How to Map Out Your Process

In one of my previous blog posts, I talked about why you should review your processes.  So it makes sense to say how to do it, right?

What do you need?
  • Time

This is something that needs dedicated focus, you can’t just scribble this out on a notepad in an hour. Depending on the process, it can take your entire day.

  • Input

You need to involve anybody who has uses this process, so that you can get their input. If possible, try to get feedback from clients, suppliers, etc. It can really help you see it from all sides.

  • Patience

If you are mapping out a process, whether it be how you bring on new clients, or how you create your content, it is more than likely going to take a few tries. And that’s ok. Evolving and changing all the time just shows that you are looking to improve.

  • Something fun planned

If you are doing big processes, or even all of your business processes, for goodness sake have a prize for yourself at the end. These are hard work, and can take a lot of mental energy So knowing you have that “pat on your back” waiting for you afterwards, is important. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, maybe just a nice take away, or a bottle of wine should you wish. But just know that you have something to look forward to.

How do you do it?

A great way to do this is to use coloured post it notes on a whiteboard, or a wall or even your kitchen table. Think of each post it note as a bullet point in the process, and the colour can represent a department or person assigned to the task. Hurray, an excuse to get new stationery!

Once you have chosen a process to map out, consider the start point and the end point. Once you have done that note down each stage between the two points.

Writing the process

Now if any of you are fans of The Great British Bake Off (FYI I cannot bake, but fell in love with that show and wish Nadiya was my friend), they have a section on the show called the Technical challenge. This is usually a difficult recipe with some of the key information missing.

So for a tiramisu for example, instead of saying,

* Preheat oven to 180 degrees
* Grease a 14×10 swiss roll tin and line with baking parchment
* Place 4 eggs and 100g caster sugar in a large bowl and whisk together for 5 minutes
* Pour mixture into the cake tin and bake for 20 minutes
* Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely

it would say,

* make the sponge

You’re probably thinking, that’s all well and good but I don’t want to make a tiramisu, so what’s your point? Well my point is that people tend to plan out their process without the necessary detail. This risks things being left to the reader’s interpretation, which can differ from person to person. So if you keep this in mind, it will really help you be as specific as possible with each task.

All done, now what?

This bit is up to you, how do you want to display your process? You can use process flows, an instruction manual, a video, whatever you think will communicate the process clearly not just to you, but to anybody who uses it now and in future.

Also, you need to decide how and when you are going to review it. Is an annual review adequate or would it need to be more frequent?

Once you have that all sorted, give yourself a high five, you did it!!

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