Understanding the Basic Principles of Process Mapping

Many organisations, whether big or small, benefit greatly from implementing business process maps. Process maps have become invaluable tools in defining the framework of a process through a visual representation. The advantage of visualising a process is the elimination of contradicting ideas. There is a unified concept that each individual can adhere to.

There are several reasons why companies choose to map their business processes. Here are some reasons why you should choose process mapping for your organisation:

  • It enables unified process visualisation. It is not uncommon that differing views can affect the implementation of each step in the process. With a process map, each person will view the process in the same way.
  • Errors are minimised or eliminated completely.
  • Cross-functional areas are better able to communicate and understand each other. Process maps help reduce conflict between areas that have overlapping functions.
  • Everyone in the organisation can see the current state of the process. This prevents outdated views and allows each member to see the process as it is presently being implemented.
  • Process maps can help identify steps in the process that lead to wasted time and resources. Gaps are also identified and rectified. This will lead to increased efficiency and productivity.
  • Mapping a process can lead to the development of metrics. There is an improvement in the standards used for measuring the quality of performance and output.

Understanding how business process maps are done ensures the sustainability of its implementation within any organisation. Here are some guiding steps in process mapping:

  • Define the scope of the project. There must a specific end goal, time frame, and specific boundaries.
  • Specify the intent of the process. Why are you conducting process mapping in the first place? What do you hope to achieve at the end of the activity? How will this benefit each member of the organisation?
  • Clearly define each step of the process.
  • Gather feedback from each person involved in the process.
  • When mapping the current process, be as accurate as possible. Indicate each step exactly as it is done. Don’t leave out pertinent details.
  • Simplify sub-processes as much as possible.
  • Test the process using standard metrics of measurement.
  • Map the process backward from output to input.
  • Create ownership with single points of contact when possible.
  • Redesign processes and make them more customer-centric.
  • Use technology to enable your process if applicable.
  • Decrease hands-off inefficiencies.

These principles should be able to guide you through the formal procedure of process mapping. Always remember that technology can certainly help but should be used judiciously. The main focus of organisations these days is sustainable development. To achieve this, there should also be a cultural shift within the organisation. This way, the individuals involved in the process can better implement the changes brought about by process mapping.


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