Plain and simple….everything, everyone does in an organization is a process, whether or not it is acknowledge as a process. A process is a series of actions and steps to achieve a particular end, typically involving transforming inputs into outputs. All the people, infrastructure, and partners of an organization are processing inputs and making them into outputs. While this may seem like a gross oversimplification of an organization, and a bit depressing, it is an important and necessary conceptual foundation.
To get you going on process mapping, download the free and editable Process Mapping Template with the mapping icons and two examples of process maps.
Exercise 1 – Map your Process
Take an important process that you or your team own, and that is done on a regular basis. Use the various symbols to map out the process. Then, if you have data, note how long each step takes on the process map. The next step is to identify where there are issues or bottlenecks and then create ideas on how to improve the entire process.
Exercise 2 – Create a Standard Operating Procedure
Once you’ve mapped out the process, codify it by writing a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). Identify the outputs, the stakeholders, the inputs, and then document the various steps of the process, and also the service levels (how long it should take, the quality level, etc.) Have someone else read it and try to replicate the process to ensure that anyone, with the right skill level, can execute the process.