Choosing the best processes to map

Dr Gillian McAllister and Lisa Koch guide a process mapping session

Dr Gillian McAllister and Lisa Koch guide a process mapping session

One of the most effective tools for improving organisational efficiency is business process mapping.

Process mapping provides a platform for bringing staff together to identify ways to streamline processes by:

  • Documenting, as simply as possible, the steps or actions involved in the process;

  • Clarifying responsibility and ownership throughout the process;

  • Identifying how resources are used;

  • Highlighting areas for improvement; and

  • Identifying inefficiencies and how to eliminate them.

Organisations generally operate with many different processes and it can be difficult to know where to begin with a process improvement project. Many don’t know how many processes may be involved or the processes to best target. The key to resolving this dilemma is to develop a set of criteria for prioritising processes for review. What these criteria will be depends on the circumstances of the organisation and the specific drivers for the process improvement project. However, it can be helpful to consider issues such as:

  • Volume of work going through a process;

  • Level of complaints received from customers or clients about the process;

  • Scope to improve the staff experience in dealing with the process;

  • Number of resources involved in a process;

  • How time-consuming or resource intensive the process is; and

  • Whether the process delivers work that is a strategic priority.

We have worked with a number of clients to develop a set of tailored criteria targeted at their particular situation and need. This, in turn, has assisted them to focus their process improvement efforts to derive maximum ‘return on investment’ and find savings and other efficiencies.  In our experience this is the most effective way to begin process mapping, redesign and reform.