What makes our work easier? It’s when we establish the process. It shows the journey of the input through output. A process shows how it’s done from start to finish.
Although some may argue, why not just do things the way you want it without following a process? Why follow a process when you can get things done anyway? Okay, that’s a fair argument but let’s talk about how having a process is more advantageous.
Duplicatable – The thing with work, it’s fairly common that you have to do it all over again. You have to repeat the task. When you establish a process in place, the work can be duplicated with ease. You don’t have to backtrack to check how you have done it before – you just refer back to the process.
And if the job needs to be transferred to another person, all you have to do is endorse the process for that task. As simple as that, a documented process makes work duplicatable.
Consistency – If the same task is performed by several people, it’s easier to have a process. You can say that the result is more consistent because the people are following the same process. You yield similar outcomes because of the step by step instruction that has been put into place.
Deviations – And if the results differ from what is expected, one can immediately turn to the process to investigate where the deviation happened. It’s easier to pinpoint where the error originated when there is a standard process that is being followed.
Performance Metric – With having a process, it’s easier to decide the performance metric. It makes the activities uniform and easy to measure.
Improvement – Some aspects of the task may change and it’s necessary to adapt, having a process enables you to identify which part to modify. Sometimes you don’t need to redo the entire process, you just have to redesign some parts.
Responsibility – Knowing the process would define the responsibilities of the people involved. It’s easier to identify the activity owners and the separation of each task. Process maps make accountability easier to define.
Now that we have established that having a process makes our lives easier – is there also a process in creating the process? Sounds confusing, but it’s a question that makes sense.
How do you draw your process? How do you make your process universal? How to you make it understandable to anyone who sees it? The good news is - this can be done.
You can do process mapping. The process and the decisions are all identified in diagram form. It’s a graphic representation where you can see the flow from start to end.
There are many tools you can use in creating your processes. You can manually draw it, use word processing tools – but that’s just too much work. Not really effective as doing the process alone takes up so much time already. It defeats your purpose, because you want efficiency in the first place.
An advantage we have now is that we live in the age of technology. And we say - take advantage of it. One of the tools we recommend is the MS VISIO. It’s a software where you can draw a diagram for your process map. It’s quite easy to use, and you just need a little know how.
Understand first the commonly used process mapping terms and shapes and what do they represent.
It is recommended that you should also learn the Noun-Verb Process Mapping Method. Familiarise yourself with the commonly used shapes such as: activity, deliverable, inputs, outputs, suppliers, and customers.
Here are the rules of Noun-Verb Process Mapping Method:
It’s easier to draw your process map when you have all the shapes and the functions figured out. You would do your process map faster when you know how to use the shapes. When you look less at the reference, the more efficient you’ll be in VISIO.
Familiarise yourself with VISIO commands. Like any other software, you have to understand how it works. It can get pretty intimidating at first because everything’s new but do not be afraid to explore.
Practice creating process maps. You only get better if you spend time studying how VISIO works. It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes or it takes you long to build a process map. If you do it over and over again, you’ll get the hang of it.
One thing you could do also is to learn the keyboard shortcuts. Know the frequent actions you do in process mapping and check their corresponding shortcuts. You don’t know where to look for them? Don’t fret, we have compiled some useful VISIO shortcuts here:
New Process Map - Ctrl + N
Save the Process Map - Ctrl + S