Change Implementation Techniques for Creating a Sense of Urgency

Technique 2.48 Process Mapping

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(including flow charts)


. Process mapping is an important part of the continuous improvement concept. It is created on the premise that a picture or a map of a process is a much easier way to understand it, ie it can reduce the complexity of the process by depicting the most critical elements

. Sometimes process mapping includes computer flowcharts (for computer programming), Gantt charts (for project management), PERT charts (project evaluation and review), etc

. The differences between process mapping and flowcharting are

"...- flowcharting is better in more complex processes where there are many branching alternatives

- process mapping works better with more linear processes that involve fewer choices

- flowcharts are better at showing the types of steps involved in the process (process mapping doesn't worry too much about this), enabling the process to be easily analysed...

- process maps can show the input-transformation-output details, including supplier and customer requirements..."

Harry Onsman, 2004d

. Process mapping involves

"...- a series of connected steps that lead to a result

- a sequence of inputs and actions to lead to an output

- (when used in business) a series of activities that take an input, add value to it and produce an output for a customer..."

Harry Onsman, 2004d

. Process maps have many different applications

"...- process improvement - improving a process so it is safer, faster or requires fewer resources

- process standardisation - ensuring that a process is exactly what you want it to be

- process automation - designing a computer program that will carry out the process

- process management - controlling variations in a process

- process measurement - managing the performance of each step in the process

- process training - training operators to carry out the process

- process innovation - designing and planning completely new ways of delivering a result

- process redesign - changing a process more radically, and possibly removing it altogether..."

Harry Onsman, 2004d

1 Flow chart

. A flow chart is a map of a process. It is used to analyse and standardise a process, identify gaps, and plan improvements. It also serves as a communication technique to help everyone visualise the process in the same way.

. A flow chart can be made with varying degrees of detail, depending on its intended use. The simplest type, a block diagram, shows the sequence of major steps in the process.

organisational development change management

Making A Sale

. This broad overview of the selling process could be used to begin a discussion. The most common flow charts show more detailed steps with an estimated time for each step and the total elapsed time. If the selling process is especially complex, the flow chart may be even more detailed, with each step broken down further into sub-steps so that the process map reveals the degree of detail needed.

Making a flow chart.

. A flow chart "language" is needed; six conventional symbols are usually sufficient.

organisational development change management

Decide on the Boundaries

. Where will the process to be studied start and end?

. What operations will be included?

. How much detail will be appropriate?

. Give the process a title and describe its inputs and outputs, its suppliers and customers.

Gather Data

. Observe the process and/or talk to the people involved. If it is a new process being planned, a group discussion to visualise the process is helpful. The following form may be used to gather the data.

A Generic Example ‐ Department.....

organisational development change management

. Draw the flow chart from the information on the data collection sheet using the charting symbols.

. Connect the symbols with lines showing the workflow.

A Generic Example

organisational development change management

Review the chart for accuracy. Make revisions if needed.

Make a Pareto chart showing the time spent on the various types of activities.

organisational development change management

Further work

. Search for waste. Imagine the perfect process. Look at all the steps, such as delays, which do not add value and try to find a way to reduce or eliminate them. Can you change, rearrange, combine or simplify to improve the process?

. Identify specific areas for improvement (rework loops, delays, multiple inspections or authorisation, etc.)

. Collect data about numbers of occurrences and reasons to rework or other problems.

. Make sub-process flow charts to break the work into finer pieces as necessary to understand the process fully.

. Draw a new chart with the modifications you want, discuss it with the people involved and test it.

Questions to ask


Does each step add value?

Is there duplication?

Can you eliminate the delays? The inspection steps? The filing steps?

Are some operations rework?


How can the operation be changed? Different methods? Technology? Equipment?

Less costly material or service?

Reduce the frequency of the service?

Change the number of people receiving the service?

Reduce the time it takes?


Is the layout the most efficient?

Can you eliminate transport steps?

Is the sequence the most efficient?


Can any operations be combined? With a supplier’s operation? With a customer’s?


In the last 3 years, what have you done to your competitors?

What is the simplest way to achieve the objective (s) of the process?

Are instructions easy to understand?


What would be the perfect process?

How much time would it take?

Can you represent on a flow chart the perfect process?

Should some parts of the process be examined with a Pareto chart? A run chart? A sub-process flow chart?

Points To Remember

Start with a simple chart and add detail as needed

Classify the activities using the six symbols

The people doing the work should chart the process

Make a Pareto chart of the categories of activity. Try to eliminate delays and work that does not add value

Ask the questions outlined in ‘Questions To Ask’

Draw an "imagineered" chart based on the way you think the process should work

Compare the differences

Make the changes

2 Types of process maps

. There are 4 different types of process maps, ie

- process description maps (drawing a process according to what people think it is)

- process verification maps (verifying each part of the process by observation from operators)

- process improvement maps (show what parts of the process can be improved)

- process redesign maps (shows what the process should be)

. A process map that can be used to

- decide whether all steps in the process are needed

- explore whether steps can be combined

- investigate whether steps can be done differently

- check whether those involved in the process are following all the steps accurately

- teach someone how to follow the process accurately

. Furthermore, each step can be investigated as to whether or not it is adding value, based on the following criteria

- it is something that is recognized by the customer as being worthwhile and for which he/she is willing to pay

- it actually changes the product in some beneficial way

- it is "done right" the first time (there is no duplication)

- it is required to be done, such as for safety, regulatory or ethical reasons

(sources: Lawrence Horner, 1993; Harry Onsman, 2004d)


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