Capturing the Flow of Information


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Since 1953, the Graham Process Mapping method has been the choice of experts worldwide who need to understand the details of their data flows. Since 1990, Graham Process Mapping Software has made detailed process mapping even easier. Graham Process maps display every hand-off, every decision point, every customer interaction, every time information changes in an easy-to-read presentation. The company pioneered the field of business process improvement and also provides process improvement consulting, coaching and education services to organizations across North America. This is a transcription of the podcast; The Granularity of Process Mapping.

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Capturing the Flow of Information

  1. 1. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systems Capturing the Flow of Information Guest was Ben Graham Related Podcast: The Granularity of Process Mapping Sponsored by The Granularity of Process Mapping Copyright Business901
  2. 2. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systems Ben B Graham has been helping people make sense of their processes for over thirty years. He is President of The Ben Graham Corporation and author of the book ‘Detail Process Charting: Speaking the Language of Process’ published by John Wiley Publishers. His company pioneered the field of business process improvement, and since 1953 has provided process improvement consulting, coaching andeducation services to organizations acrossNorth America. Ben has worked with manyorganizations to fix process-relatedproblems, build process libraries and developeffective, process-focused, continuousimprovement programs. His organizationpublishes Graham Process Mapping Software,which is designed specifically for preparingdetail process maps.You can find out more about Ben and the Graham ProcessMapping software at The Granularity of Process Mapping Copyright Business901
  3. 3. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systems Transcription of PodcastJoe Dager: Welcome everyone. This is Joe Dager, the host ofthe Business 901 Podcast. With me, today, is Ben Graham. Hehas been helping people make sense of their processes for over30 years. Hes the president of the Ben Graham Corporation andauthor of the book "Detail Process Charting," published by JohnWiley. His company pioneered the field of business processimprovement, and, since 1953, has provided processimprovement consulting, coaching, and education services. Benhas worked with many organizations to fix process-relatedproblems, build process libraries, and develop effective processfocus continuous improvement program.His organization publishes Graham Process Mapping software,which is designed specifically for preparing detail process maps.Ben, thanks for joining me and I would like to compliment you inthis world of technology. It is refreshing to see a niche developerthat has successfully survived through the years.The obvious question is. How did you do it?Ben Graham: Well, thanks Joe. I think its because we have aproduct, something thats very reality based and it gets the jobdone. Im a the third generation in my company to do this workand its work that was-- the principal tool we used was developedby my grandfather. Its as applicable today or maybe even moreso with so many processes kind of hidden in electronics. Its veryapplicable. It gets down to the fundamentals of process work andwe get a chance, by applying this tool, to see whats in a processand it makes it clear enough so we can make intelligent decisionsabout it.Joe: I think theres sometimes confusion about processmapping. Tell me what process mapping is and isnt. The Granularity of Process Mapping Copyright Business901
  4. 4. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsBen: Therere a lot of different types of process maps that youllsee out there. Process mapping is laying out a process flow. Aprocess is a series of steps that accomplishes a specific task. Aprocess map lays those steps out. When I say that therere a lotof variations, the variation comes at the level of detail that thosemaps have. You may have a process map thats got two or threesteps in it to lay out a process where another one will have 150steps. Thats a level of detail situation.Quite a few, if you did a search on process maps--a Googlesearch on process maps--youd - -, youd see thousands andthousands of maps. Many of them are displayed on a single 8.5 x11 page. Theyre very high level. They give you an idea of whatsgoing on in the process and that can give you some focus points.But a detailed map, which is the kind that Ive used, identifies allthe documents in a process. By document, I mean the forms,emails, spreadsheets, systems, anything that conveysinformation. It lays out all the documents and lays out the depthsof what each one of those does and how they relate to eachother, how information from one is used on another.With that kind of information, you can make decisions about eachof those documents. Thats a difference between the high leveland the detail map.Joe: When I look at process mapping, I think a lot of peoplethink of Visio or, like you just mentioned, a lot of this stuff out onthe web. This is not really what process mapping, morespecifically your software, is about, is it?Ben: Thats right. Most maps are probably drawn with Visio.Visio comes with a lot of different shapes and such that you canuse to create whatever you want. Unfortunately, when people aredoing that theyre reinventing the wheel and theyre usually doingsomething or often doing something thats not going to berepetitive. Theyre not going to be able to use it again. Somebody The Granularity of Process Mapping Copyright Business901
  5. 5. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemselse will see it and theyll probably start with something different.There are a lot of variations on whats sometimes referred to asthe box and arrow method, which is a box, arrow, diamonds fordecisions. Then sometimes people insert their own symbols inthere.Joe: When you mention all the different shapes and everythingand the consistencies of having that common shape, it makes itmuch easier for people to understand and share, doesnt it?Ben: Well, the problem is they have to invent the method theyuse every time. Is the flow chart going to flow left to right toindicate changes through time? Is it going to go up and down? Isit going to go around in circles? Is a phone call represented by abox or is it represented by a telephone? Who knows? If theresnot a consistent method behind it, its going to change andpeople are going to have trouble following it down the road. Ithink thats the biggest issue with Visio and other programs likethat is that theyre great for drawing a one-time picture ofsomething, a diagram of something. But for process work, wewant to have some kind of structured methodology behind it, andthere are several.But with Visio and other diagramming packages, you have tobring your method to the table. You have the symbols there, andyou have to figure out how to put them together and which onesyou want to use and so forth.Joe: I always think process mapping seems to get identified withSix Sigma and value stream mapping with Lean. Why is that andwhats the difference? Can we maybe do a process map before wedo a value stream?Ben: Process mapping has been around for a long time to helppeople understand processes. It originated near the turn of thelast century in manufacturing with what was called a flow processchart, which was a tool that manufacturing, machine shops and The Granularity of Process Mapping Copyright Business901
  6. 6. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsso forth, used to follow the flow of a part through itsmanufacture. Very powerful tool and that is what has evolved intothe detail charting that we use. There is no reason why we cantdo a value stream map and a process map. As a matter of fact,the value stream map gives you a high level view of whats goingon in the manufacturing environment, typically. Thats where Ihave found them to be most useful.They identify where information flows are. If you have somequestions about that information flows, thats a great opportunity,then to use a detailed process map to see how that information isflowing through the shop floor, also from the office to the shop,or wherever the flow is and whatever media it is using.You can get the details of that. Is it electronic and its sent toterminal or it’s printed out and then hand walked oversomeplace? Or is it a piece of paper that is walked out andhanded to somebody? All of these details of the process flow canbe seen with a detail map, and that just adds more value to theanalysis.Joe: So youre saying a value stream map is done first and thenthe process map adds a granularity to it.Ben: In a case where a value stream map adds value, which isin a manufacturing environment, I dont see the same value ifyou were doing work principally in the offices or in a serviceorganization. It could be, but that not where Ive seen its value.Ive seen its value in the manufacturing. Yeah, thats what Iwould say.Joe: Why doesnt everybody use detailed process mapping?What stops them from using it?Ben: Therere a few reasons. The biggest one is that mostpeople dont know about it. They dont know that there is astructured method that is available for doing that. Another one is The Granularity of Process Mapping Copyright Business901
  7. 7. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsthat you have an opportunity to draw a map that takes up a pageand another map that takes 15 feet of wall space. Therere twoways to look at that. Which is going to be easier to create andwhich is going to be easier to work with? A lot of people will optthe shorter, simple map. But, unfortunately, thats not going togive you the kind of information you need to make intelligentdecisions about the process. Its going to guide you in the rightdirection, possibly. But then you have to dig down to get thedetails.Whereas the detailed map, it identifies every occurrence ofinformation change in the process. Youre able to pinpoint rightthere on the map what you have to dig in and try to figure outwithout a map if you just used a simpler, high-level map.Joe: So is this something that I should blow up on a wall and dothis process map, or do I use this software to copy all the stickynotes I put up on a wall?Ben: When we collect data, it is similar to value streammapping. You want to walk the floor and capture the data. Youdont want to bring people into a room where theyre away fromthe day-to-day work. You want to go out to the floor or to thedesk where the people are working to capture the data so thatyou dont overlook those non value-added type of tasks thatpeople tend to forget away from the work. They tend to focus onthe value-added steps, "I take this document and I update thesystem," something like that. They tend to overlook the fact thatthey have to refer to a standards book or they have to make aphotocopy or they have to go down the hall to do something. Allthese things are the non value-added steps that wed like to getout of the process as much as we can.Joe: Outside of attending a workshop, what is the best way tointroduce process mapping software? I find that most software The Granularity of Process Mapping Copyright Business901
  8. 8. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsthat there is this big stumbling block, a barrier to jump into thefray, per se. How would you recommend getting started maybe?Ben: There is a lot of information in the Internet and,unfortunately, its hard to sift through, because theres so muchstuff and so many different ways to approach this. But if youreally want to understand, pick a method and look for informationon how to collect the data for that method, how to string symbolsalong, and try to get a... What you want is a solid methodologybehind the mapping that you choose so that its repetitive andthat people can come back in two years and review the sameprocess, understand what it is, and it can service a foundation forcontinuous improvement to keep getting better year after year.Joe: Process mapping is very much doing current state, futurestate type work, right?Ben: Absolutely. You want to have a picture of whats going onnow, and then you tap into the experience of the people who dothe work. You sit them in front of the map that youve picked, thecurrent state or the as-is process that youve documented andstep through it, step by step. Another reason why the detailedmap is valuable, because you can say...Youre asking them aquestion about putting a document into an inbox or making threecopies of it that get distributed, and so forth. They can makethose kinds of decisions.You do the same thing with a higher-level map. Youve got to diginto the step, which is really a function, and it doesnt break itdown into the specific documents and tasks that youre doing withthose documents.Joe: How do I know how much detail to put in a map?Ben: The way that we approach that is that weve got a set ofeight symbols that describe this kind of work thats going on.Basically, its the type of work whether youre doing work, youre The Granularity of Process Mapping Copyright Business901
  9. 9. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemschecking work; the work is moving from one location to another,or its just sitting there doing nothing. A step which, by the way,is not included in a lot of methods. If the step activity changesthen you want to put in another symbol. Also, if, for instance,youre updating a system and youre using a document to do thatand then you use a different document, so you have a differentsource providing information. Well, theres a situation where youhave two steps that are both a value added step, but theyreconcurrent because youre using different information to inputthem. Same thing if you had a different person doing the work.So, when something, the person, the source document, or thetype of work changes, we want to capture that. If we do that,well have a pretty detailed map that anyone whos involved inthat work can understand well enough to make intelligentdecisions about it.Joe: Whats the limitation of process mapping? Can I puteverything about the process on a document?Ben: There are certain types of activities that occur. Forinstance, a meeting where people go get together as a group andmake some decisions about something thats occurring in theprocess. Which, to capture the details of that, would be verydifficult because it could change every time they have a meeting,the next item that passes through that process could be handleddifferently. Situations like that, we handle with a conventionthats called a stop/start. We put in some information about thatthat just says, "This is a meeting going on," and then whateverthe results of that meeting are, a report or something; we pickback up there.Joe: The way you describe process mapping to me, this is a verylive document. Its something that I actually work with.Ben: Well, if youre not using it then it has no value and it was awaste of time. These things can be used, too, for training. If you The Granularity of Process Mapping Copyright Business901
  10. 10. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemshave a new manager come in they need to understand whatsgoing on in their area, they can use it. Its used for developmentof systems that support the process. They can see where all theinformation changes are. Its easy to dig in and find outspecifically what information has changed. If you know wheretheyre happening and what documents theyre happening with,its easy to figure whats going to be needed for the developmentwork.Joe: In this process mapping and service work and some of theservice design type things that I get involved with, theres a lot ofinterest in customer journey maps or service blueprinting, astheyre called. Can process software be used for that?Ben: We dont get into the emotion aspects of a customerjourney map, but we do capture with a process map all the touchpoints where a customer is directly involved in a process, whetherits an internal customer or external customer. We have a detailprocess map, captures all the players in the process and wheretheir touch points are. From that aspect, theyre comparable. ButI think that, once again, they could work together.Joe: Youre saying you can capture the touch points, the frontstage actions, the back stage actions, and maybe even some ofthe support processes. But youre lacking the empathy side. Isthat a fair way to say it?Ben: Yeah. Were capturing reality, regardless of how people feelabout it when were doing an as is process. Were capturing whathappens. Now, when we get into analysis and we want toimprove the process, thats where having that other map canprovide some input possibly. We find out where the hurt pointsare and that can give us some focus on where we want to makesome changes.Joe: Now, you have a workshop coming up. I think its October17th through 19th. Can you tell me about the workshop? The Granularity of Process Mapping Copyright Business901
  11. 11. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsBen: Well, the workshop is designed for facilitators, people whowant to draw process maps and guide teams of people that workon the process to improvement. Its just a couple days so its apretty hands-on, intensive course. But we teach people how tomap. We go through, spend a whole day on drawing processmaps. Then we go through a case study, guide a person throughthe process of setting up the projects, drawing the map for theproject, putting together a team, going through analysis,preparing a proposal, and then implementing. Its a lot ofmaterial to cover, but it really helps to prepare a person to dothis work for themselves.Joe: When we talk about the team concept in process mapping,is that how a process map should be done? Should we bethrowing this up on a big screen and walking through it with ateam?Ben: I prefer not to put it on a screen because you limit whatyou can see. Ive done it that way before and if thats what wehave available, thats what we used. But what I prefer to do isprint out a map. If you dont have a plotter available to print outa 15 foot or 20 foot long map, you can usually go down to a localKinkos or something place like that and get one printed prettyeasily. You put the entire map on the wall and that way peoplecan walk through it and you focus, when youre doing youranalysis youre focused on just one step in one small section ofthe map, but you can see how it can affect the rest of the map.Thats the value you get when you put the whole chart up atonce.Joe: The Ben Graham Corporation, then, is probably just asmuch about teaching and developing learning atmosphere than itis just about software.Ben: Absolutely. When we were founded, my grandfather wasworking for Standard Register back in the 40s when he The Granularity of Process Mapping Copyright Business901
  12. 12. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsdeveloped this method. They actually spun him off to startteaching people this method on his own, under his own name, toput it at arms length from their sales force. They didnt want it tocome off as a gimmick. Since 1953, weve been offering trainingcourses in this. The training has naturally led to some coachingand consulting work. The software is a relative newcomer to ourmix, but we introduced it in 1990.Joe: One of the problems I have with software and why, eventhough Im somewhat of a geek, I shy away from it a little bit, itsbecause people think theyre going to get a software to solve theproblem, but the problem still exists after buying the software.Ben: Absolutely. We try to impress on people that our softwareis a tool like Word or Excel, but its specific for doing processes.When you print out a chart, people tell us, "Well, its not pretty.Id like to make this font bigger and Id like to be able to addthese things to it." Thats not our purpose. Our purpose is tocreate a consistent tool that people can use to understand andanalyze a process. I encourage them to print it out, to mark it up,to use it as a tool.The softwares not going to solve their problems, but the peoplewho learn how to use it well are. Learning how to use it well as abig part of that for process mapping is learning how to gather thedata. Once youve gathered the data, drawing the chart is arelatively simple task.Joe: What would you like to add that maybe I didnt ask aboutBen Graham Corporation or a process mapping?Ben: Our company has been a pioneer in this field. What we do,our software is based on our methodology. Its the principle toolbehind our methodology, but its really the method, and stickingto the method that helps a person take an improvement projectfrom beginning to end. Knowing how to set up a project, and thenmaking sure everybodys aware of whats going on. Most The Granularity of Process Mapping Copyright Business901
  13. 13. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsimportantly, this is finally starting to come into the mainstream,but tapping into the experience and ingenuity of the people thatdo the...essential for a good process. That doesnt mean thattheyre going to come up with all the ideas, but they know thework, they know the details of every step in a process, far morethan a single symbol is going to show.Youll have to invite IT or developers in or vendors in when theidea is that when it looks like what we need to do is change theway were doing the work. But you also need to have theexperience there to understand what really has to happen to thework in order to get the job done.Joe: I think this is the reason youve stuck around so long is thatyou really look at how you change the way people do their work.You look past just putting a product out to that person. Youactually work with someone to change the way they do theirwork. I think thats the key.Ben: Well, we take the focus off the person and put it on thework. Then we ask them about it. Its just amazing, we oftenhear about peoples resistance to change. I rarely encounter that.The reason is that people arent so much resistant to change asthey are resistant to somebody else telling them how to change.When you include them in the change process, really includethem, and take their suggestions to heart. They come up withgood ideas; they make the changes, and they buy it. They buy itbecause its theirs.Joe: I think thats a great way to end the conversation. Id liketo thank you very much, Ben. How can someone contact you?Ben: The easiest way would be through the website or, either one of those willgive them information to contact us. The Granularity of Process Mapping Copyright Business901
  14. 14. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systems Joseph T. Dager Business901 Phone: 260-918-0438 Skype: Biz901 Fax: 260-818-2022 Email: Website: Twitter: @business901Joe Dager is president of Business901, a firm specializing inbringing the continuous improvement process to the sales andmarketing arena. He takes his process thinking of over thirtyyears in marketing within a wide variety of industries and appliesit through Lean Marketing and Lean Service Design.Visit the Lean Marketing Lab: Being part of this community willallow you to interact with like-minded individuals andorganizations, purchase related tools, use some free ones andreceive feedback from your peers. Marketing with Lean Book Series included in membership Lean Sales and Marketing Workshop Lean Service Design Workshop The Granularity of Process Mapping Copyright Business901