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Process Map Template
Identify the Issue
by next Wednesday
Brainstorm how the Process Functions
by next Thursday
Determine the Goal of the Process
by next Thursday
Determine the Sequence
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Process mapping can be a complicated task and requires specific tools for success. (source)

Process mapping tools make process mapping a much easier task and are invaluable to an organization that cares about improvement. Typically, these tools come in the form of software that the user interacts with to help them understand the low of work. Many resources can help you out, but some are more valuable than others. Those are highlighted below. However, before the dive is taken into the world of process mapping tools, an explanation of what process mapping is must be given.


What is Process Mapping?

Process mapping will visualize workflows via flowcharts. (source)


A process map is a planning and management tool that visualizes the flow of work. These are often referred to as a process flowchart, a functional flowchart, a process flow diagram, a business flow diagram, or simply as a flowchart. They provide valuable information to your company to understand how processes are working and how to optimize them.


Purpose of Process Mapping

The overall goal of process mapping is for businesses, corporations, or any general organization to become more efficient. You’ll be able to define where processes are becoming troublesome and improve process optimization.

A highlight of process mapping is the ability to understand the process better. The visualization of workflows will show you the breakdown of your processes and can showcase areas that you didn’t know needed optimized.

It’s a small area of business process management. Process mapping is a little different than other areas of the business process management journey. This is because you’ll require tools and software to help you along the way. Simply being knowledgeable won’t be enough. Lucky for you, there are ample resources for process mapping tools and you won’t be in short supply of help. Some of these options are free while others may cost something. Determining their value will be up to you and your organization.


Creating Process Mapping Tools

Process mapping tools come in many shapes and sizes and not all are created equally. You’ll find relatively simple resources and complex ones as well. They’re all useful in their way and it may be beneficial to utilize more than one at once, depending on your needs. Templates are also available that can help you out. While there are many process mapping tools available, you can create your own as well with the process mapping tools already available to you. By simply utilizing Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, or PowerPoint, you’ll well on your way to creating your process map.


Here are the steps:


1. Identify the Issue

Before you begin creating a process map, you’ll need to understand the issue at hand. This can simply be the process that needs to be visualized. If you’re looking for ways to improve your organization, try thinking of what processes need optimized and how they’re affecting your team or consumers. If there is a process that is constantly causing issues for your employees, that could be an issue that needs to be addressed. The same can be said for those who use your product or organization as well. If customers are becoming frequently frustrated or irritated, then it may highlight a need for a process map to gain a better understanding.


2. Brainstorm how the Process Functions

This point in your journey will be about understanding and brainstorming how a process works and the steps required to complete it. This is where you’ll define what level of detail to include in your map and determine who is doing what and when it’s being accomplished by that employee. Understanding these fundamentals of a process will help you better visualize it when you create your process map. You don’t necessarily need to know the exact sequence of events of a process at this point, but it will help you in the future.


3. Determine the Goal of the Process

Creating a processing map will lean on your understanding of the process itself. At this point, you must understand when the process begins and where it ends. This can quickly become confusing if you’re part of a larger corporation with a lot of interoperability and steps to a process. However, it is necessary to understand to create a high-quality process map.


4. Determine the Sequence

Remember how you were supposed to know the sequence of events of a process? If you didn’t get a grasp on it during the second step, it’s time to do it now. A helpful idea is to begin the description of each step of the process with a verb to communicate more effectively with readers.


5. Incorporate Basic Flowchart Symbols

This part of the process may require you to create and rearrange shapes of different sizes. The key here is consistency. Ideally, you’ll want the symbols to reflect something of value to the reader so they have an easier time making the connection on your process map. Labels and comments can also be added to increase clarity.


Here are some tips:

  • Ovals are typically sued to represent the beginning or end of a process.
  • Rectangles often show where an operation or tasks need to be accomplished
  • Arrows can be useful to indicate a flow of direction
  • Typically, diamonds indicate when a decision must be made. After this, a hierarchical structure is used to determine where the user must go within the process map after this.


These are general industry standards that you may find helpful. However, it’s completely reasonable and ordinary to use symbols and shapes that are unique to your organization. Simply ensure that the shapes are consistent across all process maps that are associated with your organization. It may also be beneficial to use a process model to help you throughout your journey.


Process Mapping Tools

Creating your process map can be a lengthy process and fairly difficult if you’re unaware of the tools at your disposal. This list of process mapping tools was created with that in mind and aims to bring you tools and resources that will help you out along the way.


Lucidchart

Lucidchart is an excellent tool that works to combine data visualization, collaboration and diagramming. Their goal is to accelerate understanding and drive innovation. They offer features that provide the option for improved communication and feedback when working with a process. You’ll be able to streamline how you provide and receive feedback via chat functions an in-editor commenting. This quick form of feedback will help you make changes faster and without as much error. You’ll also be able to present and share your creations with others online. This can be a great method for receiving additional feedback or to highlight workflows for shareholders. It also comes with a large variety of templates that you can use when appropriate.

Draw.io

Draw.io is a simplistic process mapping tool and is fairly straightforward. The software’s purpose isn’t specifically for process mapping, but it is included in the functions of the software. You’ll be able to create process flowcharts, diagrams, or more complex documents as well. It’s also free to use. Although, you get what you pay for. Draw.io is missing a lof the benefits that higher-quality products offer.


Microsoft Excel

Although it was briefly mentioned earlier, Excel is a tool that can’t be understated. Beyond it is easily accessible for most users, it’s incredibly powerful and is used as an industry standard by experts everywhere. The software comes with different tools that may be helpful to you in process mapping.


Microsoft Visio

While Excel can certainly help you, Microsoft understands that software is needed that is dedicated to processing mapping. This is where Microsoft Visio comes in. Its sole purpose is as a process mapping tool and it features many tools and resources that will help you. It’s commonly used by experts. However, it comes with a monthly fee so you may need to create room in your budget if you’re looking to use it in the long term.

Types Of Process Maps

When assessing which type of process map to use in a business process, it’s important to realize that certain kinds may be more effective and useful for certain activities rather than others. There are a number of different types of process maps that can help you to form strategic plans, and issue out assignments and deadlines in a visual display, easy for team members to understand in a comprehensive manner. 

Analyzing your ongoing business process will help you to realize what type of process map is more effective. Process map templates can be used to help this cause. Some different types of process maps are;

  • Basic Flowchart - This is a simple layout that visualizes the steps of the business process, and includes the intended inputs and outputs. This is good for certain situations, such as when you are briefing a new project, to help solve any current issues within the team, to help bring ideas into fruition more, and to analyze current workflows. 
  • High Level Process Map - Known also as a top-down map, this process map shows the the most essential steps to the process, and skips details such as pertained roles and decision points. It is most effective used when defining business processes, and to identify the key points of that given process.
  • Cross Functional Flowchart - This type of process map is meant to show the correlation between certain steps, and highlights how different departments can work together to streamline business processes in a proper manner. 
  • Value Stream Map - This is a process map that aims to visualize the resources and information needed to bring products to customers. It can be used to record measurements, identify waste, and identify where to focus in on more. 

Knowing the intentions of the current business process will help in deciding which process map to use. 


Use Expense Reimbursements Forms To Maintain Company Trust

It does not take much for a single employee to go a bit over their business spending allowance, whether it be for travel, food, software subscriptions, etc. Once a 5-Star hotel gets booked by an employee against company policy, trust can begin to be lost. If thorough and reliable expense reimbursements forms are presented to team members by managers, it can help both the team member and the manager to feel more comfortable with the reimbursement process. It’s important to establish boundaries, and let team members become aware of what is acceptable spending, and what is not.

To help inform team members of the company's expense reimbursement policy, process maps can be used to help visualize this information in an easily presentable manner. Utilizing a basic flowchart can help to outline the spending boundaries and policy to team members. Creating thorough yet easily analyzable expense reimbursement forms can help to maintain ongoing trust between management and team members. 

Managing Business Processes With Process Maps

Creating process management templates will help team members to become cognizant of different aspects of the ongoing business practice. With this information in mind, team members will be able to analyze better information presented with process maps. The information presented to team members on certain process maps should be concise and important information that gets to the point of what team members need to do to carry out their role in the business process. Of course, certain process maps are better for certain activities, but generally they are used to streamline efficiency, and help team managers more effectively supervise the process. 

Saving On Waste And Time In Process Maps With The Konmari Checklist

Implementing the strategy of a Konmari Checklist has several advantages to it, and can drastically help a company to reduce on baggage, and certain processes and activities that are holding them down. By realizing that activities and resources are being wasted, team managers are able to create a more complex and detail-oriented process map. 

Effectively utilizing a Konmari Checklist should be done by reducing waste and baggage by one category at a time, such as paper, finances, clothes, external resources, etc. When the tidying process is optimized, it will be easier to create process maps that are more comprehensible and easy to understand. With an easier to understand process map, team members will be able to carry out their roles in a very useful and organized way. 

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