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Analysis> Process Change >What is a Process Map?

A process map (some time referred to as a flowchart) is a graphical representation of a process. It represents the entire process from start to finish, showing inputs, pathways and actions or decision points, and ultimately, completion. It can be used as an instruction manual or a tool to help carry out analysis to help improve workflow and service delivery.

Steps to produce a Process Map 

Step 1: Determine the Boundaries

  • Where does the process begin?

  • Where does the process end?

Step 2: List the Steps

  • Use a verb to start the task description.

  • The process map can either show sufficient information to understand the general process flow or detail every action and decision point.

Step 3: Sequence the Steps

  • Use post-it notes so you can move tasks around.

  • Do not draw arrows until later.

Step 4: Draw Appropriate Symbols

     Start with the basic symbol: (click to view example)

  • Ovals show input to start the process or output at the end of the process

  • Boxes or rectangles show tasks or activities performed in the process.

  • Arrows show process direction, which way it flows.

  • Diamonds are placed where decisions need to be made usually a yes/no question.

  • Normally there is only one arrow out of an activity box. If there is more than one arrow, you may need a decision diamond.

Step 5: System Model

  • Draw charts using a system model approach.

  • Input - use information based upon people, machines, material, method, and environment.  

  • Process - use subsets of processes in series or parallel.

  • Output - use outcomes or desired results.

Step 6: Check for Completeness

  • Include pertinent chart information, using title and date for easy reference.

Step 7: Finalise the Process Map - sense check it.

  • Ask if this process is being run the way it should be.

  • Are people following the process as charted?

  • Do we have a consensus?

  • What is redundant; add what is missing.

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