining a business process (Who does What, When, Where, how and Why). Once this is done, there can be no uncertainty as to the requirements of every internal business process.

It is a visual depiction of the sequence of events that occur from the beginning to the end of the business process.

Process maps can be constructed using a number of different techniques like flowcharts, swim lanes, process maps. Six Sigma methodologies recommend using a SIPOC approach. SIPOC stands for supplier, input, process, output and customers to clearly identify the handoffs, the inputs and outputs.

Let us start with the simplest approach, a flowchart.

How does one create a process map with a flowchart?

Step 1: Determine the Boundaries: Identify the start and end of the processes. Observe the process in action (if possible).

Step 2: List the Steps in the process. My recommendation is to start with post-it notes, identify the steps.

Step 3: Sequence the Steps: now place the post-it notes in the order

Step 4: Draw Appropriate Symbols

  1. Start with the basic symbols:
  2. Ovals show input to start the process or output at the end of the process.
  3. Boxes or rectangles show task or activity performed in the process.
  4. Arrows show process direction flow.
  5. Diamonds show points in the process where a yes/no questions are asked or a decision is required.
  6. Usually there is only one arrow out of an activity box. If there is more than one arrow, you may need a decision diamond.
Step 5: Finalize the Flowchart
  1. Check for completeness and duplication/redundancy
  2. Ask if this process is being run the way it should be.
  3. Do we have a consensus?
Here is an example of flow chart.

"Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are my own only and in no way represent the views, positions or opinions - expressed or implied - of my employer (present and past) "
"Please post your comments - Swati Ranganathan"


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