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A Process is a series of connected steps or actions to achieve an outcome. Process Maps and flow Charts are the most commonly used methods for designing and analysing processes and are the most widely used of all the problem solving tools.

By graphically representing the logical steps of a process, promotes a greater and shared understanding of 'how the work is done' and this presents opportunities for identification of problems and non value adding steps, which can lead to process improvements.

How to - Flow Chart (pdf 103 kb)
The guide includes an overview of flow charts, when to use them, benefits, the symbols used, different types of flow charts, how to develop and interpret them; as well as exercises for getting started...
The US Navy Total Quality Leadership Office

Follow the Map
This article shows how process mapping can be used by the Six Sigma black belt or green belt to help them in two essential aspects of the Six Sigma method. The first is in the initial capture of the process where true understanding of how things are done currently is developed, this being vital to build an objective case for improving the process. The second is in the improvement phase itself where it is necessary to prototype, experiment, communicate and ultimately explain how process improvements affect the new way of doing things. This article also explains how any enterprise seeking to document a process can use the distributed process mapping methodology to get the mapping phase completed quickly and with the most accurate results, as well as ensuring total staff buy-in and ownership of the eventual outcome...
Michael Cousins Triaster

Supporting the Distributed Process Mapping Approach
This compilation of quotes provided by Triaster presents an unarguable case for the Distributed Process Mapping Approach whilst highlighting the power of the internet for research and learning...

Process Mapping Gives Great Direction

Process mapping is the first step of process management. It consists of tools that enable you to document, analyse, improve, streamline and redesign the way your company performs work. In this article Robert Boehringer and Paul King provide an overview and a simple example of a process map...

Continual Improvement Tools & Techniques
A Guide for Business Improvement

Continual Improvement Tools & Techniques: A Guide for Business Improvement View larger image

This guide explains how to carry out more than twenty tools & techniques necessary to ensure your business continually improves.

Topics covered include:

Affinity diagrams, Bar charts, Black & white charts, Brainstorming, Cause & effect diagrams, Design of Experiments (DoE), Failure Mode, Effect and Criticality Analysis (FMEA/FMECA), Fault Tree Analysis (FTA), Five WHY’s for root cause analysis, Five Ws & one H for problem definition, Flow charting, Histograms, Pareto analysis, Pictograms, Pie charts, Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, Quality Function Deployment (QFD), Rating, Repeatability and Reproducibility tests (R&R), Run charts, Significance testing, Solution effect diagrams

Also includes a handy matrix showing when to apply which tool & technique.

Further reading

The Basics of Process Mapping

The Basics of Process Mapping
by Robert Damelio

This book is short (66 pages) and can be read in under an hour. As the title says its “The Basics of Process Mapping”. Nevertheless it provides a handy introduction into the concept of process mapping, with easy to understand and practical examples. Best of all it’s cheap enough to buy the whole team a copy.

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Mapping Work Processes
by Dianne Galloway

Mapping Work Processes

This best seller shows how to create flowcharts, which are proven to help improve any work process. Detailed exercises teach anyone how to chart and document processes, understand them, and make improvements from them. This hands-on, step-by-step workbook includes instructions on how to document work process-requirement for ISO 9000 registration. Graphics and illustrations are used to help the reader grasp the fundamentals of mapping quality. Benefits: Use the checklists to select the process to map * Create a detailed flowchart of your process * Features 13 techniques to improve the process once a map is created.

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