How to create a Process Map?

Wed, Dec 10, 2008

Process and Innovation

Ok, so with that brief introduction, let’s start creating your process map.

If you are doing this by yourself or in a group, one of the easier tools to use is post-it notes. You can use post-it notes and post the ideas on the wall. That way, it will be easy to move items around.

Here are the steps:

1) Select a Process

How does one select a process? As in Mary’s case, she focused on an area that seemed to be causing some problems. That’s not a bad place to start.

Think about customers. Do you have internal and/or external customers? You might want to focus at first on external customers. But don’t forget internal customers.

2) Write down all the tasks or steps in the process.

Just brainstorm. Don’t worry about sequence although thinking in chronological order may help you not miss any items.

Document what you do now, not what you think you SHOULD do. The latter will be part of the improvement process.

Tip: Use a verb-noun combination (i.e. ‘ship order’). Add other words if it helps clarify the task but try to keep it simple.

3) Write down the inputs to the process.

What starts the process? Is it a customer? Is it a report? What resources do you need to complete the process? What kinds of equipment, material, information, and people do you need?

4) Write down the outputs to the process.

What is the end result? Is it a report for your boss? Is it a service to a customer? Is it a product for a customer? Remember that you may have multiple outputs ‘“ maybe there are notable milestones that you will want to track.

5) Re-order the tasks in step 2 so that they fall in the correct sequence.
6) Place the Inputs next to their appropriate steps.
7) Place the Outputs next to their appropriate steps.
8) Go through each task and determine if you need any other inputs for that task or if there are any other outputs.
9) Review and edit.
10) Transfer to paper and format the chart.

Use correct symbols (i.e. parallelograms and arrows). It does help make the flow chart easier to read.

Include headers.

Tip: Include a date and a version number on your chart. Especially in the editing process, it will help make sure everyone is looking at the same chart.

Tip: Some people color code the boxes to add another level of information. For example, if your process spans multiple departments, each department could have their own color. That way, you can quickly focus on individual departments, if need be.

11) Celebrate

[edit] Creating a Task List

Once a map is created, it is beneficial to create a task list. Whereas the map is a visual representation of the tasks that need to be completed, most people use ‘to do’ lists on a daily basis so they don’t forget what they need to do. This task list is a complement to the process map.

Let’s create a task list for the Ordering Process. In this document, you can add as much detail as you want. The Status column as some examples one might use.

Task Status
Input Order into db

  • Make sure you fill in ALL fields.
  • If the customer doesn’t have all the information, get all the information you can and then have them call you back but keep the order open. At the end of the call, reconfirm what information they still need to supply you with.
  • Do NOT send the order to shipping or it will be rejected.
Awaiting product color choice from customer.
Confirm Personal Data

It’s important to confirm where the product should be shipped to. A lot of people tend to have their product shipped to their office so you need to confirm that information has not changed.

Take Credit Card info

Since we do not keep credit card information in our databases for security reasons, you must take all that information again. You must ask for the following info:

  • Full Name on Card
  • Credit Card number
  • Expiration Date
  • 3 digit security code. This is found on the back of card where they sign. Sometimes there are more than 3 numbers. Only take the last 3 digits.
Submit Order to Shipping

You will receive a generic email notification from the shipping department saying that they received the order. Within 24 hours, someone from shipping will call you with a date on which the product can be expected to arrive at the customer’s door.

If you do not receive this call within 24 hours, do NOT wait any longer. Call the shipping department at x459. Speak with either Shelley or Herb directly as they are the only ones who can confirm this information. You need to provide them with the Order number.

24 hour window ends at 2pm on 11/1/05
Call Customer with ETA

Call the Customer anytime during the hours of 8am-8pm, Eastern Time with the ETA you received from Shelley/Herb. If there is no answer, leave a message. If you leave a message, call back every 12 hours until you speak with someone.

Left voicemail at 3pm on 11/2/05.

[edit] Process Examples

Below are several common business process examples. Your company may do it differently. We want these examples to be guides ‘“ not steadfast rules.

These examples also are a bit ‘perfect-world’ meaning that they do not account for situations where things don’t go smoothly. For instance, in the hiring example, nowhere do we account for the possibility that the candidate may reject the offer letter. That would be considered an alternate path. We will cover those in a follow-up document.

[edit] Hiring Example

This process is for an HR manager hiring an employee (that does not report directly to the HR manager). This process has a lot of steps. Also note that there are two attachments. Although not part of the actual flow chart, they illustrate other documentation that can be included with the flow chart to provide a more helpful system.

After reviewing this process, hopefully you’ll realize how useful this system is. If you are the HR manager but hire someone every 6 months, this is a great resource to refer back to every time you need to hire someone. If the system is documented, then you have less to constantly have to remember and less chance of forgetting steps.

Attachment B

[edit] Initial Phone Call Questions

  • Confirm candidate is still looking for job
  • Ask candidate when the earliest date they could start
  • Confirm candidate is within salary range
  • Confirm candidate is willing to commute to office
  • Find out why candidate is looking for a job
  • Find out if candidate is familiar with company
  • Inquire about any large gaps between jobs
  • Ask candidate how they like current job
  • Inquire about computer skills
  • Inquire about relevant experience
  • Provide an overview of the company and position
  • Advise them of potential next steps

Attachment A

[edit] Candidate Log (with examples)

Candidate Resume Current Status Comments
Eric S. Esresume.doc Rejected Salary requirement too high
Ilene M. Ilene resume.doc Left vm on 2/24/06 Has relevant experience at XYZ corp.
Hector O. HOresume.xls Phone interview on 2/25/06 Good phone interview. Scheduled 1st interview on 3/1/06 at 10am.
Pete F. Rejected Couldn’t read resume
Dave K. Rejected No relevant skills

[edit] Preparing for a Meeting Example

(as the meeting leader)

[edit] Creating a Process Example

Why not create a process map on how to create a process map?

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