Process mapping: Flowcharts and their secrets

The purpose of a process mapping flow chart is to create a general understanding of the process for everyone involved. This could include those in the delivery of resources and information to get it started; those who operate the process; or those who receive their deliveries as internal customers.

In this way, it’s possible to have a formal view of the process. Including, its agents, the tasks they must perform and in what order, what procedures to follow, what documents people use and other details.

When using a process mapping flow chart, you create a visual document that describes all of these points in a clear and objective way. You need to use a notation common to the participants, which should preferably be BPMN.

To learn more about BPMN, visit these blog posts:

In this post, we’ll show you an efficient way to map business processes with flowcharts, following 6 steps.

Process mapping flow chart: How to create a 6-step flowchart

One of the most common errors of those who propose to design a process mapping flow chart is to begin dedicating themselves to this task without taking into account the entire organizational context.

This is why the first two process mapping flow chart steps involve activities related to the organization as a whole.

1- Understand the strategic objectives of the organization

Modeling a process embedded in a company’s value chain without understanding its strategic objectives can be a serious mistake.

To achieve the goal of increasing market share, for example, it could be that certain process stages are less important than if the organization had decided to reduce costs.

And depending on the importance of each task from the process of achieving the company goals and creating value for customers, it can be executed in different ways, with more or less controls, use of resources or even automation.

2- Discover how the process you intend to model falls into the chain of processes

Another important point: It’s not possible to model processes and create your flowchart correctly without paying attention to the inputs and outputs, information, and resources necessary for it and the processes that depend on your deliverables to function properly.

Therefore, before beginning the process mapping flow chart, clearly define the corporate context.

A good tip is to create a top-level view of your processes using a traditional Value Chain notation. Here is an example:

See also how the value chain diagram feature works on HEFLO.

3- Map the AS IS process

Don’t tempt yourself into idealizing and thinking about process improvements. This isn’t the goal at this stage. Focus your attention on the process as it unfolds in the present moment.

Understanding how and what the company does may not be as simple as you imagine. Something that doesn’t seem to make sense right now may prove necessary to complete the process mapping flow chart.

4- Involve all participants in the process

Yes, you shouldn’t exclude anyone as this creates the risk of not collecting all the necessary information. And a small omitted detail can make all the difference in building your process mapping flow chart.

Moreover, if they’re not all present, some may feel that they weren’t part of the decision-making process. They may think that it doesn’t represent their point of view.

To make this activity more agile and dynamic, step 5 can help you a lot.

5- Engage people

If it is not possible to gather all the participants at once, invest in the disclosure of the processes. Use the technology to your advantage. Also, allow people to submit questions and suggestions for improvements. See below the HEFLO portal feature available on smartphones:

See also: Business process publishing on HEFLO.

Thus, as everyone becomes aware of the bottlenecks, delays and inefficiencies, they will more readily accept and adopt changes to the TO BE process (which you model afterwards).

6- Collection of documents

In addition to providing a better understanding of everything that is done and controlled, collecting all the documents used will help to have a deep understanding of the situation, as well as help in process analysis and defining what can be automated in the process.

Here are some examples of documents companies use in processes: forms, manuals, tables, policies, checklists, FAQ, templates and others.

With all of this defined, the process mapping flow chart will be built with much more assertiveness, allowing you to analyze it carefully and move on to the next step: modeling the new process.

See more about the advantages of a process mapping flow chart in this article: Workflow process mapping: Can it help a company?

Quiz: Do you know the 3 types of business processes? Test your knowledge.

To make information flow more transparently and efficiently during process mapping, the use of a BPMN modeling tool that allows the sharing of the flowcharts in a portal can help a lot.

Get to know HEFLO, the cloud-based BPMN software that also helps you share process diagrams across your enterprise.

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