Phil Howman

3 Ways to Learn Process Mapping

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Ever looked at a process map and started to get a headache?

Lines are going everywhere, steps at different levels of detail, with names that aren’t easy to understand.

Sometimes the process does look like that, but often the problem is how it’s drawn.

And if this has put you off learning how to map processes, then it’s a shame because it’s a great skill to have if you work in finance.

Some examples:

  • Mary wants to reduce the time taken to close the month by a day. Drawing a process map with her team would let her she which activities she should start looking at
  • John is working with IT to put in a new budgeting system and wants to change the process at the same time
  • Sandy has now been moved across to the shared service team and wants to understand how AP works

So, process maps are handy, but drawing them can be challenging. Common problems:

  • Overloading the map with too much information
  • Activities at different levels of detail
  • Confusing layout (flows which loop around the page)

What then are the options for learning how to draw these & avoid the traps?

I’ve come up with three ideas to get you started.

#1 Ask for help

Maybe your company already has access to (or has developed) some training material on process mapping. Check with your training team, IT department or program office.

A benefit of doing this is that the training may cover standards to follow and tools you can use.

Or maybe you can get help from an in-house Process Improvement expert or Business Analyst.

#2 Go online

Online courses are now a great way of picking up skills. I looked for one on process mapping course aimed at beginners, which wouldn’t take much time.

I found Perry Wilson’s “Process Mapping: Learn The Basics Of Mapping A Process” on Udemy.
It’s short, just over half an hour. The first two sections provide the foundation, and the last two focus on drawing maps and working through examples.

I think this course would be good for someone in finance just getting started with process mapping. And if this one isn’t for you, there are others.

#3 Start reading

In case you’re more of a reader, I also looked for a book as another option.

I found Megan O’Brien’s “Business Process Mapping: A Simple Guide to Process Improvement”.
I liked this book. It was short, 19 pages, but covered the basics and explained things well.

There are other books on process mapping, plus it’s often covered in process improvement books.

So, three different options and hopefully, one of them will work for you.

Good luck with your next process mapping exercise, and I hope the result gives understanding without the headache!

Phil Howman

Phil Howman

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