Detail Process Charting – the ONLY Serious Methodology

I have had many years’ experience helping organisations to understand their own processes and then set about creating better ones. Through the years, I have used many different types of software to help document processes, including MS Visio. I am frequently asked how I document a process, and I understand there is no ‘right’ or wrong’ way, but some solutions are more effective than others.

Detail process charting is the solution I employ. It is the only method that I know will highlight:

  • what is done
  • who does it
  • when is it done
  • what adds value
  • what is involved

Detail process charting isn’t a well known methodology, and yet, in my experience it is the only way to really understand a process. Until you truly understand something, you will struggle to improve it. Detailed process charts, are, detailed! And so they turn some people off. That’s because they may seem intimidating and leave nothing to chance. Also, creating a detailed process chart is a skill in itself. It is NOT flowcharting!

Detailed process charts flow left to right, and in no other way. A new line is created for each object in the process and the line continues until the object reaches it’s end of life. The charts clearly show the contribution of each object. Identifying value-added activities is far more precise. They enable the ability to design improved and new processes.

For example, take the following process:

SW Order

It’s a straight forward process, created in MS Viso and very easy to understand.

But who is involved? What is involved? How are things actually done?

Consider the following version, created as a detailed process chart:


Now, admittedly, I couldn’t include the entire diagram, and it appears very small here, but it covers the same process.

It also clearly indicates HOW the process operates, who performs the work, what is produced, what happens to them, etc.

Now, if you are going to improve a business process, which method would YOU trust?

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