Make sense of your workflow and figure out simpler and better ways to do the work.
Use Graham Process Mapping Software to see all the forms, documents and systems that drive your processes.
The Professional Edition of Graham Process Mapping Software (our flagship product since
1990) provides multiple features to support a continuous improvement program: output to playscript
procedures, linking between charts and to other documents, integrity analysis report,
quick list of all the maps in your process map library...
The affordable Starter Edition of Graham Process Mapping Software was introduced with small
business and independent consultants in mind. It is 100% compatible with the Professional Edition,
use the Starter Edition to put good process maps in front of process improvement team members and
easily update maps as needed...
A Graham Process Map never fails to impress.
"No other mapping software is able to so quickly and simply show the details of a work process.
Details that make the waste and opportunities for improvement glaringly obvious. A Graham Process Map never fails to impress.
Its ability to breakdown any process, no matter how complex, generates tremendous credibility for the mapper,
and for the improvement process."
Harold Peters, P.Eng., Director of Performance Improvement, PeaceHealth
'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
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 Gilbreth's 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.)
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 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. Also known as box and arrow flowcharting, this
method sacrificed visibility over individual documents for a simpler single-line flow. The single-line flow led
to the resurgance of the
, now referred to as a swimlane chart.
GE began Process Mapping in the late 1980s and the term and methods worked their way into commmon 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 th 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.
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.
Process Chart -- "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.
Process Chart -- "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.
Process Chart -- "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.
Flowchart -- "A flowchart is a picture of a process."
"Flowcharting" (QCI International, 1982), 3.
Flow Chart -- "A flow chart is a pictorial representation of all the steps in a process."
"Statistical Process Control" (E-Systems, Greenville Division, 1986), 2.4.
Flowchart -- "A graphical representation of all major steps in a process."
"Process Improvement Guide" (Air Force Quality Institute, 1993), 28.
Workflow Map -- "A well-defined workflow map quantifies and structures the processes you must perform
to achieve specific goals."
Gary Poyssick, Steve Hannaford "Workflow Reengineering" (Adobe Press, 1996), 74.
Process Map -- "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.
Process Map -- "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.
Process Chart -- 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!