Use a process map to illustrate the sequential flow and the
relationship of steps in a process or procedure.
Process maps help you to understand and to communicate the activities, or
steps, in a process. They also help you to see the relationship between inputs
and outputs in a process and to identify key decision points and uncover rework
Answers the questions:
What areas of the process show
the greatest opportunity for improvement?
For a specific project, where
does the process start and where does it end?
What does the actual process,
not the assumed process, look like at the start of the project?
What are the inputs and
outputs of each step in the process?
For a specific project, which
inputs have little impact on the output of interest?
Which steps are the bottlenecks and sources of defects?
Which steps have a direct impact on customer requirements?
Can you simplify, combine, or
eliminate steps in the process?
What does the actual process
look like at the end of the project?
When to Use
Identify potential projects and isolate areas of the process that
Start of project
Scope the project. Define the start and the end of a process
segment that is the focus of the project.
Identify steps in the actual process along with their inputs,
outputs, activities, and constraints.
As a team exercise, set aside inputs that have little influence on
the output of interest.
As a team exercise, simplify and eliminate process steps.
End of project
Document changes in procedures for the improved process.
This tool has no data requirements because you use it only to collect and
organize process steps.
Create a process map with a
team of people who have various jobs related to the process. A cross-functional
team can help you to identify activities, inputs, outputs, or process data that
you might fail to see from a single perspective.
Always "walk the process" to
ensure the process map is accurate.
When you use a process map
to identify potential inputs, focus on one step at a time.
As a team, determine where the process starts and where it ends, and
then walk through each step of the process.
Identify the data associated with each step of the process, including:
Activities: Names of the steps in the process map.
Inputs: X variables that might influence the output of interest,
either directly or indirectly.
Outputs: Y variables that depend on X variables.
Process data: Information that further defines the characteristics
of a process, such as the yield or DPMO at each step.
Lean data: Information that is typically used to identify and
eliminate waste, such as resource utilization or cycle time at each step.
Record the collected information in a process map.