What sandwich making has to do with process mapping

Business processes are at the heart of what any organization does. They provide the mechanism for producing products, meeting customer needs, and creating the infrastructure that makes it all possible.

However, many companies don’t take the time to adequately capture their processes or include enough information to make them useful. When processes aren’t complete or properly supported, the outcomes can vary significantly. Take a look at this example:

While that illustration is light-hearted and a little exaggerated, there are some important process lessons we can learn there.

Don’t assume knowledge

In the sandwich example, the kids assumed their dad would know which end of the knife to put into the peanut butter jar. While you’d hope your teams know the basics of the tasks and equipment they’re responsible for, assumed knowledge can be a trap for new employees or people who only interact with the process occasionally.

Not everyone will know where to find key information on how to execute the process, or which systems should be used when completing the tasks. This information needs to be embedded in the process in a way that is easy to access.

Nintex Promapp® allows you to add active links to information, tools, or resources right within the process. When teams are unsure which policy covers a process step, or where to see the possible options for completing a step, the link can take them directly to the relevant information without having to figure out where to look.

System tags let users see more information about systems where they’re mentioned in the process text, making it easier to understand what the systems do or what obscure acronyms and product names relate to.

Explain the “how”

Some instructions need to be explicit. While spreading peanut butter should be fairly intuitive, completing a form or operating a commercial machine is less so. While you want the top level of your processes to be clear and simple frameworks of the activities required, sometimes the details matter.

This is the strength of the Nintex Promapp process map. Activities are shown on one level but – where needed – each of these expands into detailed tasks with full notes, and assigned responsibilities and steps. The process can also capture images, videos, and documentation that supports the task information, providing a complete understanding of what’s required at every step, regardless of the user’s level of experience with the procedure.

Capture the exceptions

When the father in the video unscrewed the cap on the squeeze bottle of jelly, a look of defeat crossed his kids’ faces. They hadn’t anticipated that interpretation of their instructions, and it derailed the whole process once again.

Exceptions will happen in even the most tightly controlled process, and businesses need to be able to handle those fringe cases without operations grinding to a halt. Nintex Promapp uses the notes feature to capture the ‘what-if?’ scenarios that can occur in any procedure.

Notes take the form of questions, with the answer provided. They’re used to provide further information for any possible variations in the expected flow. The core process will describe the common procedure – what could reasonably be expected to happen 80 percent of the time – and the notes can fill out what to do if those conditions change, ensuring the process runs smoothly even in those 20 percent of edge cases.

Skip the simple stuff

Everyone knows which end of a butter knife should go in the peanut butter jar. While the video took the need for instructions to the extreme, in business there are numerous elements that are straightforward tasks. While it might not hurt to spell out exactly how those tasks are accomplished, capturing them in a process offers other opportunities to improve.

Where tasks involve simple data handling, processing forms or reports, and repetitive manual tasks like emailing or compiling content, automation can streamline the process and free teams to focus on activities that add real value for the customer. Digital forms, automated workflows, and RPI bots can take on simple, mundane steps, increasing the efficiency of the overall process, eliminating handover delays, and reducing the potential for errors.

Nintex Promapp integrates with Nintex’s world-leading workflow tool through the Workflow Generator, a system that connects automation specialists and process experts, providing a bridge for process content and automation solutions between the two groups. It allows process experts to request automation solutions and provides automation specialists with a custom framework based on the process that they can build from.

Make your processes count

Process information is an important asset for any business. It needs to be carefully managed and maintained to protect the effectiveness of business operations and to open the way for greater efficiency in the future. That requires an enterprise-ready tool that supports clear, simple processes with the depth of information business teams need to fulfill their duties.

 

 

To learn more about the benefits of process mapping, talk to Nintex today about how Nintex Promapp can empower your business with process excellence. Get in contact with our team today.

 

 

Thomas Kohlenbach

Thomas Kohlenbach is a Sr. Product Evangelist at Nintex. Based in Auckland, New Zealand, he is an enthusiastic and passionate business improvement advocate with over 12 years of experience in improving business processes with Nintex Promapp process mapping and management software.

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