Essential Guide to Map Process Basics

A company might do a process map to establish certain standards and procedures. Some organisations use process maps as a diagram or guide to accomplish or perform certain functions in the right order. However, maps alone are not enough. Mapping processes are usually a precursor to setting up a workflow management tool or business process management software.

Step-by-step process for creating a process map

Here are the steps that can serve as your guide to mapping a process.

  1. Establish boundaries.Have a clear definition of the start and end of the process. In some instances, a certain process can lead to multiple outcomes. It is important to map out each possible end result.

  2. List all the steps in the process.Once you have identified the end result of the process, you must proceed with mapping out all the steps that occur in between. If possible, always use an action word to describe each step in the process.

  3. Set an order for the steps.After identifying all the steps involved in the process, the next step is to set them in a workable order. Keep in mind that you must map the current process being done in your organisation.

  4. Use symbols.Use appropriate symbols for each step in the process map. Use ovals for the beginning/end of the process. Squares should be used to denote steps, arrows to mark the direction flow, and diamonds to symbolise decision points. For cyclical processes, make sure that the feedback loop is closed, leading you back to the beginning.

  5. System model.Use the system model approach as your guide to drawing your flowchart. It will help you identify what information should be applied and where.

  6. Check.After completing your process map, always check if it is complete and contains all the pertinent information. Don’t forget to add time and date in case of any modifications.

  7. Review and optimise.After you are done with process mapping, take a look at the map and see if it is being executed the right way. Are there redundant steps that you can do away with? Make gradual changes to improve the process but always keep the people in your team involved and aware of the changes.

If you are considering the use of a business process mapping tool, think about the specific features you are looking for. There are tools with mapping capabilities already built-in. In some cases, maps aren’t even required at all.

Always consider the end goal when staring your process mapping activity. You can start with an old-fashioned approach to mapping processes in your organisation and then gradually consider the option of automating with software and other tools. Regardless of the approach, as long as you follow the correct steps, you are likely to find a methodology that works for you.

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