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7 Steps to Effective Business Process Mapping

As you evaluate your current business operation, the time may come to start rethinking the processes you've implemented in your business. Knowing where to start is the first step in knowing how to achieve your goals. Process Mapping is an effective tool that is often used but what is it and how does it work?


What is Business Process Mapping?

Business Process Mapping is a technique for creating a visual representation of how an organization's activities work together. My team of consultants document what the business does, how it's done, and who is responsible for its components. We use diagrams or flowcharts to show the order of steps and activities in the process, representing how the activities are connected and how they rely on each other.

A process map typically consists of several key components. First, there are the process steps, which outline the individual actions or tasks required to complete the process. Shapes or symbols, such as rectangles or ovals often represent these steps. These process steps are assigned to the role or roles that perform those steps. Arrows or lines connect the steps to show the flow and sequence of activities. Decision points, typically represented as diamond-shaped symbols, are included in the map to represent choices or branching paths within the process. 

Other elements that may be included in a process map are inputs and outputs, which represent the materials, information, or resources entering or exiting the process at each step, as well as how communication flows between people and systems. Overall, these components work together to provide a visual representation of the process flow.

By visually mapping out the process, it becomes easier to identify the specific steps, who is responsible for each task, and how different components of the process are connected. It highlights opportunities for improvement by providing a visual representation of the current state of the process. It allows businesses to identify redundancies, unnecessary steps, or areas where tasks can be streamlined or automated.


What Steps are Involved in Process Mapping?

Step 1: Identify the Process: We partner with our clients to identify the processes that would benefit from process mapping to address the client’s concerns. Process Maps vary in size from a small project analyzing an individual process or specific portion of a process to large ones reviewing processes across the organization.

Step 2: Gather Information: Once the focus areas are identified, our business consultants use various methods to gather the information needed to create process maps for your company. Our goal is to ensure a thorough understanding of your processes without taking up too much of your time. We'll use multiple approaches to obtain the information we need to develop thorough process maps:

    • Interviews:My team will conduct interviews with key individuals involved in the process, including process owners, managers, and employees. We will ask specific questions to gain insights into the steps, dependencies, and challenges involved. 
    • Analyzing Policies and Other Documents:We will review existing process documentation, such as standard operating procedures, work instructions, and policies. This analysis will help us understand the intended steps and compare them to the actual practice within your company. 
    • Reviewing Technology Systems: My team will carefully analyze how the technology systems used in your processes contribute to or impede the flow and integration of the process. We will provide recommendations on how to use automation solutions to enhance productivity within your organization. 

Step 3: Create a Process Flowchart: Using visual elements and symbols, we will create one or many comprehensive process flowcharts. These identify key roles, hand-offs, decision points, and how steps, resources, systems, and subprocesses connect.

Step 4: Analyze Process Steps: My experienced team will analyze each process step, assessing its efficiency, effectiveness, and potential for improvement. By identifying bottlenecks, redundancies, delays, and error-prone areas, we will uncover opportunities for enhancement.

Step 5: Seek Feedback and Validation: We'll actively seek feedback from relevant stakeholders, such as process owners and subject matter experts throughout the process, validating the accuracy and completeness of the process map.

Step 6: Document Improvement Opportunities: Building on the analysis and feedback received, we document specific process areas that present opportunities for improvement. Our recommendations focus on streamlining workflows, eliminating unnecessary steps, introducing automation, and encouraging collaboration.

Step 7: Implement Changes and Monitor Results: Once opportunities for improvement are identified, we are available to collaborate with you to implement the necessary changes. Throughout the implementation process, we will closely monitor and measure the impact of the changes to ensure your desired outcomes are achieved.


How long does Process Mapping usually take?

The duration of Process Mapping varies by project and can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the number of processes included in the project, their complexity, and the specific needs of your company. We work with you to fully define the scale and scope of the project and the most effective output form within your budget and desired goal.

The availability of employees with key roles in the process also affects the timeline. If it is challenging to coordinate interviews with these individuals, it may prolong the mapping process.

Additionally, the depth of detail required in the process map can influence the timeframe. If a high level of specificity is needed, it may take longer to accurately represent each step and its associated information.

Allocating enough time for Process Mapping is crucial to create a thorough and accurate representation of the process. Striking a balance between the project's timeline, goals and budget is essential. Considering the necessary time commitment for process mapping ensures that the exercise is completed effectively, resulting in a valuable tool for optimizing your processes.


How much does Process Mapping cost?

Due to the factors mentioned earlier, the answer to this question varies by organization. My aim is to help you make informed decisions that fit your budget and business goals and we will consult with you to define the following elements that drive project cost:

  • Number of processes.
  • Steps, connections, and resources involved in each process.
  • Level of detail to be captured.
  • Type of information to be captured.

A small Process Mapping project with less complexity and fewer details would require 30-40 hours of our time to complete while larger projects can require upwards of 100 or even 200 hours to complete. The process map output would also include highlighting areas for improvement and direct action you can take to address them. 

By following this simple approach, Process Mapping will help you better understand your processes and find ways to make them work more effectively.

Learn more about how my Business Consulting team can customize the Process Mapping experience to your needs, so you can achieve your goals and make your business run smoother.

To learn more about Process Mapping, watch my video on Process Mapping on our Business Consulting page orread my blog on 6 Ways Process Mapping Can Strengthen Your Organization. If you are interested in further exploring process mapping for your company, please feel free to contact me


Kate Hermansen
Kate Hermansen, MBA   |   Director of Business Consulting

Since 2021, Kate has led an experienced team of consultants as the Director of Business Consulting. In this role, she empowers organizations to envision new possibilities, achieve goals faster, and operate with greater efficiency.

Visit our Business Consulting page to learn how our services can transform your organization and propel future growth. Our consulting team is available to discuss your specific needs. Let’s start a conversation.



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