4 reasons you should use Process Hierarchy when mapping processes

Do you understand the importance of process hierarchy and creating sub processes? 

Mapping processes is a vital way of keeping your organisation healthy and ahead of the game. Any successful company should be doing it. But the method you use will make all the difference, changing this from a one off painful exercise to a way of working that brings instant and long term benefits for everyone. 

You may have seen large 2 dimensional processes with tens, or even hundreds of steps included. They may have limited sub-processes, but most of the information is displayed in a single view. If printed out they span several pages carefully stuck together on the wall. Or if viewed on a computer screen they require both vertical and horizontal scrolling, constantly zooming in and out, to work out where in the process you are.

Some notations, such as UPN and IDEF0, have process hierarchy built in. It’s a natural part of the approach where processes are summarised at a high level and then individual steps are broken down into more and more detail. While this creates more diagrams it has a number of advantages making your process documentation more accessible to users, more effective for improvement, more efficient for stakeholders and much more connected across the organisation.

With modern software tools there’s really no need to keep creating large, complicated and difficult to use processes. 

So here are 4 reasons why you should be using process hierarchy:

1. Process Hierarchy makes processes easier to read

Being able to summarise processes without losing the detail means that users can digest what’s on the page much faster. In many cases, individuals only need to understand a specific part of a process so being able to see the relevant part straight away makes life much easier.

High Level Process Map

What’s more, a summarised process is easier to display, in a readable format, on a single page or screen. Today, when we spend more time reading and consuming information on a computer screen, we are also limited to the size of that screen. So if you can fit a process on a standard computer screen, and make it readable, without zooming in and out of the text, it’s going to be easier to read.

With the right technology, users simply need to click through to see the next level of detail to get what they need and still understand the full context. Making it easier for them to read means you are going to have better engagement and collaboration from the people who really need to be accessing this information. 

2. Process Hierarchy connects the right people to the right information faster

In addition to making processes easier to read, through breaking them down into digestible chunks, the process hierarchy means that colleagues only need to access the part of the process that’s relevant to them.

Clear Hierarchy in Process Software Platform

For example, executive management doesn’t need to know the details of how an invoice number is generated or who approves it. But they do need to know the key processes that deliver value to customers, the order they happen in and who owns them.

Similarly, a Finance Manager doesn’t need to know the individual line items on an invoice, but they do need to know the approval flow and the business rules that dictate who approves what.

The Finance Administrator needs to be very clear on how and when to create an invoice number and how to order the line items.

Each of these colleagues can enter the process hierarchy at the relevant level saving them time looking through large complicated flowcharts where only a small portion is relevant to them. This means your process map becomes a tool that can be presented to executive management for a high level overview and then drilled down into the detail when needed by any level of the organisation. 

3. Process Hierarchy shows how key processes fit together

One of the most common problem areas, identified in process improvement projects, are handovers. Where information, or products, get handed over from one person, or team, to the next.

While we can try to reduce the number of handovers, across a whole organisation it’s impossible to eliminate them completely. Instead we need to know where the critical handovers happen and who owns each side of them. That way we can monitor and manage these interfaces.

Using process hierarchy to summarise all the processes into a single ‘Business on a Page’ view elevates this challenge to the executive level. All the organisation’s key processes can be displayed in one place, along with the key handovers.

This ‘architecture’ view of the organisation helps inform strategic conversations and aid decision making, especially when it comes to change and transformation.

What’s more, if the hierarchy is connected all the way down to the task level then senior management will have better insights into the impact of potential changes.

4. Process Hierarchy helps develop critical thinking

Mapping processes using hierarchy makes your efforts more effective because it forces stakeholders to think more critically about their processes. Simply describing a process step by step helps people to think about and challenge how it’s done.

But when stakeholders are also asked to summarise their process and then group low level activities together they go through a much deeper thought process. 

It helps to reconcile different types of thinkers. Some people naturally think at a very high level while others think in detail. If your process document is only focused on detail then it’s harder for the high level thinkers to engage and follow and vice versa.

So collaboration becomes easier as you are able to use the hierarchy to address both needs and bring them together. Participants have more conversations about handovers as those handovers need to make sense at both the higher and lower levels. This forces teams to address issues that often go unnoticed and make decisions there and then.

Process hierarchy in UPN – choosing the right approach

Most standard process notations are designed to be flat 2 dimensional diagrams with all relevant information displayed in a single view. Notations such as BPMN allow for some sub-processes but these are generally limited in scope to include only activities carried out by the role, or system, associated with the parent box.

UPN, on the other hand, is designed with hierarchy as a key part. The intention is that processes can be summarised at a high level, then each step is deconstructed into more and more detail until the necessary information is captured.

Traditional tools for creating flowchart diagrams typically require the author to create multiple diagrams and manually link these together, which can be time consuming and prone to error and resource intensive maintenance over time. So when looking at building processes with hierarchy it’s important to find a tool that has this ability built in so that the software can manage the relationships between the parent and child diagrams in the hierarchy.


If you’re trying to influence change across the organisation and make a real impact with process improvement and process management then using process hierarchy is essential. It helps you create a holistic picture of all the processes in your organisation and how they connect.

But it’s just as important to select the right tool to help you. Not all process platforms support this type of mapping, or at least not easily. Notations such as UPN are hierarchical by nature so it’s best to choose a software that also supports hierarchy by default.

Doing so will help make your effort more effective, more efficient and more connected to the wider organisation.

If you’d like to explore this further please get in touch with a member of our team. 

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Process Management for Service Improvement

More prevalent in governmental or healthcare roles, service improvement as part of process improvement is a phrase we are coming across a lot more.

We work on it with clients, and we believe we can help them with it. Having a wealth of experience in this sector and an abundance of tips to share, in this article, we’ll go over all things service improvement, and how process management, our specialty, fits into it.


What Is Service Improvement

At its core, service improvement is empowering staff to feel confident about taking on a wider range of tasks. 

Service improvement covers:

  • Involving various teams with decision-making and training allowing staff to cover a wider range of tasks
  • Regular meetings between staff leaders and management teams
  • Talent mapping and training needs analysis (TNA) that are relevant to each department’s development plan
  • Development opportunities provided for all staff that meets their needs and requirements
  • The development of more specialised staff through TNA and an education programme to support all staff
  • Sharing knowledge with others
  • Engaging on the ground with partners
  • Motivating staff
  • Encouraging continuous quality improvement

Service improvement is often connected to service transformation, with improvement focusing on bettering what is already there and transformation focusing on making changes.

There are three phases to service improvement:

  • Discover and understand – you want to make sure you understand how things are currently working. Not just internally, but also taking into account any external factors that affect your service and its quality. To do this, you want to make sure that you can:
    • Identify your service’s core purpose
    • Know the demand for your service
    • Know your capacity to deliver
    • Understand customer flow in your service
  • Generate and develop ideas – once you understand how your service is currently working, you can begin to think of ideas to improve and transform it. Involve everyone that contributes to the service: they will not only know what is happening on the ground, but they will probably bring you a variety of ideas to improve it based on their experiences. With this, focused quantity and creativity are encouraged, as you can build off of ideas. 
  • Implementation – having done the tests and found an idea that works, you can now implement those ideas on the ground. This in itself requires a process to make sure it is done correctly and there is no one missing out. You need to:
    • Have a measurement plan in place to evaluate the implementation’s success
    • Know what data you plan to collect to measure this success
    • Have a clear communication system in the process and with your management
    • Know who is responsible for what at all times

In all three phases of service improvement, there are three factors you always need to consider. They are:

  • Stakeholders – anyone from management to patients or citizens in the case of healthcare or government are stakeholders as they are the ones that need to understand and essentially have the change work for their improvement.
  • Measurements – as we saw above, it is necessary to know what the measurements currently are and what they are after implementation to truly know success has been achieved
  • Sustainability – finally, focus on the ability to maintain those improvements. It’s one thing to have a super involved individual, but you can’t solely rely on that happening in every location, or that the individual will stay. You want to develop processes that are self-sustaining and will last.

If done correctly, service improvement done well will lead to quality improvement, which the NHS defines as a “systematic approach to improving service quality, efficiency and morale – not just a mechanism to solve problems in failing parts of the organisation. It is a way of expanding improvement beyond organisational or functional boundaries, so that impact is possible across the wider health and social care system”.

Service Improvement vs Process Management vs Service Design

If you are at all familiar with process management, especially as it pertains to continuous improvement, this will all sound similar.

Service improvement focuses on helping a specific service be the best it can be at any point in time. It involves a lot of moving parts and tight control and awareness of how those parts make a better whole for the entire team.

Process management is the steps you take to get to that improvement. And while we typically focus on business process management, it can be applied to services as well. After all, the end goal in both cases is always continuous improvement

This means both service improvement and process management require those in charge to constantly be on the lookout for things that can be improved. Anything from a task that is taking too long to doubling up on information is something to keep note of as unnecessary and negative to the entire process.

Service design, on the other hand, is the design of new services. Specifically, it is “the activity of planning and organising a business’s resources to directly improve the employee’s experience and indirectly improve the customer’s experience”.

The goal is to create a service that responds to your organisation’s needs, both internal and external, with processes in place that serve this purpose. One of the outcomes of service design is eventual service improvement.

For a quick refresher, take a look at the chart below:

Service ImprovementProcess ManagementService Design
Arriving at an improvement of services offered by measuring data, working with stakeholders, empowering staff, and having good communication.Managing the entirety of processes on a constant basis to ensure they run smoothly and you can find improvement spots.Creation of a service in its entirety, keeping processes in mind to arrive at the end goal of continuous service improvement.

How Does Process Management Lead to Service Improvement 

There should not be any doubt at this point that process management will absolutely lead to service improvement.

The phases described above are the same as those involved with continuous process improvement, and the end goal in all cases is the same.

They use Six Sigma and the 7 Lean Wastes. The NHS’ own Handbook on Service Improvement dedicates an entire section to process mapping – something we consider ourselves experts in here at Skore. While the industry may be different from a regular organisation, healthcare and government institutions both also require process management to be successful in achieving their service goals. 

Good process management is the key to it.

Without a clear plan in place for process management, services fall apart and issues mount. 

At Skore, we’ve recently begun working with clients in these areas, and we have discovered how much we can help them.

Our platform provides mapping services easy for everyone involved to follow, incorporates responsibilities from the get-go so there is no confusion, gives you the data points you need, points out improvement points based on that data, and provides you with the possibility to run examples before implementing anything and seeing how they may affect the overall service experience.

The best part?

It provides you with a case study for you to show stakeholders which drastically lowerswait times for decision-making as it is a data-first approach.


Service improvement is, at the end of the day, a natural outcome of process management.

So many organisations focus on service above all, and the quality of that service, as they serve their patients or customers.

But the skills required are essentially the same. Which means the tools can be used in both cases.

If you’d like to learn more about how Skore can provide you with everything you need to elevate your services, get in touch or join our resource community for more exclusive content like this. 

Creating a Roadmap to Success with Skore.

Skore’s partnership with this leading RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) vastly improved communication between the Client and Project Team. This enabled them to onboard new clients quicker and ensure a high quality and efficient service. 

Cielo are an US based RPO whose mission is to ensure their clients attract the best candidates possible and provide incredible service. They were frustrated by the rigidity and overly complicated process drawing tools they were using. The introduction of Skore led to an enhanced and improved user experience. It was easy for both client and project team to understand and engage with. 

As part of their onboarding process, Cielo reviews a client’s current recruitment process, identifies improvement opportunities, aligns with best practice models. They create a world class future state service to delight and satisfy clients. They use Skore, process improvement software, as an essential part of every client project. 

Driving Change Differently 

The easy to use and simple interface means that everyone in the organisation can follow the process. Erin Arkin leads the project management office for Cielo. She is responsible for managing work streams, engaging with clients and ensuring deadlines are met. Skore was an instant hit with Erin.

‘Look at this great tool, it made us think, how can we map processes differently? And how can we drive change by looking at change in a different way.’ 

High standards and thorough discovery work means lengthy questionnaires are often needed with new clients. Best practice models must fit around a client’s bespoke organisational structure, compliance requirements and business culture. Skore was the tool that gave them the flexibility to shift and move things around without having to recreate a process flow every time. This greatly improved the user experience for all involved. 

Delivering Information in High Level conversations

Skore showed Erin a more dynamic approach to presenting processes. 

‘Previously we were getting into rooms of leaders, heads of Talent Acquisitions and Senior Leadership teams and then having to pull out a process map with swimlanes and trying to walk them through what the future was like and what it meant for them. It just wasn’t communicated at all in the right way. Being able to show Skore and say here is an overview of your process flow, we can do detailed dives, we can call out notes, document SLAs, responsibilities etc in a way that is really engaging.’

Skore enables Erin to go to leaders to review processes with the ability to talk about a high level view of what it would look and feel like. She has no need pull out a 20 page process map that they have no interest in. The easy to understand process diagrams encourages engagement and collaboration at every level of the organisation.

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The Backbone of Every Project.

Cielo’s comprehensive discovery process with the client means Skore is engaged from the very start of every project. The software allows them to map the process, at the speed of conversation, in front of the client. From there it is simple to demonstrate Cielos’ proposed vision of the new process. For Cielo the added advantage is that clients can effortlessly understand and easily sign off on the project.

Internally the team can then use Skore to develop detailed procedures on how they will follow the process workflow and the key steps needed to implement. Plus the detailed and easy to read process maps are then used to train recruitment teams and advise on how to interact with hiring managers and candidates.

Amber Boland is the Experience Designer for Cielo. Her role is to work with clients and understand how recruitment functions work in their organisation. She ensures that future processes are aligned with the Cielo best practice model. Skore is an essential tool for success. 

‘It really is the backbone of the design, of everything we do in the project. It provides a roadmap of a project that the client signs off. It can show a level of minute detail and simultaneously be high level enough to give the client the required overview’.

Flexible and Adaptable

Skore’s design means that Amber is able to build out Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for her team. Using the software platform she is able to identify the workflow early on, train her team and brief Shared Services. Skore holds all the relevant information and is available to her at a glance while keeping all the internal workstreams aligned. 

For Amber, Skore is a living breathing document that describes all aspects of a client project. Allowing you to add and tweak information, it starts as a template and grows into the single source of truth for everyone involved. 

‘Little details come out the more you get involved with a client and the more stones you unturn. I can hop back into my map and move some boxes around, update who is responsible, add a note box about an exception on a process, add in some questions to ask the client… like throwing up sticky notes on the map.’

Skore’s flexible, adaptable approach means that for Amber and her team, their process maps constantly evolve. After the team is trained and the project goes live the team continues to update, improve processes and publish new versions. This functionality also supports the team as the relationship with the client grows. If Cielo wins further business with the client they already have an up to date and interactive library of information ready to go. 

Optimising internal processes and creating efficiencies

Cielo first started using Skore to assist with external projects but having seen the benefits Skore is now also used internally. Using templates in Skore, Cielo can easily ensure their own teams understand and utilise best practice models. By engaging this way they are able to review the way separate teams work and create consistency in technologies and tools used. Erin confirms:

‘Skore helps us to look at how we optimise the way our teams work in business as usual and move them where necessary into a more optimised process and engagement model. We can find the gaps and look at efficiencies.’

Constantly providing clarity and simplicity

For the Cielo team using Skore gives them the ability to create a more functional process using an easier tool for teams to navigate.  

‘Skore is so user friendly, it’s easy to get in and move things around. For the basics – anyone with a quick tutorial can get the gist so it really saves time with new people joining the team to access and add information. The simple, comprehensive design consolidates everything into one picture, a one stop shop to see the Who, What and Why.’

Internally Skore has won over leadership and stakeholders, it allows teams to be flexible, proactive and adaptable with new clients. Using a process mapping software that dares to be different and allows everyone in the organisation to collaborate and engage gives Cielo yet another advantage over the competition.

Skore is the Process Improvement Software designed to be used and understood by everyone in the organisation.

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