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Before starting 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 uses similar shapes. Knowing the definitions of the software you are using is key. 2c8 Apps is using a system based on IDEF-standards, a family of modeling language within IT and systems sciences. Relating to universal rules and regulations make your models readable and understandable for everyone.
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«.
An activity describes a planned action in a process. Input is defined as 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«.
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«.
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 specific property such as »improved delivery precision«, »less waste« etc.
An interested party is a person or group with some sort of 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.”
Used to specify an organization or department/unit/section with resources in the form of Positions, Roles, and Individuals. An organization is usually named based on the function where resources with similar competences is found. E.g. “Finances”, “Sales”, “Planning”.
A role is a competence or responsibility derived from a need in a process, project, forum, or an IT-system. For example, project member, chairperson, system administrator. It can vary between organizations weather a person’s title is a position or role. For example, »Software developer«, »Project manager«, »Supply manager«.
A position is the title of what someone is hired as. A position can be responsible for or belong to an organizational unit and the position can consist of one or more roles. A position could be for example »CFO«, »Financial Assistant«, »Software Developer«, »CEO«. It can vary between organizations weather a person’s title is a position or role. For example, »Software Developer«, »Project Manager«, »Supply Manager«.
An application is an information system supporting a process or activity. It is often used in process and application models. The archive is used when the support is an archive of some kind.
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
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.
Below, we have gathered 3 important steps that are essential to think about when starting process 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, lets 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.
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.”
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.
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 trial or learn more about our services here.