When speaking about process mapping and analysis techniques, you are practically talking about almost all of the most important issues of process management or BPM.
See also: What is human-centric BPM?
Therefore, before presenting some of the most utilized process mapping and analysis techniques, it is important to remember the goal of BPM. In short, a BPM project should add value to business, i.e. its chain of activities should give the end customer a product that fits their needs so that they are willing to pay an amount for it that covers the expense of producing it.
As you can see, it is easy to understand the proper use of BPM. Using the correct process mapping and analysis techniques aims to ensure the sustainability of an organization to seek high performance and profitability.
In this context, various aspects of the value chain should be analyzed to achieve improvement. We’ll address four of the most important of them and then present the techniques that can aid improvement.
Remember that a BPM system in addition to process design allows for fast and efficient communication with transparency and control through intuitive management dashboards, helping considerably in this process.
Using Process Mapping and Analysis Techniques: 4 Key Points
The intent here is to draw attention to the fact that the techniques should be used to identify, among many other things, these 4 key elements:
- Bottlenecks: points where tasks accumulate and the process flow is slowed. These should be analyzed and the problem solved. Read more about bottlenecks…
- Points of contact with the customer: should always be fully satisfying experiences. Monitor them, as these are the times when the customer “judges” the company.
- Determine the value-adding activities: these should be improved the most. Those that do not add value should be stopped.
- The interaction between systems: The so-called “Handoffs” are the times when information passes from one system to another, often by human action, and should be structured so that the information passed from one to another remains reliable.
Learn more: The 7 Principles of process design
To better understand how to map processes, have a look at these posts:
3 Process Mapping and Analysis Techniques
1. The 5W1H Technique
One of the techniques commonly used to analyze processes is called 5W1H, called this due to its keywords: What, Where, Who, When, Why and How (5 W’s and 1 H).
The technique is to answer a questionnaire using questions starting with these words, in an attempt to find out a lot about the process. Let’s have a look at a possible list of 20 questions:
- What are the inputs to the process?
- What are the outputs?
- What are the objectives?
- What technology is used?
- Where is the process executed?
- Where is the product finalized?
- Where is the product sold?
- Who are the customers of the process?
- Who are the suppliers of the process?
- Who performs the procedure?
- When does the process start?
- When does it end?
- When is it evaluated?
- When does each sub-process begin and end?
- Why is the process there?
- Why is it made the current way?
- How is the process planned?
- How is the process executed?
- How is the process evaluated?
- How is the process controlled?
These are just some possible questions. Depending on the process specifications, they can be expanded and modified.
OK, so you understand the process and have detected some points of interest (bottlenecks, interactions, critical activities that add value, points of contact with customers, etc.), you must decide which to attack first, see the following techniques for a way to decide.
2. The GUT Matrix Technique
A very practical and intuitive technique, the GUT matrix is used to set the priority in which the problems encountered should be treated.
GUT stands for:
- Gravity: the degree of damage if nothing is done
- Urgency: what will happen if nothing is done immediately?
- Trend: What’s the worst that could happen by postponing the solution
Establish 1-5 notes on each criterion for each process or activity to be improved. Analyze the notes to find out where to start!
3. BASICS Matrix Technique
Similarly to the previous approach, but going into more detail, this approach allows a refinement of your solutions prioritization analysis (GUT) and looks for an order of priorities that maximizes the value of customers’ needs.
Each letter of the word BASICS has a meaning:
- Benefit to the organization
- Satisfied internal client
- Investment required
- Customer satisfaction
- Simple operability
For each item, you must assign a score from 1 to 5. When you add them up, you will know what their priority is so that you can put together an improvement plan for the process.
Here’s what to analyze in every aspect:
1. The benefit to the organization:
Solving this problem can bring cost savings, increased production or reduced errors and defects.
The number of employees who will benefit from the solution.
3. Satisfied internal customer:
The level of satisfaction that will be perceived by employees using the solution of this problem.
4. Investment required:
What is the value of resources that you need to devote to the improvement of this process?
5. Client satisfaction:
What will be the effect on the external customer?
6. Simple operability:
What are the practical difficulties going to be for the improvement project? Analyze factors such as the resistance to change, socio-cultural aspects, important technology, implementation simplicity and ease of use, for example.
As you can see, these are just some of the process mapping and analysis techniques; there are many others. As well as these ideas, a good business process mapping software can also assist in this work.