Standardize Your Tools and Leave Your People Be Creative with Them


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There seems to be as many maps in the Service Design world as there is time in the Lean world. Service Design has a few types of maps that they consider, Process Maps, Journey Maps, Blueprint Maps, Net-map, Offering Maps, Mind Maps, etc. Not that I don’t enjoy the tools but it gets rather confusing.

I have been spending quite a bit of time investigating and trying different software. Recently, I had the opportunity to discuss Process Mapping with Ben Graham. Ben has been helping people make sense of their processes for over thirty years. Heis President of The Ben Graham Corporation and author of the book ‘Detail Process Charting: Speaking the Language of Process; His company pioneered the field of business process improvement, and since 1953 has provided process improvement consulting, coaching and education services to organizations across North America. Ben’s Podcast is The Granularity of Process Mapping and eBook Capturing the Flow of Information.

An excerpt from the Podcast:

Joe: In the service work and the service design type things that I get involved with, there is a lot of interest in customer journey maps or service blueprinting. Are you able to use process software for that?

Ben: We don’t get into the emotion aspects of a customer journey map, but we do capture with a process map all the touch points where a customer is directly involved with a process, whether it’s an internal customer or external customer. We have a detail process map, captures all the players in the process and where their touch points are. From that aspect, they’re comparable. I think that, once again, they could work together.

Joe: You’re saying you can capture the touch points, the front stage actions, the back stage actions, and maybe even some of the support processes. But you’re lacking the emotional side?

Ben: We’re capturing reality, regardless of how people feel about it when we’re doing an as is process. We’re capturing what happens. Now, when we get into analysis and we want to improve the process, that’s where having that other map can provide some input possibly. We find out where the hurt points are and that can give us some focus on where we want to make some changes.

I have debated for a long time, whether it is better to master one or 2 process and using those the majority of the time. The problem in doing this of course is that if all you have is a hammer, then everything starts looking like a nail. The advantage though is the ability to distribute and explain the knowledge that is captured versus explaining the tool. There may be a significant advantage as people grow familiar with the tool and start seeing the information contained within it.

I am a big fan of standardizing within an organization. When people open up their tool box and see things they are comfortable they are more likely to discuss the problem. an old saying is how many good ideas failed because of a poor plan. Having consistency with an organization is important. Having standardization is important. Standardize your tools and leave your people be creative with them.
Process Mapping

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


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