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Process Mapping Best Practices: What’s In A Process Map?

At Business Enterprise Mapping, our sole mission is to build business system and business process maps for the purpose improving business enterprise performance. As one might imagine, we have seen process maps built in all shapes and sizes and levels of complexity, using a variety of manual and automated tools. Most organizations do not have a process-mapping standard; therefore we recommend that a best practice process map contain at least the information summarized below in a form that is easily readable by users.

The Best Practice Process Map


1. Process Owner.

A Process Owner is one who can define the process and has been assigned enterprise responsibility for the management and continuous improvement of the process. A process that is defined by those who do the work will deliver the most value to the organization.


2. Purpose.  

A process must demonstrate a useful purpose by solving its customers’ problems and delivering value that exceeds its cost to the organization.


3. Suppliers.  

Suppliers provide inputs (physical or intellectual product) to the process that are to be transformed by the process for the benefit of its customer.


4. Inputs.  

Inputs are comprised of the raw materials (physical or intellectual) consumed by the process to create its output.


5. Tasks/Events/Decisions.  

A process transforms its inputs through a series of tasks (jobs, actions), events (meetings, training, etc.) and decisions (yes/no, go/no-go) that deliver a transformed output that solves its customers’ problems.


6. Knowledge Requirements.  

Knowledge is the intellectual property of the organization used by tasks, events, and decisions to deliver a process purpose. It includes a variety of information and content, such as work instructions, records, data, policies, standards, training, third-party requirements, specifications, trademarks, and patents.


7. Outputs.  

A process delivers a product or service that fulfills its purpose. In general, the goal of any process is to provide an output that solves customers’ problems.


8. Customers.  

Customers of a process are the people, processes or organizations (internal or external) that use the product or service provided by the process to solve their problems.


9. Responsibilities.  

Responsibilities are typically defined through a RACI matrix, which identifies Responsible, Approver, Consults, and Informs. A RACI matrix ensures that responsibilities and accountabilities are properly assigned for each task, event, and decision in a process


10. Metrics.  

Metrics are the criteria on which a process is monitored for performance assessment. Process measurement can take a variety of forms, including effectiveness, efficiency, productivity, quality, and response time. It is important to measure what is important to improve.


11. Opportunities.  

The building of a best practice process map leads to the identification of process opportunities. We find that process mapping typically yields in the range of 25 – 50 opportunities per process. Opportunities should be identified on a process map as close to the source of their location as possible.


12. Connectivity.  

A process map should include connectivity to contiguous processes within the overall business system where it resides. Defining process connectivity and creating boundary relationships is a necessary characteristic and one that we find can be difficult to understand.


Process maps are a powerful and often underutilized tool for sustainably improving organization performance. They can serve as very valuable enterprise assets in documenting precisely how workflows and organizing that work into a set of aligned, efficient and effective value propositions. Process mapping best practices can lead the path to delight external customers, by defining, understanding and aligning internal customers along the way.

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