Mapping your processes: don’t complicate, start simple!

Different companies are likely to be in different process performance levels: some may have their processes all mapped out and running effectively and smoothly, while others wouldn’t even know how to begin defining the processes they follow.

When looking for specific tools to make mapping your processes an easier, more effective endeavour, the first step you’ll have to go through is determining how developed and mature your company’s processes are. If, for instance, your
company is just getting started with process improvements and doesn’t really know where to start, the key is to start simple.

How to start mapping your processes?

Having never defined a set of standard common processes or any metrics to accompany improvements through should not stop you from starting. For processes in these basic stages of development, we’d recommend you go for tools that are easier to understand and apply, for better and simpler results.

The two ways we’d suggest you proceed with are old acquaintances for those following the lean philosophy: 5-S and consistent processing (a part of a more complex and comprehensive lean concept known as standard work).

Consistent processing – within standard work – is all about defining a simple, easy to understand process and repeating it over and over again – with the goal of achieving the same results every time. By doing so, it’ll be possible to analyze all of its aspects, what’s going right and what’s going wrong. It’s essentially important that all those involved in the process you define can easily follow it what good is defining and mapping your processes if people can’t really follow them, right?

By defining a consistent process you’ll make sure any inconsistencies and problems created by different approaches will be off the table, and the newly developed process can easily be adjusted according to any problems that may occur in the future. Not only is it confusing, it’s also very counterproductive to try mapping and improving processes without any repeat performance.

When looking for root causes of commonly occurring problems, having a consistent process to begin with is the way to go to clear up the water and have somewhere to start from. Consistency and, therefore, consistent processing is very important for continuous improvement models mainly because having consistency in processes is the reason why continuous improvement actually works – it’s undeniably important to have a stable foundation before working on improvements.

While consistent processing can be a lot of work and may seem complicated, 5-S is a method for cleaning up and simplifying. Its main focus – as we already pointed out here – is on cleaning up and organizing the workspace. Applying 5-S is a very effective way to eliminate any items that are not strictly necessary on your workplace, as well as thoroughly labeling and identifying the needed items and making everything easy to find, on its rightful place.

By simplifying and organizing, 5-S makes it a lot easier to identify and point out any existing problems in the workspace that may diminish productivity and effectiveness. While applying and maintaining 5-S may seem like a lot of work – and it actually is, it requires some organizational changes to really work – it’ll certainly gain you some quick efficiency and productivity gains, as well as a very pleasant place to work at.


Run your processes with Pipefy!

Looking for a tool to help you run your processes? Try Pipefy! We help companies keep organised and more productive by running their processes and day-by-day routines on an easy and intuitive tool, making them leave in the past inefficient manual forms, spreadsheets and e-mail threads.

Written by Isabelle Salemme, Product content manager at Pipefy. She uses her extensive Pipefy knowledge to write informative pieces teaching users to make the best of Pipefy. Besides being responsible for all product-related content, she's an avid reader, a coffee lover and a professional photographer.