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7 Simple Steps to Map Business Processes

Anthony | January 25, 2021


The Reasons Why We Need to Map Business Processes

There are many reasons for mapping your business processes here’s a list of some of them

  • Enables everyone to see the process in the same way.
  • Decreases errors of the procedure.
  • Builds understanding between areas in your business that are cross-functional.
  • Helps everyone to see the “current state.”

Business Process Mapping

When it comes to your teams there are always different personalities and ways of thinking, how do you get everyone to see something the same way?

Moreover, how do you get your whole team to actually perform a task or a process in the same way, every time? Business process mapping is a framework you can use to do just that.  There are a number of key steps to follow to layout a business process graphically so that everyone has the same vision of it and can perform it the same way.

The framework to map your business process 

To successfully turn your business into a sustainable one you must understand how to map business processes so that you can create Standard Operating Procedures to make routine tasks easier, allow sufficient delegation of work, and ensure consistent results.

There are a few simple steps,

  1. first map out a process that’s performed within your business and then
  2. secondly, put together a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

Somebody asked me recently, “How do you map your business processes and then create standard operating procedures?” So I’m going to give you the core steps to do just this and as an added bonus give you an understanding of how to optimize your established processes.

Simple steps to map your business processes

Step 1 – Involve the right people and get an understanding of the scope
The first step is to involve anyone who’s part of this process. Involve your stakeholders, such as,

* the person who needs the job done, and done to their complete satisfaction but may not be involved in the process

* the person doing the work

* anyone peripheral e.g. other business areas such as accounting, project management, a team manager

So anyone who has a touchpoint into or out of the process should be involved and a workshop is an ideal forum to do this

Step 2 – Establish workshop, Communicate, and Collate existing process materials 

Once you have all the right stakeholders identified the next steps are to

* establish a date and time that all attendees can join you

* communicate to the stakeholders the purpose of the session and request that they provide any existing materials used in the process, documentation, checklists, tools, etc used to complete the process

* also highlight the time required to complete the workshop and that their undivided attention is required throughout the session

The materials for the workshop at this step also need to be established and include

* brown paper to tape onto a wall

* post-it™ notes (different colors)

* Sharpie markers to write on the post-it notes

Note: This is known as the sticky note process and allows for steps documented on the sticky notes and stuck to the brown paper to be moved as needed.

Review collated process materials 

Once the stakeholders have provided any existing documentation, checklists, tools, etc they need to be reviewed, read, and understood.

Break down the process into high-level phases

When the collated process materials have been read and understood the next step is to attempt to understand the high-level phases of the process along with any steps completed at each phase.

Here’s an example of writing, publishing, and analyzing a blog post

Step 3 – Define
Delver the workshop with all stakeholders present and map the process.

Identify the steps completed at each phase of the process, who is performing the step, and the end result.

When all stakeholders agree that the process is correct we then want to move to the next step to understand how we can optimize the process

Step 4 – Get ideas
The next thing is to walk through the process that is mapped out on the brown paper with sticky notes and ask the stakeholders questions such as, how can this step be improved – with automation, not doing the step, or perhaps doing something different.  Ideas will start to flow and the ideas need to be captured.  Some ideas will far be fetched and beyond the business objectives, however many can be implemented with ease to achieve the desired end result much faster.

Note: during this step, some ideas will mean a step is removed completely and some will be enhanced. So get everyone’s ideas, update, create move post-it notes, and then arrange the ideas into the order that delivers the result.

Step 5 – Arrange 

Now it’s time to ensure the process steps are arranged in the correct order to achieve the agreed result.  So get everyone’s ideas, update, create move post-it notes, and then arrange the ideas into the order that delivers the result.

Step 1, Step 2 …. and so on.

Step 6 – Refine
And then refine. Walk all stakeholders through the process steps again and see if there are any steps that need to be changed, or don’t work, or are unnecessary, or are missing.

Step 7 – Document the process
Document the process map.  There are many tools to do this including Miro, (which is free).  Once you have documented the process map circulate this back to stakeholders for review and feedback before documenting each step in a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

Documenting the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

When you document each step of the process mapped from the workshop it’s important that an SOP is created for the person completing the step.  For example, in our blog post writing and publishing example, the writer has a step to brainstorm and write so in this instance writing an SOP for the publisher to do this phase is not necessary.

Tools such as Loom can be very handy for recording the steps being completed provided you are clear in explaining the process.

The format we use for documenting a Standard Operating Procedure and includes documenting the following:

  1. the “what” – what is the SOP about
  2. the “why” – why is the SOP required
  3. “when” – when is the process performed, what are the triggers
  4. Who is responsible for completing the SOP e.g. writer
  5. Process step by step – this includes pasting a copy of the process map the document covers
  6. When is the procedure marked as complete?  This is important to document so that you know where it ends and when the next phase begins
  7. SOP Template – logo, header footer, table of contents
  8. the naming convention is very important so put some thought into this so you can locate the procedure later.  For example, as SOP in our business is always begins with SOP at the beginning of the file name

PRO TIPs fo Optimising your Processes 

  1. Loom videos explaining how to complete steps in a phase
    • give the recording to someone else to write down
    • have them make notes on steps that don’t make sense or are unnecessary
  1. Give the SOP to a 3rd person to perform
    • test the clarity fo the process by giving it to a third person to complete
    • identify any areas that are unclear, steps that are missing, or elements that could be rearranged


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