Process Mapping Basics – Part II

The most commonly followed techniques of process mapping are:
– Flowcharting
– SIPOC
– IDEF

Flowcharting: Flowcharting technique of process mapping is the most basic method of process mapping. Flowchart is a graphical representation of sequence of activities carried out as part of the process from start to end along with their inter-relationships and inter-dependence.
More on flowcharting:
Flowcharting Help Page By Dexter A Hansen
Flowcharting By HCI

SIPOC: SIPOC technique of process mapping is followed by Six Sigma and BPR professionals. SIPOC is an acronym, where S stands for Supplier, I for inputs, P for process, O for output, and C for customer. In addition to control flow, SIPOC also captures information flow along with suppliers and customers of the process being mapped.
More on SIPOC:
SIPOC Diagram by Kerri Simon

IDEF: Integrated DEFinition (IDEF) methodology was developed by the US Air Force in the 1970’s. The methodology proposes 16 standards, each of which can be used for modeling specific type of information through graphical representation. The most useful for the purpose of process mapping are IDEF0 and IDEF3. IDEF0 method is used for modeling functions (part of a system / process) along with their inputs, outputs, controls & mechanisms. IDEF3 on the other hand is a method to model business processes
More on IDEF:
IDEF Modeling techniques by Ozgon Demirag, Andy Johnson, Dima Nazzal, Yen-Tai Wan
The IDEF Process Modeling Methodology by Robert P. Hanrahan
Function Modeling using IDEF0 by Dr. J Cecil

Business Process Modeling Notation: Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) is the latest kid on the block. These are being developed by Business Process Management Initiaitive (BPMI.org). The purpose of developing BPMN specs is to enable user organizations to define and document business processes in the form of business process diagrams constructed using standard notations.
More on BPMN:
Introduction to BPMN by Stephen A. White
BPMN Fundamentals by Stephen A White

Takeaway for Process Analysts: Presence of so many standards and methods is bound to confuse rookie process analysts. Those who are learning process analysis skills will find flowcharting technique very easy and useful method to model and document business processes. Once comfortable with flowcharts, process analysts can graduate to building swimlanes into their process models / diagrams. Finally, process diagrams can be supported by documenting process details such as inputs, suppliers, activity details, customers, outputs, business rules, performers, and triggers of the process.

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