Process Mapping Definition
Process mapping is a technique that uses workflow diagrams to visually describe business processes. A workflow diagram shows the relationships between tasks and visualizes process information like the flow of work, who is involved in the process, what execution and quality standards are followed and what is the expected outcome.
Process mapping is a part of business process management and is usually implemented with the help of bpm software tools. Its main purpose is the deep understanding of the processes, the internal transparency and the continuous improvement.
Diagrams help managers, identify whether the execution aligns to the business values and objectives, measure performance and become more effective. Business process analysis and visualization is also encouraged by ISO 9001 : 2015, as it effectively contributes to quality management.
Why use process maps?
Companies and large enterprises all over the world use business process mapping to translate business data into useful information, identify improvements that can be made, optimize business processes and become more effective.
With process mapping, process information becomes easily accessible and deeply understood by everyone involved while repetition mistakes are prevented. A flowchart can define the way in which processes should be executed ensuring that quality standards are followed every time the same workflow runs.
Steps of business process mapping
To map a process, you should follow the steps below:
- Identify the process you want to map
- Identify the purpose of the mapping: what you would like to optimize or measure
- Set the start and end points
- Analyze the process by identifying the activities and the connections between them
- Set the sequence of the activities
- Use basic mapping symbols to create the flowchart (for example you can use the BPMN 2.0 notation)
As mentioned above, you can use symbols and notations to visualize the information. Most of the times, software tools with ready (drag and drop) symbols and connectors are used to simplify the flowchart creation.
Flowchart is the most basic example of a business process map. It uses basic symbols to describe actions, activities, tasks, sub processes, decision points, documents, flow of work, completion time, events, gateways, people and systems involvement.
The symbols are similar to UML symbols. Most common symbols used are:
- Circles: represent the start and end points
- Rectangular boxes: process steps (tasks, sub processes)
- Diamonds: decisions that must be made to move on, they usually have two branches
- Arrows: represent connections between elements
Download complete BPMN 2.0 Notation guide.
Process Mapping Software
To start with business process mapping, you should carefully select your process mapping software. Comidor is a powerful business process management platform with BPMN 2.0 drag & drop workflow designer.