Common process mapping mistakes to avoid

It’s hard to deny how useful process mapping is in driving organizational alignment. However, in practice, there are still many of us who make several mistakes in process mapping, which we’ll share with you today.
Wednesday, July 27, 2022

1. Not involving the right people in the process

Business leaders often mistakenly consider only a few perspectives on the processes they’re trying to map. While they pick the brains of internal experts to get a clearer picture of the processes they’re trying to conceive, they may not be fully accounting for other people that are critical to creating moments that matter.

Does your process mapping session involve actual end users as part of the discussion? If not, you’re going in blind to insights that are otherwise helpful in creating a successful process map. You should also involve your technologists, reviewers, and other key stakeholders. The solution to the problem really should be simple. By ensuring all departments involved in the process are represented, you can uncover the sets and subsets of activities that make up the total picture.

2. Lack of determination on the depth of inquiry

In process mapping, you will always need to inquire, elicit and explore. After all, the goal is to make sense of what’s going on in the process and create a clear picture for everyone to see. The question is: how deep will you go?

In any process mapping effort, everyone must come to an agreement on the altitude of inquiry that you and the rest of your team should go. Often, this will be decided by your budget parameters. The deeper you go in your inquiry, the costlier it will be. Another factor is timing. You don’t want to spend too much time if you only have a limited amount to work with. Balance is the key to initiating an inquiry that really works. Just remember that if you go in too deep, you may end up wasting a lot of resources. If you go in too high, you might miss problematic areas that you need to address.

3. Shortcomings in the actual design of the mapping sessions

The actual meetings you will be facilitating are called mapping sessions In these sessions, everyone is expected to contribute key knowledge that affects the mapping inquiry in some way. It’s the knowledge of the participants that will make the activities meaningful and worthwhile.

That said, it’s imperative to provide an agenda, pre-reads, homework, and other preparatory materials prior to the session This ensures all participants are prepared to contribute and chart a clear path forward.

Parker Lee

Parker Lee is the managing partner of Territory, a design consultancy, who has developed and led teams in transformation, design thinking, and business development for decades. Co-author of The Art of Opportunity, he has created and facilitated dozens of design and visual thinking engagements.

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