Process Mapping and Detailing

The process of identifying and documenting the relationships of activities within a set of work flow activities is commonly known as process mapping. The technique used for graphically portraying tasks, decision points, and discrete activities within a task is known as wire framing. The symbols and connectors between objects in a wire frame graphic have been standardized by the Object Management Group, a non-profit group that has published two versions of a process graphics standard referred to as Business Process Management Notation (BPMN). If you want to know the specifics of BPMN go to

Process Detailing is the process of documenting how to perform the activity, who performs the activity, what does the role performer need to know to perform the activity correctly, and how much time the activity requires to be performed. The "how-to" of conducting a specific activity involves documenting observable and measurable actions of the task performer; these actions are commonly known as steps.

Step level information is the lowest level to which related activities within a common task can be broken down and still retain their pedigree and relationship to other steps in the task to which they belong. Each step is dependent on completion of the previous step unless the activity in a task consists of steps that can be performed out of sequence. Each step must have an assigned task performer, estimate of level of effort to complete each step, and a designation as to the criticality of the step; this is indicated by whether the output of the specific activity should be reviewed by quality assurance (QA) for process conformance or quality control (QC) for performance correctness, accuracy, and completeness. QA or QC performed by the task performer may be sufficient for most steps, but some involving critical path activities in technically complex tasks should be reviewed by external QA/QC professionals. In addition, knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSA's) should also be identified.

Develop "To-Be" Process Work flow Diagrams

The primary difference between the "To-Be" diagrams produced for the full capability process and the "To-Be" diagrams for the tracking and routing automated data entry forms, is the level of detail about task activities. Full process diagrams include task and step tracings for all process functions, whereas the tracking and routing diagrams display only task level tracings apropos to only those activities in which the automated form is involved directly. Activities in the full process not illustrated in the tracking and routing work flow diagrams support acquisition of data to be entered into the forms as well as for activities that occur before and after the form has been completed.

Figure 1 depicts four tasks in the function in Preparing Materials for Peer Review. The tasks are presented in a swim lane and may be difficult to read in this document format. However, when a task containing steps is magnified, there is no difficulty in reading the details and seeing the context in which they are presented emphasizes the task sequence.

Peer Review Process

Figure 1. A Segment of a Process with Data Objects, Groups, and Annotations in a

Swim Lane

Figure 2 shows the step details in the first task in Preparing Peer Review Materials. The icons in the task, "Identify Work Products," Step 1 indicate that the Change Manager (CM) emails the author and QA that the author is to move the artifact to the CM repository (Step 2) in five days and to email the CM when the artifact is moved, AND initiate Task 3.4 which is the process of identifying peer reviewers. Upon completion of Step 2, a package can be prepared for distribution to peer reviewers if the artifact contains code only (Task 3.5); if it is a document, it is forwarded to QA for standards checking and to the editor to ensure presentation and content consistency as required in the Document Life cycle Process (Step 3).

Peer Review Process Enlarged

Figure 2. Task 3.3 with Steps (Magnified)

Prepare Process Manual Documentation

Process manual documentation is a compilation of all known information about a set of process activities. The template is the product of integrating several information management techniques, including Information Mapping, Six Sigma, and CMMI. The manual includes the following categories of information:

o Introduction (purpose, scope, background, definitions)

o Process Description (inputs, work flow diagram, introduction to actual process, process function summary)

o Process Function 1 (activity summary, Function 1 work flows, Function 1, Task1 to Task N tasks and supporting activity presented step-by-step)

o Process Function 2 (activity summary, Function 2 work flows, Function 2, Task 1 to Task N tasks and supporting activity presented step-by-step)

o Process Function 3, 4, 5, etc. with specific work flows for each function and tasks/steps associated with each function

o Supporting appendices that provide supplementary task information about tasks referred to in the manual that must be performed as ancillary tasks but are not actually part of the target process.

The process information manual is more than a reference manual; it is also the basis for a training program and a "how-to" cook book of instructions for executing the target process. Most importantly, it is a baseline of the process that will serve as the starting point for reviewing issues and problems that need to be changed and to accommodate new, deleted, or changed business requirements. Because the steps in each task of each function in the process are at an observable and measurable level, metrics can be collected to identify where in the process, performance problems are actually occurring. Metrics trending will indicate whether the problems are continuous or whether they are sporadic; metrics can identify whether a re-design solution is appropriate at some time, if training is appropriate to modify task performer behavior, or whether a resource adjustment is needed to accommodate the level of activity in the process.