Formal Process Mapping (A SPRINT Phase II task)
Process mapping takes the information that has been gathered from the detailed workplace observations and stakeholder interviews and maps the various processes under investigation.
Processes can be divided into two classes: formal and informal.
- Formal Processes can be shown diagrammatically using Role Activity Diagrams (RAD.)
- Informal Processes should be described via a narrative description, which can be enhanced by an improvised diagram - a "rich picture" (Rich Pictures are covered in the Toolkit Resource section of this website)
The primary role of this modelling is not to provide endless documentation but to offer a clear understanding of the baseline process. The models should therefore be understandable to clients as well as to BPR experts.
Once processes have been mapped, they should be validated by the stakeholders as being true and correct representations of the processes.
It is important that process mapping is a dynamic not a static process.
We are mapping the process in the first instance in order to validate our understanding of the process. Once we are certain that what we have mapped is what actually happens, we are now in a position to interrogate the map and, along with other knowledge gained by observation, interview and metrics studies, we can identify bottlenecks, waste and areas where further investigation is required.
"Waste" refers to those parts of the process that do not contribute to our overall objective and/or cause a "waste" of time or resource.
Process mapping can be an ongoing task. At the investigation stage, the aim is to help clarify processes that might be complex or poorly understood. The use of RADs should help the BPR team gain the confidence of the process users by graphically showing an understanding of how they work, and the rigour of this formal mapping should bring out the dependencies and particularities of a process.
Our observations and stakeholder interviews have provided the necessary information through which we can begin mapping existing processes.
Decide which processes should be formally mapped, and produce Role Activity Diagrams for these, identifying any 'waste' at the same time. If there are any parts of the diagram that you are uncertain about, you may need to clarify this from your observation and interview notes, or go back to the interviewer.
It should always be borne in mind that the primary role for modelling is to help the investigator understand the baseline process. Thus models must be simple and intelligible to clients so that they can for the basis of an efficient two-way discussion. The notation must not be so complex that it becomes a distraction. Models should be seen primarily as communication devices.
The formal process mapping is an important part of the phase II report. Processes should be given a brief narrative explanation, and this brief explanation should be supported by the notation. The aim of this is to document the existing processes so that it is clear what actually happens. (In some cases this may well be different than documented procedures, which is why this task is so important.)
It may well be that several processes are mapped at the same time or that different processes have a similar core.
The aim of the mapping is i to fully understand the existing process in order to re-engineer it. It is likely that the RADs (and possibly some "rich pictures") will be included in the appendix to the phase II report, and that a summary of the process will be in the main body of the report.
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