Chapter 10

Mapping Your Operational Processes

If you cry “Forward” you must be sure to make clear the direction in which to go. Don’t you see that if you fail to do that and simply call out the word to a monk and a revolutionary, they will go in precisely opposite directions?

—Anton Chekov

Short-story writer, playwright


Mapping operational processes creates a foundation for your improvement efforts. It creates a common language and understanding for team members and workers, and it helps identify the tasks needing improvement as well as the critical few metrics.

A process map is a visual representation of how a product is built or a service delivered. The map shows the work flow involved as a series of activities. Some process maps show additional information at each action, such as the time and resources required or the customer value added. Process maps may have multiple levels of detail. A “30,000-foot map” can show a process at such a high level that people unfamiliar with the process details can understand it. Detailed process maps show minute specifics to point out ways to improve the process.

With Excel you can combine the clarity that comes with a process map and the monitoring and control that come with metrics and dashboards. When you build your process map in Excel, you can include formulas that recalculate time and resources as they cascade through the map. Adding sliders and spinners enables you to test different scenarios easily by changing inputs and then seeing ...

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