WHY TO MAP PROCESSES:
As a business/process analyst or consultant, you will always have to map processes. Mapping a process should be a dynamic task, which the key factor for you to succeed is the engagement from stakeholders, which are the people who really know about the process you want to map.
The process mapping can have continuous improvement/Lean purpose, RPA (Robotics Process Automation) for implementing a digital transformation plan or any other focused on standardizing the tasks.
If you don’t work directly with the process and its tasks, don’t try to be the hero, neither you will map it all by yourself. You need to bring people together and they will tell you their secrets and views about the process and how it works.
If you have the opportunity to be in person with the team for this workshop, you will only need 04 things:
01 -> sticky-notes – to write process steps
02 -> masking tape – to stick on the wall creating the lanes and the flow
03 -> thick marker pen – easy to read on the sticky notes, avoid thin pen
04 -> an office wall – to stick the steps and draw the flow along the swim lanes
The preparation for this workshop includes knowing which people/departments take part in the process you are mapping, also how much time you will need/is available.
You will draw “swim lanes” on the wall to have the clear vision on which task belongs to each role/department.
To decide if you will have the vision per role or per department in each swim lane you need to check on how detailed it’s going to be. This tip also works on how deep you will go on the steps mapped in the workshop.
Should you dive deep into the task level or leave it on the sub-process step for each role? You decide depending on how much time and energy you have available from the team and your workshop purpose.
Also, consider the mapping maturity in the company, if the process is simple and relatively known, you can dive deeper, or else you can leave it more superficial for this first workshop and later you can detail it more. Remember that the workshop can’t get too exhaustive at the point people lose interest in mapping it and want to return to their normal tasks.
Note that if your goal, for example, is mapping for RPA(Robotics Process Automation) purposes, you will need to dive deeper in the task level. Or if you are mapping for Lean application, maybe you don’t need to dive really deep at first to identify waste and propose a new leaner version for the process.
Be prepared to establish a filter between what is fiction, or how it’s supposed to run, and how it really runs.
HOW TO RUN IT:
To start, have in mind that people know the process and they don’t necessarily have done this type of workshop in the past, so be patient and introduce them on the importance of mapping it and how it’s going to be done.
At the beginning, you will need to speak more, to give examples and to bring people together, this requires great facilitation skills, so have sympathy and identify the people you are dealing with and what is the best approach to run the workshop.
Here is a suggestion of how you can start your workshop:
Introduction – Explaining why to map processes and the actual goals
First steps – If you have an idea of the first steps, take initiative and write them down and stick them on the wall at the same time asking for the team’s consensus.
Facilitate the workshop – after people getting the momentum, just follow the flow and continue providing the right questions to help bringing the steps and rules to the swim lanes.
Each sticky will be a step in the process, and in case you have a conditional step, rotate the sticky to easily differentiate it among the others.
At the end, expect people to still want to change some steps… This activity can bring a lot of insights at the time and make them to remember many things they do automatically everyday and never thought about them before.
This dynamic will alone make people reflect on their tasks, but don’t feel tempted to already draw the future state for the process. If the stakeholders start to throw new solutions at you, write them down and stick them on the “IDEAS PARKING LOT”, a separated space on the wall. This will be useful for you later on the definition of a possible future state for the process.
Expect many sticky notes on the wall, with possible changes during the following hours or days, when people go back to their job and start remembering some parts they missed during the workshop.
(Image: Jared Spool on Twitter https://twitter.com/jmspool/status/878644926245994497)
Now that you have the full process and its roles involved, it’s time to consolidate the material on a Software. I personally use MS PowerPoint for that. It works perfectly for me and I already have a standard and I can easily and quickly digitize the material for further analysis.
Off course there are other great tools for consolidating the material, such as Bizagi. It works well for more complex process and also offers integration with UiPath, SAP, PowerBI, Tableau and many other excellent corporate software.
Depending on your goals, now you have what you need to start a RPA project, a Lean/Continuous Improvement project.
If this material helped you, of if you have any feedback and have executed this, let us know.