Three simple steps to get started with process mapping | 2c8
Three simple steps to get started with process mapping

How to map a business process

Business processes are most conveniently mapped using a business mapping or modeling tool. There are multiple software programs on the market, designed to facilitate the illustration of different types of processes and organizational structures. Successful process mapping furthermore requires knowledge about the building blocks making up the main processes. For instance, sub-processes and activities. Process mapping further demands a widespread understanding for the context in which the processes exist and operate, like organizational structure, necessary resources, regulatory frameworks and environmental factors among others. To improve your process mapping skills, practice is they best way forward. However, it is not always obvious where to begin when mapping a process or system of processes. To help you get started, we have developed a step-by-step guide on how to get going with your process mapping and modeling. We are using the 2c8 Modeling Tool to demonstrate how easily you can get started with visualizing the process in your organization

Before you get started with process mapping, know what you are working with

Before you get started with process mapping or modeling it is useful to familiarize yourself with the objects your process mapping software is using. There are no universal standards, although some software use similar shapes. Knowing the definitions of the software you are using is key. These are some of the most important shapes used by 2c8 Apps.

Process

A process is a repetitive action transforming a set of inputs to a different set of outputs. Processes consist of a set of activities and can be studied on different levels – in brief or in detail. A  process is named with a verb in infinitive and a noun describing what is happening, for example »Build cars«, »Bake bread« or »Print documents«.

Activity

An activity describes a planned action in a process. Input is defined the process or preceding action. Activities form the basic building blocks of a process. In modeling, activities are always described with a verb and should incorporate the relevant object, such as: »Register order«.

Business object

The business object is a resource or improvement in the form of a physical resource. Sometimes a business object can be used as an abstract entity related to a process, for example »Need for additional information«. The business object is named with a noun and often includes an adverb to describe its status, such as »Registered order« or »Available resources«.

Requirement

A requirement is a specific property defined for a process, business object or role, expressed by an interested party, organization or process. A requirement is named by showing a direction or level of a specific property such as »improved delivery precision«, »less waste« etc.

Interested party

An interested party is a person or group with a relation to the organization. Interested parties may have demands or requirements the organization have to grant in their processes. The demands and requirements between the organization and an interested party often go both ways. External parties involved in the process are also named interested parties are always named, for instance “Acme Ltd” or given a group name such as “Supplier” or “Owner.”

Organization

An organization is an abstract unit used to describe an organization or unit with defined targets and resources. Organizations are often named after the most important process, such as “Market.”

Role

A role is an abstract collection of competence profiles based on process needs. A role is named according to the competence profile needed by the process, e.g. »System developer«, »Project leader« etc. Numerous roles can be gathered into a position.

Position

A position in an organizational unit. A position can consist of one or more roles and is named like for example »Finance manager«.

Application and archive

An application is an information system supporting a process or activity. It is often used in process and application models. Archive is used when the support is an archive of some kind.

Gateways (And/Or)

A gateway is used when an activity is followed by two or more activities. If more than one of the following activities can be performed then the »and« variant is used. If only one activity should be chosen the »or« variant is used. »Join« can be used when a previously split flow goes back together. It should then be interpreted as waiting for all previous activities being completed before resuming

Arrow

Arrows show relationships between the objects. They can indicate the direction a process is flowing or if an object has some sort of responsibility towards another object. They can also show if an object contains other objects or addresses another object. They show any relationship between two objects.

Step 1: What process are you mapping?

Before you start mapping it is helpful to remind yourself of the definition of a process: the practice of repeatedly transforming an input, through a set of defined value-adding activities, to achieve a refined output. A convenient start is thus determining the input and output values of the process you are mapping. For instance, let say you are mapping a simple procurement process. Your input value could be “increase stocks” and your output value could be “increased stocks” and “vendor’s invoice.” By defining the input and output, you have framed the chosen process and the only value-adding activities you are concerned with are the ones essential to bring you from your input point to your output point.

Step 2: What activities make up your process?

Once you have decided what process you are mapping, you will have to consider what activities make up the process. Activities are the most fundamental building blocks of a process. For instance, a procurement process includes multiple activities such as order, payment, delivery, stocking, returns etc. Activities are value-adding tasks, bringing your input value, in our example, “increase stocks” to your end goal (or output value) “increased stocks” and “vendor’s invoice.”

Step 3: What resources does your process require?

When you have established the process you are mapping, including relevant activities, it is time to consider the resources involved. What resources go into each activity? What requirements and demands influence the performance of an activity? What external support is required? What roles are involved and how are tasks and responsibilities divided and described? Understanding both the physical and human resources involved in a given activity is key to map the process flow.

Sharing your process map

To leverage the benefits of business process mapping or modeling, it is important to consider implementation. A process map is a unique way of visualizing your organization or business, bring about discussions and incorporate different perspectives on potential improvements or developments. However, it requires that your process map or model is shared within the organization and that there is a forum to encourage the exchange of knowledge and new ideas. 2c8 Modeling Tool makes it easy to share your maps and models within your organization, allowing widespread or limited access to all or partial parts of a map or process.

Are you interested in learning more about process mapping with 2c8 Apps? Book a free demo, download a trail or learn more about our services here.

2c8
  • en