How To Run a Process Mapping Workshop

Learning how to run a process mapping workshop is a great way to quickly capture, understand and improve processes. It brings people together, aligns them and provides a fantastic opportunity to generate new ideas. 

Workshops help introduce people to planned change, make them feel part of it and brings them along on the journey. This means that you are more likely to gain future support and engagement in your change or continuous improvement initiatives.

But if you’ve never run, or facilitated, a process mapping workshop before it may feel daunting. Want to learn more? In this guide we explain how to run a successful process mapping workshop. 

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    Before you start

    Choose your approach

    Process Mapping workshops are brilliant for generating conversations and collaboration. But they shouldn’t be unstructured. You need to guide the conversation to ensure you get the desired outcome. 

    For this you need a process framework or notation that is easy to use and guides the conversation. There are lots of approaches available that you can read about in our process mapping guide. At Skore we use UPN – Universal Process Notation. This approach uses a box that describes the key steps and who does them, and a box that tells you when the activity starts and finishes. It’s straightforward, clear and very effective.

    We really like this because it is very simple to use and understand. It means that everyone in the workshop will be able to engage straightaway and you don’t need to be an expert in Process Mapping to get involved!

    In any case we recommend keeping it simple while asking the important questions. What, why, how, who and when.

    Practice with this before you start. By keeping it simple this type of process mapping will come naturally to you and your participants. 

    Agree the title, scope and participants

    Don’t try to do too much at once so that your process mapping workshops aren’t too long. Think carefully about which process you’re going to map, where does it start and end. This is your scope and will help you determine who needs to be involved. If necessary you can break a large process down into smaller pieces. 

    Set the agenda and objectives

    We have written about process mapping workshop agendas before. But at the very least you need to set the duration, objectives of the workshop and set time aside for introductions and wrap up. 

    Share with your participants early and remind them before the workshop. 

    Make sure everything is set up

    There’s nothing worse than arriving for a process mapping workshop and waiting for the facilitator to set up the screen, flipcharts, handouts etc. Arrive early, or even the day before, and make sure everything is working and ready to go.

    During the workshop 

    Snacks and refreshments

    Depending on how long your process mapping workshops are you should consider providing refreshments. Even providing water, tea and coffee can help participants to relax and show that you are considerate for their situation. They will be busy, and may not have time to take regular refreshment breaks so you are offering them a safe environment.

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      Start your process mapping workshop with introductions, including personal introductions for any participants that are not familiar with each other. Restate the objectives to make sure everyone is aligned and in the right room!

      Review the agenda and spend some time to explain the basics of the approach and how it’s going to work. We also recommend setting some ground rules such as; set phones to silent, one person talks at a time, what gets said in the room stays in the room and park unresolved discussions after 5 minutes. These are basic suggestions so you can add your own. The objective here is to make everyone feel comfortable.

      Follow the methodology

      Now it’s time to start the work your process mapping workshop was intended for. Capture the process following your chosen methodology. You can take a look at our 5 step approach here.

      Capture opportunities, issues and actions as you go

      As soon as a group starts talking about their processes they will immediately identify issues in how they work and make suggestions for improving. Sometimes there are unanswered questions or quick wins the team can action immediately. Try to capture these things as you go.

      Use a flip chart or whiteboard to capture issues, opportunities and actions and then write them up afterward. Or if you are using software to map your processes, capture these items directly against the relevant steps in the process so that you can report on and share them later.

      This template lays out all the steps to consider

      Wrap up and assign actions

      Before you let anyone leave the room make sure you review all the actions and assign them. Agree to follow up so everyone can keep track of the actions and when they are completed, or the outcome of each one.

      It is definitely worth reviewing the objectives of the workshop. Did you meet them, or will you need further sessions and research to close it off?

      This workshop may be part of a wider piece of work so make sure you participants have access to the plan and understand how this fits.


      Share the content

      At the end of a workshops participants will feel a sense of achievement. They will have had a chance to get things off their chests and discovered things about their colleagues they didn’t previously know.

      But remember that you were there to capture and understand a process. So make sure you share the content with them along with any other information that was generated.

      Many people need time to digest the discussion so often come up with more ideas and feedback after the session. Make sure there is a way for them to feed that back into the work.

      This could be by email, or if using a software such as Skore you can capture the feedback against the processes.

      Keep participants up to date with progress

      Where this workshop was part of a wider project it’s important to keep participants up to date on the progress of the project and how this work contributed. There will undoubtedly be time in the future when you will need to invite them to more workshops. So it’s essential that they feel their time was well spent and led to improvements.

      Put what you’ve learned into action

      Finally, you ran this workshop for a reason. Feed what you’ve learned back to the project team to ensure that opportunities are acted upon and the benefits are realised.

      How to run a process mapping workshop

      In this article you have learned to how to run a process mapping workshop successfully. The key steps should remain the same whenever you do this but the tools you use can make all the difference.

      Skore was designed specifically to be used in live process mapping workshops to map processes at the speed of conversation. This means you no longer need to write up notes after the workshop. You can map and share processes there and then. This means you can get sign off and agreement from your stakeholders in the workshop and not lose time chasing after them once the workshop has finished.

      What’s more, you can also capture all your risks, issues, ideas and other information against the process. You’ll have one place to store, manage and share the information. Skore will even provide instant insights through its built in analytics. Plus you get a living breathing document, easily update-able and engaging that everyone in your organisation can read and understand.

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        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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