Process mapping is a visual mapping activity that defines all of the tasks in a specific process. The foundation of the process map is a detailed flow chart that represents “a picture of what we do.” A complete process map identifies:
- Who is responsible for each step
- Inputs (e.g. documents, tools, resources)
- The standard to which the process should be completed
- Outputs (e.g. reports, invoices, widgets, certifications)
- A means of measuring the success of the process
The goal of process mapping is to help organizations become more efficient by visualizing the process parts, eliminating bottlenecks and duplications, and developing a way to standardize complex activities. The steps we typically follow include:
- Process verification: Developing a full understanding of and documenting all the steps of a given process.
- Information gathering: Identifying goals, risks, key deliverables and resources involved a process. This includes interviewing the various people involved in the process to better understand their perspectives and challenges.
- Mapping: Designing the actual process map.
- Analysis: Applying tools and other forms of analysis to find ways to make the process more efficient and effective.
Benefits of Process Mapping
Identify and address process challenges: The visual representation of a process often makes it easier to see where problems such as bottlenecks, miscommunication or outdated practices are impacting your efficiency.
Eliminate duplication: Trim unnecessary steps from your process to streamline it. This can be especially important when you’re considering service integration, combining two similar processes into one.
Improve new employee orientation: A process map provides a “big picture” look at what employees are expected to do. It can establish expectations and simplify the onboarding process.
Build opportunities to incorporate best practices: If you regularly evaluate your process maps, you can provide an opportunity for staff and management to share or suggest best practices and emerging technologies that might further improve individual steps in the process.
Build stakeholder commitment and morale: Involving all stakeholders in the the process mapping activity lets them see how their role impacts others, helps establish shared ownership of the outcomes, and empowers them to make positive changes in the organization.
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