Process mapping is a workflow diagram to provide a clear understanding of a business process or series of parallel processes. It is used as part of a process improvement activity and often follows seven main steps to construct the process flowchart. The text below offers some guidance.
Step 1: Determine the boundaries Where does a process begin? Where does a process end?
Step 2: List the steps Use a verb to start the task description The flowchart can either show sufficient information to understand the general process flow or detail every finite action and decision point.
Step 3: Sequence the steps Use Post-it notes so you can move tasks Do not draw arrows until later
Step 4: Draw appropriate symbols Start with the basic symbols
Ovals show input to start the process or output at the end of the process.
Boxes or rectangles show task or activity performed in the process.
Arrows show process direction flow.
Diamonds show points in the process where yes/no questions are asked or a decision is required.
Usually there is only one arrow out of an activity box. If there is more than one arrow, you may need a decision diamond. If there are feedback arrows, make sure feedback loop is closed; i.e. it should take you back to the input box.
Step 5: System model Draw charts using system model approach:
Input – use information based upon people. Machines, material, method, and environment.
Process – use subsets of processes in series or parallel
Output – use outcomes or desired results
Control – use best in class business rules
Feedback – use information from surveys or feedback
Step 6: Check for completeness Include pertinent chart information, using title and date for easy reference.
Step 7: Finalize the flowchart Ask if this process is being run the way it should be Are people following the process as charted? Is there a consensus? What is redundant; add what is missing.