Process Mapping: Part 2.

In an earlier post, I had outlined how to construct a simple flowchart. In this post, let us see how can add more detail and enhance this flowchart using different techniques like SIPOC (six sigma), value stream mapping (lean), swim lane etc.

Swim lane diagrams: This is an extension of flowcharts and includes additional details like
  • Actors: The people, groups, teams, etc, who are performing the steps identified within the process.
  • Phases: These might reflect the phases of the project, different areas of the project, or any secondary set of key elements that the process flow needs to traverse to successfully complete this process.
Some times, these are also called cross functional flowcharts. This method of allows you to quickly and easily plot and follow processes and, in particular, the handoffs between processes, departments and teams and identify inefficiencies easily.
For example, if you look at the image shown, the flow chart is extended with additional information (phases are distinctly listed in the columns and the actors are listed in the rows).

SIPOC diagrams
: This is an extension of flowcharts and clearly indicates the suppliers, input, process, output and customers. In some cases, the process can be shown not only in a simple flowchart but also using swim lanes. SIPOC depiction of the process is very useful because it clearly identifies who supplies the information, which organization is impacted by the process and who generates the output and what the deliverables are.

Value stream mapping: This is an extension of flow charts & swim lanes and clearly identifies management and information systems that support the basic process. This methodology started as part of LEAN manufacturing with an emphasis on reducing wastes within manufacturing, but the benefits of using this across all business processes are valuable. The primary goal of this depiction is to clearly identify value added and non value added tasks performed in order to minimize wastes. It clearly outlines all tasks tasks, cycle time for each of the tasks so that the reviewer/management can identify how the process can be improved.

"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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