A process model is essentially a way to conceptually group multiple processes. The process model describes the way in which the processes are designed to operate- the inputs, outputs, and expected deliverables. It also adds the elements of time by outlining a schedule for the included process events. It can be used in a wide range of industries, from computer programming to online retail operations.
It can be hard to untangle process analysis and mapping from process modeling. Process mapping is mostly used to operationally identify and define all the moving parts of a process, while modeling looks at the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of it all- the big picture of the process. Process modeling may take into account business rules and regulations as well.
Process mapping very much describes the process ‘as-is.’ It is used to identify areas for improvement or to have a documented map of the process for team members. On the contrary, a process model might be an early step in defining how you want the process to operate. How do you want this system of processes to work together?
A process model is best represented visually. Typically this will come in the form of a flow chart. The flow chart will show how information or activities move between people, departments or decision-trees to produce different outcomes based on different decisions. It should clearly show how outcomes will be affected by different scenarios.
To continue using the flow chart visual, there are some common notations you can use. When starting and ending the model, use a terminal symbol. For starting, this will typically say “Start.” You can indicate at that point if there is a specific action or occurrence that prompts the process to begin. You will then choose a symbol to represent activities, such as tasks, that occur as part of the process.
You may also need to choose a separate symbol to represent decision points. Decision points indicate that the process may continue in different directions based on the decision that is being made. If option 1 is chosen, the process continues down one path of the flow chart. If option 2 is chosen, the process continues down a different path. This will carry on for as many possible outcomes there are for that decision.
Your process model could become quite complex depending on the number of decisions you need to make. If this is the case, it could be an opportunity to see that your model needs simplifying. Perhaps some of those decisions can be standardized or pre-selected. Another symbol you need will be a straight line or arrow, indicating the direction of the process flow. This is very important once branches are introduced so that the reader can follow along clearly and easily.
These are the most common symbols used in flowcharts, but you can use any symbols you desire. What is most important is to be very consistent with your usage of symbols, and to maintain that consistency across the entire organization. Using different symbols for different process models allows for more opportunities for mistakes and misunderstandings.
If there are elements of your process models that are common, you can create symbols for them as well. You might also want to find a way to indicate what sections are automated and which sections need active involvement.
Process modeling should be a routine and prioritized part of your business or project operations. You should engage in process modeling when you are creating a new process, updating an existing one, or trying to troubleshoot a problematic one. You should also engage in regular period reviews of your processes to make sure they are operating as efficiently and valuable as possible.
Process models should always be done by a team. You will want to include a representative from many different sectors of the process. This includes management, decision-makers, designers, engineers, and customers. You may not think to involve your customers in such behind-the-scenes operations, but it is really a very important part of this process. After all, customer satisfaction is integral to the success of your organization.
When updating or correcting an existing process, make sure to conduct thorough interviews with some of your customers to see how the process is working for them. Do they have suggestions for improvements? Are there steps in the process that are routinely problematic? The more people who are involved in the process modeling, the more input and information you will receive.
People who participate in different tasks of the processes have different perspectives on the processes. You may not be as familiar with certain tasks as someone else and thusly may not have much to say about the topic. Your brainstorming sessions will improve dramatically with more diverse perspectives. But be careful not to have too many people in the room at once. Some of the information gatherings should be done in small groups or through one-on-one interviews.
When first developing a process model, it can take a significant chunk of time. You need to identify each and every component of the model from scratch, and you will likely need to revise many times. Depending on the size and complexity of your operation, this could take a few days or a few weeks.
Similarly, trying to identify or troubleshoot a problematic process can be time-consuming. Unless the problem and corresponding solution quickly present themselves, you may find yourself playing detective for some time. This activity ultimately becomes process analysis and involves digging deeper into the intricacies of the process (identifying the specific people involved in each activity, specific documents used, rooms or warehouses involved, travel time, etc).
Process analysis is more in-depth than modeling. Routine monitoring and process evaluation, on the other hand, should be a less time-intensive activity. At that point, you will just be confirming that everything is working as it should and there are not opportunities for improvement.
Make sure you know exactly what process you are planning to model. Some processes may have similar qualities or parameters. You will need to establish clear boundary lines around the process you are choosing.
As mentioned earlier, your team should involve representatives from as many different sectors of the process. Make sure the ultimate decision-maker is also there to sign off on any decisions you need to make.
You can typically do all process models with a flowchart on a whiteboard, but there also exist some software programs designed for this purpose. If that is something you already have access to (and something the whole team has access to), feel free to try it out. But hand-written flowcharts usually present a better large-scale visual for a room of people brainstorming ideas.
Speaking of brainstorming, you will next want to have your team identify as many elements of the process model as possible. Where does it start and stop? What activities are involved? What decisions need to be made?
This is where you might obtain specific information from customers or other stakeholders if you need it. Their feedback can be integrated when available.
Organize all of this information into the best approximation of the process flow. Use the symbols you have decided on and any other information you deem necessary. Remember to keep things “big picture” at this point.
Once you think you have things right, have the team walk through a few different realistic scenarios for the process. Make sure everything lines up as it should, and revise as needed.
You should now have a functional process model! Be sure to document any actionable items and plan for regular review and revision.
The purpose of a process model is to clearly outline the way a process works in order to convince stakeholders, improve operational function, or increase profits. It can be a great team-building exercise that helps empower employees to be involved in decision-making opportunities. Just be consistent and open-minded.
Process modeling is essentially drawing up the whole picture of the bigger plan, and figuring out the most competent way to carry out each individual part of this plan, while concurrently working together with other teams and departments. Often in business plans, different types of research to be carried out by different teams operate on the same time frame, and information is needed to be present by the time the next meeting rolls around. Utilizing blank timeline templates for each team can be drawn together to create powerful process models that will carefully line out how each team can work together to bring the most relevant information to light.
Having a timeline that is made prematurely will help to set the main intentions and purposes each team should be focusing on. With organized display of research results, streamlining business processes will be able to be completed faster and easier, ultimately allowing teams to move on to the next project as soon as possible.
Considering any information given to companies from customer feedback and reviews is imperative to adjusting to consumer and market needs. If team members, and members of different departments, are not on pace with one another in terms of the companies customer feedback response, it can begin to hurt the companies performance and overall reputation. With business process templates, varying departments and teams within the company can begin to draw out and analyze the best way they can respond to the ongoing feedback. With this information, the different teams and departments can then come together and visualize a process flow that will outline how the departments and teams will work together moving forward.
If different team members are on the same page with one another, the company as a whole will be able to respond to customer complaints and feedback in a very convincing manner. Proper customer care, and customer analysis, can go a long way in helping to boost the reputation and sales of a company.
Getting rid of the wasteful and time-consuming habits that the company has can bring light to how much more effectively the company can be run. To help straighten out what priorities are more important than others at the given moment, one could utilize a Konmari Checklist to help expose wasteful business practices and resource usage. When business practices are more straightened out, after dismissing all of the activities that were wasting time, the company can begin to streamline process flows in a much more useful way. Process flows are needed to help bring team members and different departments on to the same page moving forward. Realizing what business time is being wasted can be useful in determining what exactly each team should focus on, and how they can work together effectively to enhance the flow of the company’s business.
With the implementation of a Konmari Checklist, certain aspects of business will be analyzed, and determined if the time being spent on those aspects is worth it or not. These aspects can include
With a Konmari Checklist, remember to analyze one business process at a time, in order to not get confused in the mix.