Process Mapping – What’s The Point?
Similar to how you would plan to write an article back in grade school, involves flow charts and brainstorming. Mapping can help you to improve the quality of your final deliverable for the customer, and also make more effective process decisions along the way. It can help you better communicate the steps needed in order to get the job done correctly. Your project team, key stakeholders, and fellow project managers will greatly appreciate having this outline before they embark on their next project!
Has grown and popularity over the past couple of years due to:
- The maturity of projects requiring extreme planning
- The desire to better communicate tasks in a visual way to people who are completing the deliverable
A process map can help visual learners on your project team be more successful. A process map can display:
- Who each deliverable belongs to
- The relationship between different departments
- The involvement of both internal and external entities, such as the project team and stakeholders
Your process map does not need to be an official document:
- Having even a rough outline of what the project should look like your help your project team get on board with the process faster
- In a more formal setting, it might be harder to convince your project team to become excited and passionate about the deliverables
A well-done process map will include:
- Clear communication of why the project is being completed
- Focus on realistic processes that must be taken, and challenges that might occur during the project process
- A step-by-step systematic guide on how project team members can get started on their deliverables, as well as a key to help identify any
- jargon on the process map
Guidelines for beginning your process map:
Sometimes, project managers can think negatively but process nothing. This is because it is sometimes seen as an unnecessary step and a waste of time! However, just like writing a paper in grade school, every project deserves appropriate planning prior to beginning. Or in order to help legitimize the process for you and your project team, it is important to establish some expectations that can be applied when making process maps. It’s all about finding what works best for your specific team and what will be the simplest to use.
Flowcharts in Project Management
There are a few different techniques you can choose from, depending on the complexity of your project. One of the more common methods of creating process maps is generally referred to as a flow chart. Keep in mind, flow charts and process maps are not one and the same. Process mapping is a more systematic way of separating tasks that need to be completed in a specific order. Flow charts are less systematic and do not necessarily need to be completed in a certain order.
It is a powerful technique used to visualize, analyze, and improve business processes. It allows organizations to gain a comprehensive understanding of their workflows, identify inefficiencies, and implement effective changes. Whether you’re a business owner, project manager, or process improvement professional, learning how to start and can be a valuable skill. This guide will walk you through the steps, tools, and best practices to help you get started.
Step 1: Define the Purpose and Scope
Before diving into mapping, it’s crucial to define the purpose and scope of the exercise. Clearly identify the specific process or processes you want to map and determine the goals you want to achieve through the mapping exercise. This clarity will help you focus your efforts and ensure that you gather the necessary information.
Step 2: Identify Key Stakeholders
Mapping involves collaboration and input from various stakeholders. Identify the key individuals or departments involved in the process and engage them in the mapping exercise. This ensures that you capture diverse perspectives and insights to create a comprehensive process map.
Step 3: Gather Information
Collect relevant information about the process you are mapping. This may include reviewing existing documentation, conducting interviews or surveys, and observing the process in action. Aim to gather detailed information about each step, decision point, and handoff within the process.
Step 4: Choose the Right Process Mapping Technique
There are several mapping techniques to choose from, such as flowcharts, swimlane diagrams, value stream maps, and more. Select the technique that best suits your needs and the complexity of the process. Flowcharts are commonly used for simple processes, while value stream maps are ideal for analyzing end-to-end value creation.
Step 5: Create the Process Map
Using the chosen mapping technique, create the process map. Start by documenting the major steps in the process and then add the relevant details, such as inputs, outputs, decision points, and subprocesses. Use symbols and arrows to represent the flow of the process and its various components.
Step 6: Validate and Refine the Process Map
Share the process map with the stakeholders and validate its accuracy and completeness. Seek feedback and input to ensure that the map accurately reflects the actual process. Refine the process map based on the feedback received and make necessary adjustments.
Step 7: Analyze and Identify Improvement Opportunities
Once you have a validated process map, analyze it to identify areas for improvement. Look for bottlenecks, redundancies, delays, and other inefficiencies. Discuss potential improvement opportunities with the stakeholders and prioritize them based on their impact and feasibility.
Step 8: Implement Changes and Monitor Results
Implement the identified changes and monitor their impact on the process. Track key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the effectiveness of the improvements. Regularly review the process map and make updates as needed to reflect the current state of the process.
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Try the first two modules of Brain Sensei’s story-based PMP and CAPM Exam Prep courses and a mini practice exam and see how it all works
Mapping is a valuable technique for improving efficiency and identifying areas for improvement within business processes. By following the steps outlined in this guide and using the appropriate tools and techniques, you can start mapping with confidence. Remember to engage stakeholders, gather accurate information, choose the right process technique, and continuously refine the process map to drive positive change and optimize your workflows.
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