Process Map


To document the order of activities across organizational lines in the regular, chronological sequence of steps and the existing performance measurements.


  1. Determine the process to be mapped. It can be physical, involve paperwork, undertaken by computer, or a logical sequence of events.

  2. Decide where the process begins, e.g. the first stakeholder contact. Meet with and/or talk to the person who is the first contact point ask him/her to describe what s/he does at that point in the process. (Hint: Put each activity on separate Post-It notes.) Do not map exceptions other than those that occur quite frequently.

  3. Also record the following information on the Post-It for each activity to be used later:

  4. Meet with and/or talk to each person in sequential order who is involved in that process.

  5. Beginning in the upper left-hand corner draw a box and record each step in the process. Connect the boxes with arrows to show the direction of flow.

  6. After completing the map, conduct a value added (VA) vs. non-value added (NVA) analysis through a series of questions:

    Could this activity be eliminated if some prior activity were done differently or correctly?If yes, then NVA.
    Does technology exist to eliminate this activity?If yes, then NVA.
    Could this activity be eliminated without impacting the form, fit, or function of the stakeholder's "product?"If yes, then NVA.
    Is this activity required by an end stakeholder, and will that stakeholder pay for this activity?If yes, then VA!

    Examples of non-value added activities:

    proofreadingcorrecting errors
    auditingmoving from one person/office to another
    reporting investigating errors

  7. Use shading of each box to represent the amount to which the step adds value:

  8. Look for "low hanging fruit" (quick fixes/quick success items) that can be improved immediately.

Tips for Process Maps

  1. Do not map subprocesses, stick to the critical processes.

  2. Look for steps that are duplicated, are unnecessary, or do not add value for the end stakeholder.

  3. Identify possible ideas for improvement or redesign.

  4. Look for ways that technology can be used to support or improve the process.

Sample Process Map:

(click on the image to take you home)