Improving business processes entails an in-depth look at the current processes. A tool commonly used in improving processes within an organisation is a process map; a visual representation of the steps involved in a process which offers the bigger picture. This is how mapping a process usually starts. There must be a detailed look at how things are done, why they are done, and who is responsible for each task.
Two Phases Involved in Mapping a Process
To see the bigger picture, there are two phases involved:
- The Discovery Map. The purpose of this phase is to define the scope, identify the people involved, and articulate the vision and improvement goals. This is usually created by a small team of people that includes a facilitator, a senior management sponsor, and a project leader.
- The Process Diagram. In the second phase, a more detailed diagram is created. The purpose of this phase is to document the current process in more detail. The team involved in creating a process diagram is usually larger and more collaborative.
In general, these two phases should guide you in business process mapping. Each phase will need to be fleshed out in detail to come to the end result.
Components of a Process Map
There are also basic components included in any process map. These components make up the overall flow and visual representation of the process.
- The overall workflow from the starting point to its completion.
- Tasks or actions. These should be specifically defined in process maps.
- In process maps, this is identified by arrows and lines. This signifies the relationship of each step to another.
- These are triggers that cause the beginning and end of a process.
- There will be decision points within the process that are affected by certain conditions or events.
- This pertains to each person involved in the process or procedure.
It is important that each component is represented accurately and in detail.
Using Tools to Visualise Process Maps
One important aspect of process mapping is the tool you will be using to visualise the map. If you feel you will benefit from a more traditional approach, you can always do so. However, there are popular office tools that allow you to create diagrams with ease. One example is Visio, or there are various Visio alternatives you can choose from with similar functions and features.
You can also download and purchase a complete software solution that will make process mapping a breeze! There are free trials you can take advantage of if you would like to check how compatible the software is and how user-friendly. Automating the process of making flowcharts and diagrams can be a real time-saver especially if you belong to a fast-paced organisation.