Facilitation Tips for Process Mapping in Team Meetings

In my article titled Quickly Create a Process Map in a Team Meeting, I provided steps for teams to quickly and easily create process maps using index cards or post-it-notes.  Process maps are useful for problem solving teams to find bottlenecks they would like to eliminate or reduce as well as other areas for improvement.  Below are some additional tips for anyone who may be helping the teams with process mapping by facilitating the development meetings so all members can participate more freely.  Read the article above and then consider some of the ideas below to facilitate the process. 

For step 1, “Start by writing down every step team members can think of in the process on an index card …” 
Consider, if this is being done in a team setting, then you may want to have each member shout out a step as they write it down.  The shout-out helps to eliminate people writing down duplicate steps and may cause them to think of other steps that go before or after what they hear.

For step 4, “Determine if there are any decisions to be made during the process.” 
Consider, if the question has multiple answers other than Yes/No.  Rewrite the question to where it can be written as a series of questions.  For Example instead of asking “Should the product be painted red, yellow, or blue?” reword the question to something like “Paint the product red?”  If the answer is Yes, proceed to the RED path.  If the answer is No, then the next step is another decision point of “Paint the product yellow?”  If the answer is Yes, proceed to the YELLOW path.  If the answer is No, then proceed to the BLUE path.

If you want to formalize the process map after it is finished, you can convert it to an electronic format using flow charting software for long complicated processes.  If the process is simple, it can be created in presentation software like PowerPoint.  To get started on the process, check out the article Flowchart Symbols and Their Meanings to make sure you build the map correctly.