When executed correctly, process mapping provides profound insights and facilitates intelligent decision-making within IT. To facilitate decision-making, anyone creating a process map must ensure its format is simplistic and straightforward. However, many tools offer too many options, leading to inconsistent workflow diagram creation. Consequently, the same process could be depicted in 10 different ways by ten individuals using a tool like Microsoft Visio.
The Essentials of a process diagram
Creating an effective process diagram hinges on two pivotal elements – “What do we do?” and “Why do we do it?” These questions delve into the purpose of an activity and its output to the next stage. Additionally, understanding who’s responsible for each activity step – human or a system – is essential.
With process mapping, we can collect all sorts of relevant information, including:
- Time taken to complete each activity
- Elapsed time between activities
- The systems used to carry out activities
- Detailed process information when required
Such information helps present process-related insights at every level, from senior management or C-level executives to technical analysts.
Using a common process language
Process mapping also assists in developing a universal language across an organisation. You should look for a common process format which replaces other documents, such as Visio diagrams, Word documents, or customised PDFs, making understanding the process easier for everyone.
Your organisation’s processes should be readily visible, categorised and stored in a process library by process type or department function. However, this does require buy-in from the top tiers of your business.
The art of keeping process maps simple
Detailed process maps that only technical analysts can decipher are counterproductive. The goal should be to create simple, easily readable process maps that everyone can understand and use. A process workflow diagram should include two necessary notations, a ‘What Box’ to explain what takes place in a process activity step and a ‘Why Box’ to explain why the activity occurs, which will ensure consistency in process creation and interpretation.
Effective process mapping allows seamless transitions from high-level overviews to intricate sub-processes, enabling swift decision-making. Furthermore, it can even incorporate system design elements at the lowest sub-level, such as a business rule, a trigger, or a line of code.
Deriving insight from process maps
When built correctly, process maps provide you with invaluable insights for decision-making. They can reveal the total effort required by each department by linking multiple processes and considering the time each role takes to carry out activities.
Process maps can also shed light on job descriptions based on process and task analysis, revealing discrepancies between an employee’s official job description and their actual work. This information is critical when determining resource plans or preparing for staff appraisals.
The importance of building a process map in real-time with your teams
When you create a process diagram in a process mapping workshop, attendees should see the process take shape on a screen in real-time. Nothing is worse than holding a process workshop and developing a process diagram after the event from notes taken and workshop attendees only getting a copy of the process days later. Process mapping in real-time adds to team motivation and constructive feedback and allows for immediate feedback about the process.
The right approach to process mapping can drive IT efficiency and business agility within your organisation. The key lies in simplicity, clarity, and effective communication. With these principles in place, your organisation can unlock the full potential of process mapping.