How to Conduct Business Processes Mapping – Why Bother?

To provide useful information to identify opportunities for improvement, it is essential to know how to conduct business processes Mapping as it will guide a business to make decisions about those improvements.

They are a powerful visualization tool that speak the language of a thousand words IF they are of high quality and properly developed.

There are various approaches to process mapping with the output of some being more interactive than others, but they must address fundamental questions if they are to be of any use to a business owner or leader.

 BCINC refer to these as the Who? What? How? Questions of process mapping. 

1. Process Ownership

How to Conduct Business Processes Mapping
Process Owner

A Process Owner is assigned a specific process and is responsible for developing, analyzing and continuously improving the process.

The process owner may not necessarily be the one carrying out the task. Process ownership and accountability are important because workflows through processes, sometimes across multiple departments.

On the other hand,  the business organization chart has a vertical hierarchy of roles and responsibilities.

It is easy to see how this can cause some processes to become “orphans” without a process owner

2. The SIPOC of the Process

Every process has an input and an output value to serve a customer. Many owners find this confusing but let us try to put this in perspective in simple terms. The SIPOC of a process defines

  • its main supplier (could be another internal department),
  • input (could be a form, widget, report etc),
  • purpose (what work the input will be used for),
  • output (new deliverable created), and 
  • customer (could once again, be another internal department). Best practice organizations understand and align customers with their internal processes to ultimately meet the needs of their external customers.

3. The Ultimate External Customer of the Process

Every process has a value proposition to deliver to its external customer. The value proposition addresses the customer problem and the solution provided by the process.

4. How the Process Fits in With Other Processes

Processes do not perform in isolation relative to other processes.  They always fit together in a larger value stream. The problem is that it is difficult to see the grass from the weeds.

How to Conduct Business Processes Mapping
Execution Tasks

Processes mapping provides easy visualization of how a process fits in with other processes.

5.  Execution Tasks in  the Process

The process map should illustrate step-by-step task execution. It should address the who, what, where, when, and how of a process, including supporting information, such as procedures, task instructions, checklists, reports, and policy.

6. Levels of Contribution to Execution of the Process

Different people may be involved in the execution of a process, but they do not all do so in the same capacities. A RACI matrix (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) is used to assign different levels of engagement.

7. Use of Technology – Internal and External

The use of technology whether as legacy systems, databases or 2nd or 3rd party applications is important to assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of a process. 

Sometimes significant process improvement can occur by just upgrading to  better technology.

8. Compliance – Regulatory / Industry Standards

Every process has regulatory or industry standards to which it must comply.  The process owner needs to be made aware of these.

The only way this will not fall through the cracks is to have these requirements incorporated into the  process map.

9. Identify Non-Value-Added and Value-Added Tasks

The customer is willing to pay for Value-added tasks only.  Areas where rejects, re-work and waste occur are non-value-added tasks which erode the profit margin of the business

10. Process Monitoring and Measurement

How is this being done? Most businesses measure high-level KPIs based on the org chart’s responsibility and accountability hierarchy.  “Orphaned processes” typically are not measured because they lack owners.

Better units of measures are process effectiveness – how well the process serves its customer by providing what the customer wants, and process efficiency –  how well the process uses the minimum resources necessary to achieve its purpose. 

 Now What? – A Gap Analysis

Upon completion of the process map, a brainstorming session can be conducted to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement. This information is used to prioritize opportunities for improvement and draw up an improvement plan

Conclusion – Business Processes Mapping

Who? What? How? Questions of business processes mapping are invaluable for developing high quality process maps. These visualizations contain a wealth of information and can be used to make decisions about areas for improvement

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