Strategy & Business Development

Business process mapping

There are several advantages to using business process mapping. One of the most important is the fact that the method gives you a broad perspective of your different processes and help with reducing waste and expenses or streamling workflows.

The first thing you should do is to define what your process is – and equally important: What it is not. To do so, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  1. The purpose of this process is to…?

  2. You define your process’ boundaries by asking questions such as:

    1. Which process is it (not)?

    2. What are (not) the most important assignments?

    3. When are these assignments (not) carried out?

    4. Why is this process (not) happening?

    5. Who is (not) involved?

Do not cheat yourself out of answering the negative questions as well. They help making the process clearer, when you have to do the actual mapping.

Before we get to it, we must first know the most common symbols that are used for business process mapping:

 

Start End

This symbol indicates the beginning or the end of a process. What triggers the process or what ends it.

Task

The job to be done. Use a verb and a noun. Eg.: Fill + cup

Connector

A connector. The arrow indicates a connection between two jobs. Never more than one arrow per connector.

Decision

The rhomb indictes that a decision has to be made. Can either be shown as yos/no or true/false. Two arrows indicate the two possibilities. 

 

How to make a cup of coffee

An frequently used example to illustrate a simple mapped process is makeing a cup of coffee. The process of making coffee might look like this:

How to make a cup of coffee

 

The process can of course be made far more complex, you can add elements such as shopping, pulverizing the coffee, pouring it into the cup, etc. But the idea is to make the map as simple as possible and only include the central elements of the process.