Process mapping is a brilliant way to visualize how things work. With a visualization it’s much easier to share and understand complex ideas. Sometimes it can be very hard to identify problems and understand their true nature. The act of creating a process visualization is a very powerful way to understand those problems and design better solutions. However, doing this for the first time can be very difficult to get right. Here are some of the common problems of process mapping and how Skore helps to overcome them.
What are the common problems of process mapping?
If you are using process mapping to solve business problems you will need to consider the following areas:
Methodologies and approaches
One of the things that makes process mapping so powerful, as a visualization technique, is the structure and semantics it provides. There are many different approaches and notations such as the Business Process Management Notation (BPMN), Event-driven Process Chain (EPC) or the Unified Modelling Language (UML). These provide extensive palettes of shapes and icons that represent different types of activities and events. Processes can be described in great visual detail and analyzed in depth or even handed over to an interpreter to create custom software applications.
The problem with these approaches is in this very detail. The documentation is extensive and it takes time to learn and master this visual language. This makes it very difficult for a small team to quickly pick up and run with it effectively.
There are two categories of tools; the general purpose diagramming tools and specific process mapping/modelling tools. General purpose diagramming tools are low cost, often free, but do not prescribe a specific approach. They are great for fulfilling many diagramming needs but when it comes to process mapping you need to understand and apply a specific methodology. These tools will normally provide templates and palettes with all the shapes required but with no rules or integrity checks to ensure you’ve applied it correctly. So while these tools offer a low cost of entry you will still need the expertise of the methodology.
There are many software tools that are designed specifically for process mapping and these are normally built to support a specific approach such as BPMN. As a result these tools have comprehensive support for the approach and therefore require a very good understanding of it before they can be used. Alternative specific tools are aimed at large enterprises and are often priced accordingly making them out of reach for most companies.
Given the complexity of the approaches and supporting tools it’s clear that successful use comes with experience. And experience doesn’t come cheap. If you don’t already have these skills on your team the chances are the only way to get them are through expensive consultants. As an external consultant it can take time to get under the skin of a new customer. At the usual day rate the cost is going to rack up pretty quickly.
So while process mapping can be an extremely powerful way to solve problems, and improve your business, it’s not easy to get started. The approaches are comprehensive but complicated. Good skills and experience are required to make it work. And the current set of available tools are designed to support the experts not those starting out.
Skore has your back
Trying to help teams overcome these challenges is why we created Skore. We were those consultants, we learnt the methodologies and we learnt how to apply them effectively in a variety of different situations with teams of all sizes. We learnt that we could achieve most of what we needed using only a few core components of a methodology. It’s not so much about applying all the available tools but asking the right questions that makes the real difference.
So we embedded our experiences into Skore. You can only build simple flows based on the most important components. When you put a new box on the canvas in Skore it asks the most important questions to ensure you can accurately visualize how things work. Describing how something works, in a way that people will understand, is like telling a story. So in Skore you describe how something works in a very quick and easy way. Then if you need more detail you simply create a detailed view and explore that part of the story.
With Skore you don’t need years of experience, nor do you need to learn a complex methodology. You can create simple and engaging process maps in order to visualise how things work in minutes.