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Essential Guide to Business Process Mapping

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Ever wonder if drawing could turn into an invaluable business process that enhances productivity in your office? Consider what you can do by transforming your doodles into thoughtful flowcharts.

Business Process Mapping is a concept we here at The Methodology Blog have discussed periodically over the years. We’ve talked about the advantages of diagram value documentation. We’ve highlighted the importance to process mapping in conjunction with technology. We’ve highlighted the idea that even the simplest of visualizations can offer profound insight. Mapping is a vital concept in business for many reasons including process improvement, innovation, employee engagement and retention, productivity and increased workflow. If this concept is relatively new to you, or is an area in your business that is underdeveloped and/or in need of improvement, consider taking a look at the Essential Guide to Business Process Mapping published on Smartsheet.com. This guide is a fantastic way to learn the ins and outs of BPM and how it can be utilized successfully in your business. According to the guide, mapping is defined as such:

Business process mapping, a part of Business Process Management (BPM), is a framework used to create visual representations of work processes. Business process maps show the relationship between the steps and inputs to produce an end-product or service, such as when a product goes through packaging or when an employee’s leave is approved. This process of documentation is concerned with what a business does, why it does what it does, what the standard is for success, who is responsible, and when and where different steps will occur.

There are many areas that are covered in this guide including: the scope, history, types, principles, framework, symbology, process and steps of Business Process Mapping. But, for the sake of time, we will not go through all these facets. So, we encourage you to read the guide in full to learn a vast amount of information on the subject matter. We would however, like to highlight the expert advice provided in the guide by one of AccelaWork’s principals, Robby Slaughter.

flowchart

© Flickr user Mesq

In The Essential Guide to Business Process Mapping, Slaughter provides his knowledge and perspective on BPM and why it’s incredibly important for businesses to focus upon its advantages. Specifically, he emphasizes why utilizing BPM when it comes to the technology piece in business can not only enhance your investment, but is vital to its success. Below is an excerpt from the guide in which Slaughter explains:

“The technical capacity of BPM has dramatically outpaced the level of adoption or even awareness of the field. Most companies have never done any process mapping — not even informally — and they suffer from poorly-defined procedures, minimal staff engagement, and significant rework and duplication.

“Your time is the most important investment, and purchasing software or hiring consultants won’t help if your team isn’t truly committed to process mapping. Learn one or two of the UML forms. I suggest using case diagrams and activity diagrams. Practice these extensively with fun, non-work processes like planning a party or scoring a frame of bowling. Once you learn the technology of process mapping, you’ve got a fighting chance of implementing it in your organization.

“We’ve done process mapping for all kinds of organizations, from marketing firms to factories to logistics companies. In most cases, the experience requires sitting down with staff directly and watching them work to learn about the procedures. This is the only accurate method to document the as-is state of the organization. Training materials, manuals, and even what management says is usually outdated or flat wrong.

“It’s good to select a low-impact, high-visibility process to highlight the capacity and utility of mapping. From there, the next step is to develop a lexicon for the organization. This is the terminology that people use to describe activities and work product. Then, we’re most interested in processes that cross teams or departments. That’s usually the area where there is the biggest disconnect and the most challenges.”

Once you’ve read through the guide and have gotten familiar with the concept of mapping, consider reaching out to AccelaWork to learn more about Business Process Modeling and innovation. While mapping and modeling are separate, together they can elevate your business process management to a whole new, exciting level!

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Ashley Lee

Ashley Lee

Ashley has been working with the AccelaWork team since 2008. She is a communications expert with a background in corporate work, and a graduate of the University of Dayton with a degree in Public Relations. She lives in the greater Indianapolis area with her husband and four children. Ashley enjoys jewelry, fashion, and coffee.
Ashley Lee

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