Process maps help you to understand and to communicate the activities, or
steps, in a process. Process maps also help you to see the relationships
between inputs and outputs in a process and to identify key decision points.
Cross-functional process maps help you to see the department and the phase in
which an activity occurs.
Departments (also called swim lanes) divide the steps horizontally. After
you add a department, you can add a phase. Phases divide the steps vertically.
A cross-functional process map answers the following questions.
- Which departments and phases
contain the greatest opportunity for improvement?
- What obstacles in the workflow
occur when work moves between departments?
- Can you plan departmental
activities more efficiently? For example, can you consolidate them into fewer
phases of the workflow?
- For a specific project, where
does the process start and end?
- What are the inputs and
outputs of each step in the process?
- 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?
- As a team, determine where
the process starts and where it ends, then walk through each step of the
- Identify the department and
the phase where the step belongs.
- Identify the data associated
with each step of the process. Consider the following items.
- 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
DPMO at each step.
- Lean data: Information
that is often used to identify and eliminate waste, such as resource
utilization or cycle time at each step.
- Record the collected
information in a process map.
For more information, go to
Add a map.