Process mapping is one of the first steps you can take when developing a marketing plan to get your ideas in order. Using these tools prepares your team for each step of a specific process. Maps also make it easier for your team and people from other departments to work together efficiently and produce quality output. Today we’re looking at all you need to know about process map templates with topics like:
A process map is a visual diagram that shows the individual steps of business activities. In marketing, for example, a process map could show how each piece goes from ideation to publication. The diagrams also include information about the people involved in executing each step.
When creating a process map, you use universal symbols to show the actions of the steps in your process. You often add text inside the symbols to further explain the steps and connect each symbol with lines or arrows to show the flow of the process from start to finish.
There are many types of process maps to use, depending on your resources, workflow, and desired goals. Some of these maps and their uses include:
Image via Visual Paradigm
A basic flowchart is the simplest map you can make. It visually shows the most important steps in any process. Use this map to plan new projects, model and document a process, or solve problems. You can also use a basic flowchart to improve team communication and analyze and manage workflows.
Image via Creately
Cross-functional or deployment flowcharts show the relationships between process steps and the teams or departments responsible for them. These diagrams include special features called swimlanes that explain who does what at each step. Separate the lanes with horizontal or vertical lines to form crows, columns, or a grid. Then place the symbols within those areas to show which steps of the process pass through each department.
Use the cross-functional flowchart to identify the roles responsible for each step in a process and how they relate to one another. You can also use it to highlight process flows throughout the company and identify potential delays or work duplications among groups.
Image via ISixSigma
Detailed process maps go deeper than basic flowcharts. They look at all the steps and subprocesses of a workflow in depth. Use this type of map when you’re working with a process that has inputs and outputs at every step. You can also use a detailed process map to define workflow boundaries, triggers, and outcomes.
Image via Wisconsin School of Business
A high-level process map or a value-chain map is a “just the facts ma’am” type of document. It shows the primary activities of a process without the extra details of roles or decision steps. Most of these maps include less than five or six of the most basic steps in your workflow. Use a high-level process map to identify the most key steps in a detailed process.
Image via Venngage
Did you know you can turn an infographic into a flowchart? This is a helpful option if you plan to use your process mak for marketing materials or company presentations. Creating a flowchart infographic makes your map easier to understand. But this option may stray from the symbol and text box conventions of other, more traditional, types of maps. Infographic process maps allow your team to show off its creativity while still providing all the helpful information necessary to make the process clear.
Image via Navvia
The acronym SIPOC stands for suppliers, inputs, processes, outputs, and customers. As the name suggests, this map shows all the key elements of a process. Use it to identify items that fall into each category before creating a more detailed map. You can also use the SIPOC to define the vision for a complex process. When drawing this map, create a table with five columns, one for each element.
Image via Tallyfy
Value stream maps show the flow of information and materials necessary to bring a product or service to a customer. Use this map to record and measure the inputs and outputs of any process step. You can also use a value stream map to identify wasted time or resources within or among processes. This map style provides insight into decision-making and process flow and identifies where to focus future projects and subprojects.
Each step in a process map has its own symbol, called a flowchart shape. There are nearly 30 standard shapes. Some are basic, while others are for very specific technical workflows, such as programming processes. It’s helpful to use a guide to understand what each symbol stands for, especially if you collaborate with other teams or departments that may use some of the specialized shapes. The guide includes:
|Activity or Process||Represents a step within the process|
|Represents a decision to make within the process|
Start and End
|Represents the starting and ending point of a process|
|Represents the connections between steps and the direction of the process flow|
|Represents a step that generates a report or file within the process|
|Shows actions that relate to a task that’s part of a larger process or a process within another process on its own flowchart|
|An alternative to the original process step you can use in its place|
|Represents a stall or waiting period in the process|
|Shows a preparation step that’s necessary to complete before another step in the process|
|A sequence of steps or commands that repeat until someone stops them manually|
|Shows the point where a loop stops|
|Connects one or more pages or sections in the chart that you can’t connect by an arrow or line|
|Shows that a process continues off the current page, and includes a letter or number within the shape to direct to the next step elsewhere in the document|
|Shows a step where subprocesses combine into one|
|Shows where a process splits into two parallel directions|
|Shows where a process diverges into two or more branches|
|Shows where two or more|
subprocesses merge into one
Input and Output Data
|Shows where materials or information enter and leave a process|
|Shows a step that generates multiple reports or files|
|Shows a step that makes an information display to an audience|
|Shows a step where users must input information manually|
|Represents a step where collected data becomes stored|
|Represents the introduction or creation of a database within the process|
Direct Access Storage
|Represents the introduction of a hard drive into the process|
|Used in programming to show information stored in memory instead of a file|
|Represents part of the process that organizes data into a standard format|
|Represents data, information, and materials sorted into a predetermined order|
Process mapping makes communication and understanding easier among team members, stakeholders, and customers. These visuals also serve as a testing and hypothesizing tool to determine what happens if you change the steps of a particular process. Aside from internal workflows, flowcharts serve as marketing tools to provide investors and customers with a reliable timeline and business plan for production. Maps make process documentation more reader-friendly and spread awareness of the responsibilities of each person involved.
Use these steps to learn how to develop a process map for your team and its goals:
First, choose what process you want to show in your diagram. Consider picking a process that’s underperforming, a new one you want to introduce, or one that makes a direct impact on customer satisfaction. During this step, pick a name for your process if it doesn’t have one already. You can use it as the title for your map.
Make a list of everyone involved with the process, or who you expect to be involved with the process. When creating the map, get input from everyone about their work and how the process currently flows. Have your team list any potential steps you may not know about that take place within the workflow.
Besides interviewing team members about their experience with the process, there are other questions and methods to consider, too. Determine where the process starts and ends and the steps between those two points. Find the inputs and outputs for every step of the process and when, where, and how to complete each step before moving to the next.
For example, if your team developed a process map for its content production workflow, you may look at the starting and ending points of ideation and publication. Then you may discover what steps fall between those points. You could also look at the inputs, such as the drafts of the content that go through the workflow, and the outputs, which are the published pieces. Then you can assign each task to a specific team member or department.
After you’ve gathered the data, arrange your steps in the right order. Depending on the type of map you choose, you may use multiple pages or have specialized sections for subprocesses within each page. Using a template, like the ones we share below, can help you figure out the best arrangement for any type of map.
To draw or create your map, consider a word processing or slideshow program like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. Other options for creating your map include hand drawings and image creation tools like Canva or Adobe. If you don’t want to create a map from scratch, use a pre-made template and fill in the correct information.
Process maps do more than just list the steps of a workflow. They also help you see where there are inconsistencies or areas where you could improve the way you currently do things. Look for areas where you might have bottlenecks, delays, and inefficiencies within the system. Can you eliminate or revise any steps to solve these problems? Are there ways to make the process more efficient or logical? If so, fix them.
The last step is to share your map with the right team members and stakeholders and implement the process. If you’ve changed an old process, implement smaller improvements first. Then you can move to move complex changes. Monitor your process or any changes you’ve made to see if they help make your process more efficient. If not, you can make further changes in the future.
Here are links to 10 process map templates you can find around the internet to help create your own:
Process maps can help you organize and streamline workflows throughout your company. Understanding the composition and design can make it easier to create one that fits your needs or find the right process map templates to save you time.
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