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Graham Process Mapping Software Version 8

For truly transparent information flows...

Use Graham Process Maps to create simpler, streamlined office workflows: less waste, lower cost, more revenue, improved customer experience...start today. READ MORE...

The Graham Process Mapping Method was developed for office PROCESS ANALYSIS...

Graham Process Maps break down information flows to INDIVIDUAL documents (forms, records, applications, systems, spreadsheets, email...) whatever is used to capture, transmit or store data.

  1. They help YOU understand WHAT happens in the work flow.
  2. YOU see how every document/record contributes to the process, what makes sense and what doesn't.
  3. YOU see the impact of any changes you want to make before the are implemented.

Isn't it time for you to enhance your improvement projects with Graham Process Maps?

Graham Process Flowchart

Enhance Your Current Program With Detailed Process Maps

Any program (Six Sigma, Lean, TQM, Kaizen, Reengineering...) whose goal is to improve the work you do, will benefit with a solid understanding of the current information work flows: the documents that support the work, the relationship between those documents, who does the work, where the work is done and how long it takes to do the work. Only Graham Process Maps provide this information in a single picture.
'Wow, where did you get these (flowcharts)?! This is great!'
"I have just passed your contact information on to my replacement, as I am moving to a new position. When I took over this work, your approach and software were a great help in getting my head around an area I was completely unfamiliar with and setting the stage for continuous improvement. We have made meaningful ongoing improvements since the beginning. I would almost say that the attitude instilled in me by beginning with the Graham approach became the real "win", since it established the lenses I used from that point forward to view the processes I was overseeing - viewing from beginning to end, and thinking about the implications of changes for staff further down the line. When I passed my charts off to my successor, his first words were 'Wow, where did you get these?! This is great!'
Thanks for the help you have provided, and your encouraging tone in doing so."
Gordon M. Dykstra, Supervisor, Fare Product Distribution, Edmonton Transit System (more testimonials)

What is a process map?
...and what is the difference between a process map, a process chart and a flow chart?

Call it a process chart, a flowchart or a process map, it doesn't matter. While they each had a different focus at some point, today the terms are used interchangeably. The earliest description of a process chart was presented by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth in a presentation to members of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1921. They said, "The Process Chart is a device for visualizing a process as a means of improving it." This is a simple, straight-forward, plain-English definition. Since their introduction about a century ago, process charts have come to have other uses. They are used to quickly understand a process (at least at a high level), they are used for training, and they are used to satisfy audit, regulatory and certification requirements for process documentation and transparency (some better than others). Rather than trying to incorporate these other uses into a definition (and surely leave something out), a simpler description might be used...a tool for visualizing a process.

The tool the Gilbreths used was referred to as a Flow Process Chart or a Process Chart and the method was referred to as Process Charting or Flow Charting. In the 1940's variants of the Flow Process Chart were introduced to office work. The Multi-Column Flow Process Chart highlighted the different work areas that the process flowed through. The Horizontal Process Chart or Procedure Flow Chart took the Flow Process Chart idea and turned it on its side to show multiple flows and their relationships (This method was developed and introduced by Ben S. Graham, Sr. in 1944 and is the method we use today.) Graham Charts or detailed process charts, provide more detail than most, displaying the flows and relationships of all of the many documents that make up a business process.

In the 1960s, Flow Charting came into common usage in computer programming work. More specifically, Program Flow Charts and Data Flow Charts were employed. These computer-related flowcharts, also known as box and arrow flowcharts (where a box referred to an activity or process performed by a computer) used a different set of symbols than the "Process Charts" that were used to document work process flows. By the 1980s, the method and the name had expanded their usage beyond computer flows and into work flows where it sacrificed visibility over individual documents for a simpler single-line flow. The single-line flow led to the resurgence of the multi-column chart, now referred to as a swimlane chart.

GE began Process Mapping in the late 1980s and the term and methods worked their way into common usage by the mid-nineties. Originally, Process Maps referred to a hierarchical progression of flowcharts that started out as an overview with just a few steps that could be decomposed to show more and more detail. IDEF0 charts, introduced at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in the 1980s and the Six Sigma approach that starts with a SIPOC chart from which analysts "drill down" to flowcharts with increasingly more detail represent hierarchical approaches to mapping. Graham Process Maps add a level of clarity to process understanding that isn't available in most maps. They are an excellent addition to the Six Sigma and Lean practitioners' tool box.

Today, while certain flowchart terms bring to mind specific chart variations (i.e. SIPOC chart and Swimlane diagram), the more generic terms Process Chart, Flow Chart, and Process Map are interchangeable and cover a wide variation in the symbols used and the level of detail.

"The Process Chart is a device for visualizing a process as a means of improving it."
Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Lillian Moller Gilbreth "Process Charts" (ASME, 1921), 3.
"The process chart is a detailed record indicating the sequence of any process---a device for visualizing a process as a means of improving it."
Allen H. Mogensen "Motion and Time Study" (McGraw-Hill, 1932), 25.
"The process chart is a device for recording, in a compact manner, a process as a means of better understanding it and improving it."
Ralph M. Barnes "Work Methods Manual" (Wiley, 1944), 19.
"A flowchart is a picture of a process."
"Flowcharting" (QCI International, 1982), 3.
"A flow chart is a pictorial representation of all the steps in a process."
"Statistical Process Control" (E-Systems, Greenville Division, 1986), 2.4.
"A process map consists of graphic hierarchical diagrams, supporting text, and a glossary of common terms and process definitions that are all cross-referenced to one another...The major output of a process map is a workflow diagram."
V. Daniel Hunt "Process Mapping: How to Reengineer Your Business Processes" (Wiley, 1996), 15.
A process map is a visual representation and, as such, it must be as uncomplicated as possible."
J. Mike Jacka, Paulette J. Keller "Business Process Mapping" (Wiley, 2002), 132.
A process chart... is a series of symbols along a flow line. Each symbol or step must be completed in order to move forward along the line and complete the process. It tells the reader what documents, forms, files, and other items are used, where the work is done, in what order it is done, and who does the work.
Ben B. Graham "Detail Process Charting: Speaking the Language of Process" (Wiley, 2004), 5.
The process chart... is the lifeblood of work simplification.
"In order to achieve measurement, tools are needed and the most important of these is the process chart. …Once a process chart has been drawn up, common sense is all that is needed to improve efficiency and better the process being examined.…The process chart then, is the lifeblood of work simplification. It is an irreplaceable tool. It is a guide and stimulant. It takes time to properly utilize but there is absolutely no doubt that it works."
Allan H. Mogensen with Rosario “Zip” Rausa, "Mogy: An Autobiography" (Idea Associates, 1989), 44–46.
Get your Step-by-Step Manual for Identifying, Assessing and Measurably Improving Business Processes...
Includes 9 checklists, 7 cost worksheets, a Project Agreement form and and 2 forms to support implementation of the new methods!

The Process Improvement Project Guide
and The Process Improvement Project Workbook

More Process Improvement Books

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