Essential Guide to Business Process Mapping


Original Article Posted at Essential Guide to Business Process Mapping on March 17, 2017

With the range of disparate personalities and ways of thinking on your team, how do you get everyone to see something the same way? Moreover, how do you get your whole team to actually perform a task or a process in the same way, every time? Business process maps are a framework intended to do just that: layout a process graphically so that everyone has the same vision of it and can perform it the same way.

In this guide, we tackle newbie and advanced topics around business process mapping including its scope and purpose, its history, the types of maps, and the benefits. We’ll look at the principles and framework to map out processes, and the current state of process mapping. Then we will review the symbols often found in process mapping and modeling, and explain how to go about actually creating a map. Finally, we’ll cover where business process mapping fits in with process documentation and business process management life cycles, and share expert tips from around the web and around the world.

What Is Business Process Mapping?

Business process mapping, a part of Business Process Management (BPM), is a framework used to create visual representations of work processes. Business process maps show the relationship between the steps and inputs to produce an end-product or service, such as when a product goes through packaging or when an employee’s leave is approved. This process of documentation is concerned with what a business does, why it does what it does, what the standard is for success, who is responsible, and when and where different steps will occur. Business process mapping promotes transparency, not only for those within the company but for all stakeholders, especially those involved in compliance. They can be expressed in flowcharts and in Business Process Modeling and Notation (BPMN) symbols.

Business process mapping is often mistaken for business process modeling. When professionals perform business process modeling, they are more interested in how the processes are performed, and who (or what department) is performing them. In this way, they focus on analyzing and optimizing the business process architecture through reviewing the processes and considering the company’s goals and requirements. A business’s process architecture details the entire enterprise’s set of processes. Often termed a “blueprint,” the architecture is typically used to align the company’s processes with their objectives. Modeling is more about how processes flow, while mapping is about what is in existence. For more information on business process modeling, see the Beginners Guide to Business Process Modeling.


According to Ray McKenzie, Founder and Principal of Red Beach Advisors:

“Companies that decide to map their processes should evaluate the top three to five processes to map first.  Every company has several processes and they all need to be addressed. However, every process cannot be a top priority. It is best for companies to evaluate the top company-impacting pain points, evaluate which points need process definition, and structure a process to solve that pain point. If there is a process that is revenue generating or negative impacting, those should rise to the top of the priority list. As a company is able to develop more and more process, the company injects more stability and growth potential.

“The first process selected to be mapped should be the largest pain point in the business which restricts revenue generation. Every business is going to have obstacles and pain points to have growth. An efficiently run business is a successful business and successful businesses have significant revenue. Revenue generation keeps the business moving forward so a company should want to remove all obstacles slowing the acquisition of revenue.”

Original Article Posted at Essential Guide to Business Process Mapping on March 17, 2017

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