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A Practical Guide to Increase Productivity with Process Mapping



Process mapping is a useful gizmo for what could be summed up as “seeing the big picture and little pictures at the same time”.

Which will sound foolish to you, however that’s actually what it’s.

The first profit achieved from mapping out your corporation processes is which you can precisely consider every of the steps wanted to full a sure workflow, whereas understanding precisely how every of them interacts with each other and contributes to the method as an entire.

This capacity to consider all features of a course of helps managers determine constraints, alternatives for enchancment, and formulate methods to implement modifications with out disrupting day-to-day work.

However how do you go about making certain that the effort and time you set into setting up these maps interprets into improved efficiency?

That’s the query we’ll be tackling on this submit.

Earlier than doing so, nevertheless, we should acknowledge that there’s a large vary of complexity when it comes to strategies for course of mapping. In case you are a small group it may be so simple as drawing it out on a whiteboard, whereas enterprises use refined mapping software program instruments like Appian and Lucidchart.

This level relating to complexity and totally different sorts of course of maps leads us to one other necessary sub-topic that wants to be addressed early on – the distinction between course of mapping and course of modeling.

Understanding the excellence between course of mapping and modeling


It have to be stated that the distinction between a course of map and a course of mannequin is troublesome to perceive by means of on-line analysis as a result of most articles on the matter both contradict each other or don’t present a transparent rationalization of the distinction.

Everybody appears to have a special opinion. Some say there’s a variety of overlap, whereas others say they’ve completely totally different functions and shouldn’t be referred to interchangeably.

Many writers on the topic paraphrase the assertion “Process maps are a simpler version of process models with a lot of similar characteristics”. I discover this somewhat complicated as there isn’t a clear line of separation.

For instance, take a look at these definitions from the Process Excellence Community (PEN):

Process mapping:

“This involves drawing out all the activities involved in a business process, step-by-step, so that it’s entirely clear what is involved at any stage of a given business process.”

Process modeling:

“This is the creation of a graphical description of a business process so that current processes can be analyzed and improve business operations.”

Whereas a distinction in function has been said (enhance enterprise operations), there isn’t a indication of how a mannequin allows such enchancment, and the remainder of the definitions really feel like the identical factor expressed another way.

Comparable query marks are raised when studying the definition from Appian:

“In business, process mapping is the task of defining what exactly a business does, who is responsible, and what is the standard by which the success of a business process can be judged. This is not to be confused with business process modeling, which is focused more on the optimization of business processes.”

In all equity, the author of the PEN article does conclude with a really affordable assertion that makes good sense:

“There are a number of articles circulating that process mapping and process modeling are two very separate approaches. This is true to an extent, as they are separate tools; however, it is wrong to polarize them as an either-or choice, as they are both aligned.” – Jason McGee-Abe

Whereas I’m in no place to present a remaining say, I’ll try to make clear the distinction, a minimum of for the aim of this text.

One is an extension of the opposite

In essence, the distinction is that course of fashions are a extra digitally enhanced and subsequently extra succesful model of course of maps.


What I imply by that is that course of fashions are sometimes created utilizing software program, enabling it to include wealthy operational knowledge, particulars relating to relationships to enterprise objectives, and adapt to change dynamically via numerous software program integrations.

Process fashions are drawn with modeling software program like BPMN and UML. We have now written in-depth tutorials for each of those choices which you’ll be able to entry by clicking their respective hyperlinks.

A course of map, then again, represents a static, linear sequence stream of actions that don’t essentially account for different enterprise processes or the surroundings as an entire, regarding itself solely with one specific stream of actions. Consider it as a snapshot of how a course of is at present executed, like a stability sheet is a snapshot of an organization’s monetary well being.

“Business process mapping is the tool focused on documentation. It shows how work is done, not necessarily how it should be done. Business process modeling is more about in-depth analysis and optimizing inefficiencies and bottlenecks.” – Smartdraw

Subsequently, we will say that course of fashions are a type of extension of course of maps that provide larger potential for executing course of enchancment initiatives because the enterprise grows and experiences unexpected modifications.

process-mapping-uml-diagramUML Tutorial: How to Mannequin any Process or Construction in Your Enterprise

Though it’s extra logical and environment friendly to arrange course of automation by means of fashions as they’re simpler to join to numerous software program instruments and enterprise techniques, it’s necessary to observe that when it comes to what the graphical illustration exhibits, there’s not loads of distinction.

“Both activities serve to create a graphical representation which ultimately serves to improve business processes.” – Appian

With that stated, the majority of this publish which can concentrate on how one can improve productiveness with course of maps applies equally to course of fashions, as they’re an extension of course of maps and subsequently at their core, serve the identical function.

Whether or not you’re mapping your processes or modeling them, the methods mentioned right here to increase productiveness apply equally.

Make them sensible: How to use your maps to improve productiveness


Process mapping and modeling are normal methods to plan, handle, and optimize all types of enterprise processes, with the first function of constantly enhancing operational effectivity all through companies’ numerous departments.

So to obtain this enchancment in effectivity, processes want to be properly understood and adopted by staff. Which will sound apparent, however course of adoption is an enormous problem for many corporations, particularly as they scale and onboard new staff at a price they’re not used to.

For the aim of this publish, I’m assuming that you simply’ve already carried out a incredible job mapping out a bunch of your processes. In case you’re not fairly there but and are wanting to get began, there are a ton of nice articles on the market guiding you thru the method step-by-step.

However, even in case you are on the very starting of the method mapping journey, the next factors can be helpful meals for thought as you look to implement the fashions you construct in a means that really has a notable impression on productiveness.

That’s what I would like to dig into – how to apply your course of maps so they supply worth and transcend being a doc sitting in a binder on a shelf someplace.

As said by Commandment #1 in PEN’s article The 10 Commandments of Process Mapping:

“Thou shalt have no process maps that gather dust”

1. Make the most of BPM software program

Let’s get the apparent level out of the best way first.

In case you are not utilizing BPM software program to handle your processes, you’re, unquestionably, lacking an enormous alternative to enhance productiveness.

These are a number of of the primary advantages of investing in a BPM device:

  1. Capacity to adapt and constantly refine processes
  2. Centralized view of all exercise in real-time
  3. Automation of duties for improved effectivity
  4. An efficient channel for group collaboration
  5. Restrict or solely remove human error

When you think about that the BPM market is predicted to be value round $14 billion by 2021, virtually doubling from its valuation of $6.96 billion in 2016, it turns into clear that will probably be a key space of competitiveness within the years to come.


Instruments like Process Road allow you to convert your course of maps into actionable checklists that may be simply related with the instruments you already use by means of hundreds of integrations.

In case you are unsure how you want to to assemble your checklists and wish some inspiration, there are lots of of pre-made, absolutely customizable templates for all types of industries and enterprise processes.

Take a look at this listing to discover the most effective BPM software program for your enterprise.

2. Give attention to course of automation

Adopting BPM software program is step one, which ought to be swiftly adopted by establishing automation guidelines to allow processes to run as easily as potential.

Automation and productiveness go hand-in-hand, as you’re minimizing the waste in time and assets that the unique, manually-intensive course of contained.

Have a learn by way of our Final Guide to Enterprise Process Automation for all you want to find out about making use of automation to the processes you’ve constructed or are at present constructing.

Additionally, listed here are 50 workflow automation concepts to assist get you began.

three. Don’t overlook the significance of simplicity

process-mapping-simplicity-bpmnBPMN Tutorial: Fast-Begin Guide to Enterprise Process Mannequin and Notation

The reality is that processes want to be easy if they’re anticipated to be adopted persistently by all group members, particularly new hires who want to be ramped up in probably the most environment friendly approach attainable.

Whereas some processes, notably on the enterprise degree, are by their nature complicated, managers should all the time be asking themselves how they will distill processes in a approach that makes it straightforward to perceive and comply with.

iSixSigma has written an incredible article titled Practical Guide to Creating Higher Wanting Process Maps, that illustrates how an overly-complicated map or mannequin may be simplified by taking additional care with using connectors and different necessary symbols.

“One should be willing to start from scratch and redraw the whole process map in order to make it easier to serve its purpose.” – Hussain Thameezdeen Abubakker, iSixSigma

Under is an instance from the article of how a course of map, involved with the request and issuance of an airline ticket, might be reworked from wanting like “a plate of spaghetti” to a few neat and tidy diagrams that may be extra successfully carried out, adopted by staff, and subsequently contribute to a rise in productiveness.


The writer then utterly transforms this headache-inducing diagram by breaking it into two separate diagrams, one for the request and the opposite for issuance, and re-organizing the connectors to simplify the movement of the method.

process-mapping-new-1Half 1: Request for an airline ticketprocess-mapping-new-2Half 2: Issuance of an airline ticket

For an evidence of how these edits have been made to simplify the method map, take a look at the article right here.

four. All the time hyperlink processes to strategic objectives

When it comes to consumer adoption and productiveness, there are two key advantages of linking your course of maps to strategic enterprise objectives.

Firstly, by doing so you possibly can talk to these anticipated to comply with the method why it’s invaluable and the way precisely it should make a constructive influence on enterprise efficiency.

If staff don’t really feel as if the method is definitely going to make a distinction, they gained’t take it significantly and subsequently it’s going to probably produce little to no improve in productiveness.

Secondly, creating robust hyperlinks between your diagrams and enterprise objectives will encourage managers to make it possible for course of maps and fashions are serving their objective.

If the method isn’t doing its job, they will determine shortcomings and refine it accordingly.

In different phrases, it provides the in any other case stagnant course of map a way of path and objective, which is nothing in need of important to see a notable enchancment in execution.

5. Encourage and supply channels for group collaboration

You might be questioning how collaboration is linked to enhancing productiveness with course of mapping.

The reply is straightforward: A course of that has been mapped out and put in place by way of BPM software program might be adopted by a set group of individuals. As time passes, managers want to hold monitor of how the method is getting used and to what extent there’s want for enchancment. The simplest approach to do that is listening to suggestions from the workers who’re truly following the method each day and collaborating with them to determine alternatives for enchancment.


For instance, a good way to gather suggestions is surveys, which, in accordance to CultureIQ is the preferred technique to actively handle and drive worker engagement (55%).

Managers should acknowledge that with out offering automobiles for collaboration comparable to Slack, CRM group chats, video conferences, all-hands conferences, and surveys, will probably be extremely difficult to precisely consider and optimize processes.

“Collaboration is often dismissed as a nebulous concept and one that does not have many tangible benefits, yet an increasing body of research is showing that working together makes companies more productive and drives higher returns for shareholders.” – Mark Frary, Raconteur

I’ve written an article discussing 5 nice methods to contain staff in course of design, which I like to recommend studying in case you are on the lookout for higher methods to encourage collaboration amongst your group.

6. Set up a course of for steady enchancment

This level is intently linked to the earlier one emphasizing the significance of collaboration, as they’re joined on the hip. Steady enchancment to processes is just not potential with out open and trustworthy communication between the entire staff.

How do you go about managing course of enchancment initiatives? Do you might have a course of in place to contain staff members, consider suggestions and implement modifications effectively?

The 2 principal ideas I’ve on this regard, as talked about in my article on course of design, are:

  1. Use quite a lot of communication strategies to contain different staff. Past simply sending them an e-mail, create inner newsletters, lunchroom posters and a slack channel devoted to course of enchancment.
  2. Determine course of enchancment champions and empower them to foster curiosity amongst different staff.

One other means to instill a tradition of collaboration and steady enchancment is to undertake the Kaizen technique.

The primary concept behind Kaizen, which accurately means “change for good”, however has been reinterpreted within the West as steady enchancment, is to set up a scientific approach to determine, plan, check, and deploy enhancements to present processes in real-time, ensuing within the creation of a enterprise that’s constantly enhancing itself.

process-mapping-kaizenKaizen: How to Deploy Steady Enchancment to Rocket Your Success

My colleague has written a superb piece on how one can deploy this technique in your corporation, which I extremely advocate studying, particularly in case you are within the manufacturing or finance business.

Key takeaways earlier than you go

Let’s do a fast evaluate and depart you with some essential takeaways.

  1. Process fashions are an extension of course of maps in that they’re digitally enhanced variations of them. Methods for implementing them to improve productiveness apply equally.
  2. In case you are wanting to create course of fashions, we’ve written in-depth tutorials to achieve this in BPMN and UML.
  3. Investing in BPM software program is an absolute should if you would like your course of maps to notably enhance enterprise efficiency.
  4. Process automation might sound intimidating, however is surprisingly straightforward to arrange and may have an instantaneous impression on productiveness.
  5. With out the care to prioritize simplicity whereas course of mapping, staff won’t persistently comply with processes and will probably be harder to onboard new hires.
  6. Linking course of maps to strategic objectives provides them objective and path, serving to all staff see the worth of implementing the method following it as directed.
  7. Workforce collaboration is important in figuring out constraints, alternatives for enchancment, and to encourage course of adoption.
  8. Set up a course of for steady enchancment, and your course of maps won’t ever go unused. Fixed consideration is vital to enabling your maps to transcend a doc and into the engine of constant, high-quality enterprise efficiency.

I hope you discovered this text sensible ultimately, because it was meant to be! What steps do you’re taking to be certain that your course of maps don’t collect mud on a shelf someplace and contribute to productiveness? Is there an ideal method that I’ve missed? Let me know within the feedback under!

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