1. Identify Core Processes
Last time, we followed the money trail and identified
your business core processes. We discussed where to best start a change in one of
those core processes. And we introduced the technique of producing a process map. So this
week, lets take a further look at how to create a process map and see how it
creates knowledge to benefit you and your organization.
2. Use Process Maps as Communication Tools
A process map is a flow diagram of the
primary processes within an organization. It very specifically shows you
both who and what is involved in a process, as well as the requirements
for that process to be effective.
The primary goal is to use the map as a
communication tool. It is to show the sequence of interactions of the
elements involved in the process. And so process maps are drawn and used
by organizations to achieve several benefits:
- Increase process understanding
- Clarify process boundaries, ownership and effectiveness
- Identify process sequences
- Isolate core processes, bottlenecks and opportunities for
- Clarify the interaction of Customer, Supplier, Management
and Operations processes
- Provide a tool for training and discussion
In other words, a process map details what happens first,
second and third in a process. It shows what happens in each step along the way. And this
is drawn in graphical form for easier communication and understanding.
This type of map shows the big picture of
10-20 core processes within an organization. The map also shows the critical elements
within each section and its importance within the whole system. And these sections, or
bands, are what relate the processes to each other AND to the outside suppliers and
3. Link Suppliers and Customers
Although there are several ways to draw a process map,
the basic diagram is typically constructed in four bands. And these four bands link
together Customers, Primary Processes, Secondary Processes and Suppliers.
You improve effectiveness by showing the specifics of a
process. And sometimes weve learned the hard way that the development phase of a
project or a process is far more expensive than the planning phase.
And so by thinking through and perfecting your processes
beforehand, you decrease waste in development time. With a detailed process map, you
identify and decrease such waste wherever it occurs in the process.
Here are a few key points to keep in mind while process
- Identify core processes to support mission and goals
- Determine how to create value for the customer throughout
- Map ownership and performance metrics along with the
- Engage your people in process mapping to define problems
Now, lets break down the process map even further.
4. Define Steps of the Process
Weve just defined the big picture process map as a
sequence of interactions of multiple processes. These multiple processes consist of
multiple steps. As weve discussed, the benefits are better communication and
understanding and a decrease in waste. And this offers a great big picture
view of your organizations processes. But
When you go to write your organizations procedures,
you need more detail. Youll need a method to define the sequence of interactions of
each step. And you do this with a procedure map. Heres an example of a typical
With this refined procedure map, you
can see the steps that go into an organization’s competency process,
including the suppliers and customers for each of those steps.
This method identifies the Suppliers of the specific data
used as an Input for the Process to create Outputs for the Customer. The map also gives
you both effectiveness and performance criteria for this process owner(s). With such
measurement criteria, you set the mark for continuous improvement of the process.
And so by creating a procedure map, you will further
increase communication and understanding within your organization. Procedure maps become a
strong tool in training, either to familiarize new employees to their jobs or to increase
efficiency and performance with current employees.
5. Communicate, Understand and Apply Knowledge
Both process and procedure maps are crucial in an
organization. And so as a rule of thumb, never develop a procedure or system of procedures
without first creating a process and procedure map. Acting like a table of contents, a
process map helps organize the chapters of a complex book in a way that this knowledge can
easily be communicated, understood and applied.