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What is Process Mapping?

Process maps help leaders and managers gain insight into how processes work—and also how well they work. When processes have been mapped out, it is much easier to understand where issues can occur. This then helps identify where the teams need to focus on to improve the process in turn optimizing organizations, departments, or process efficiencies.

Process mapping is a graphical representation with descriptions of how things get done. It helps the participants to see the details of the process closely, and it guides them in decision-making. One can identify the major areas of strengths and weaknesses in the current process, such that the contribution of individual steps in the process. Further, it helps to reduce the cycle times and defects in the process and improves its productivity. The major components of a process map include the inputs, outputs, and steps in the process. A good process map should illustrate the flow of the work and the interaction with the organization. It should make use of common language (symbols) that are easily understood by everyone. An ideal process map should contain proper detail with respect to multiple paths, decisions, and rework loops.


Why Does a Business Need a Process Map?

Process mapping provides a visual glimpse of different processes of the business. It provides the necessary information and helps to determine the Who, What, Where, Why, When, and How aspects of the process and problem, and even guides towards possible solutions. Some of the reasons for the need of a process map are:

  • Pictures guide better than words. The use of graphs, charts, tables, and images guides better than a big, bland report with a lot of data fixation issues in it.

  • Process maps facilitate improvements in the process since it becomes easy to pinpoint the specific areas that need changes, like bottlenecks, delays, capacity constraints, etc. in light of the efficiency and effectiveness of the process.

  • Decision-making becomes fast as it deals with the ‘show me’ aspect and not the ‘tell me’ aspect of the process and the problem areas.

  • The improvements made in the process can easily be tracked using process maps since it becomes possible to audit and understand different areas in the process as well as the organization.

  • Visual illustration for training would be much more effective than any oral tool. The visual examples register faster in human brains and help them understand things better and fast.

  • In the need for change, when the organization moves on making the changes without understanding the current working process, it is likely to commit more mistakes or deploy its resources in creating more troubles. Process maps provide a detailed outlook of the current process and guide the effective management of change.

  • Process maps serve as a measurement tool for a process, which is very much necessary to manage and finally improve it.

Types of Business Process Maps

Basic flow chart. AKA the Top-Down Process Flow Chart.

A process flowchart is a simple process map that provides a visual model of the sequence of activities along with their points of decision. These flowcharts provide the basic details of the process, which can later be augmented by adding the roles of different staff.


Value Stream Map. It’s a Detailed Flow Chart.

These process maps provide the interactions between different departments and the roles performed by different people in the organization. Also termed as ‘swim-lane’ charts, these process maps have vertical lines showing the movement of the process from person to person.

Steps to follow

Step 1: Select the process

Step 2: Identify the Scope of the Process Steps

Step 3: Plan and Schedule Resources

Step 4: Select Mapping Techniques

Step 5: Conducting Interviews

Step 6: As-Is Process

Step 7: Analyze, Evaluate, and Sign- off

Why Is It Important?

It is prudent before we start any project, IT, Strategic, Software development, we need to map out the customer requirements to systems requirements. We are all visual learners! Hence it adds immense value to a departments, organizations to get assistance and expertise who help them map all their processes.  

  • Helps streamline operations (SOPs)

  • Identify process inefficiencies & redundancies.

  • Enables RCAs' (Root Cause Analysis)

  • Identify opportunities

  • Ensure correct process execution 

  • Improve customer service

  • Measure performance



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