Phase 3: Develop Current State Process Map

  • Identify all the steps, decision points and major assumptions about the process and the way things are currently done

Current State is the terminology used to describe a series of workflows developed to depict business processes as they currently function. During Phase 3 a map is created to reflect all the steps of the process, who is responsible for each step, and the time it takes to complete each task.

There are several ground rules that are typically enforced during the development of the current state process map. These include:

  • Keep an open mind to change and maintain a positive attitude
  • Leave rank at the door; one person = one voice, regardless of position
  • Everyone on the team participates
  • Stay focused
  • Don't leave in silent disagreement
  • Practice mutual respect - do not interrupt; there are no dumb questions or ideas
  • Offer honesty
  • No blame - this is a blameless environment
  • The current state process map, described above, establishes a baseline that is used to determine changes that will improve effectiveness and productivity.
  • Sometimes a current state map may also be referred to as a value stream map or a swim lane diagram, depending on how the information is captured and is displayed.

A current state map allows you to:

  • See how a process is actually working -- "What really happens next?"
  • Identify if there are any approvals required before proceeding
  • Determine if there is anything missing in the tasks identified

Before you move to improve, plan or make changes, you must know 'where you are' right now

  • Consider the straight through process; be sure to include processes that are executed in parallel
  • Document each step in the process, but do not focus on exceptions as processes should not be developed based on exceptions but on straight through processes. If exceptions are a main source of concern, note them within the process map for future consideration.
  • From your Charter capture the projects Book Ends; develop clear boundaries for the start of the process and the end of the process; stay within the established bookends
  • As a team, identify all steps, including decision points, executed within the current process; understand that there may be variations
  • Critically evaluate the process flow chart; undercover opportunities to improve the process and better satisfy your customers
  • Separately document 'Bright Ideas' - these are ideas captured during the current state mapping process as ideas for future improvements; ensure these 'bright ideas' have either been addressed, incorporated or discarded as no longer needed when considering future state design.

Sample Process Map: