Effective Communication Skills: Process Mapping
4.5 (30 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
144 students enrolled

Effective Communication Skills: Process Mapping

Yes, it can be a great job interview skill...
4.5 (30 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
144 students enrolled
Created by Gordon Adelsberg
Last updated 2/2015
English [Auto]
Price: $29.99
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 33 mins on-demand video
  • 2 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Use graphics to communicate with ANYONE!
  • Show the financial value of your work
  • Get past the silos in your organization
  • Become the company expert at Process Improvement
  • Facilitate a process mapping session
  • Show off your engaging communication skills
  • Gain a better understanding of how things work at your company
  • Put "Business Process Mapping" on your resume
  • There are no prerequisites for this course.

Communication 601: Process Mapping - Communicating Processes


You know there's a problem in your operations, you know it could be more efficient, but how to you communicate it?  Yes, a picture is worth 1,000 words....

  • We will teach you how to use a simple and extremely effective business communication tool.

  • You will learn how to sell your ideas internally and externally.

  • Need job interview skills?  Use a process map to spark a conversation instead of a question and answer disaster.

  • You will be able to use this tool immediately after taking this class.

  • The first step in process improvement is understanding what you have.  Here's how to take the first step towards Operational Excellence.

  • We don't use cartoons, there are no fancy graphics....just a real world example and a step by step demo of how to create and use a multifunctional process map.

  • We're old school:  brown paper on the wall, a few Sharpie's® and a stack of Post-it® notes.

    Effective communication in the workplace is the key to advancing, but how exactly do you do that? How can you actually improve workplace communication? Engineers, programmers, project managers and consultants all need some tools to help them "sell" ideas. One of the most useful - but underappreciated - is a multifunctional process map. The process map is mentioned and required in ISO 9000, Six Sigma and lean manufacturing, but you don't need those complex methodologies to take advantage of this useful tool. 

    We will demonstrate the swimlane processs map with a case study based on the instructor's work in management consulting. The case is an example of how you can use a process map to "sell your ideas." If you use this communication tool correctly, your "sale" should be much easier….and that's a great way to build a career. 

Who this course is for:
  • This class is designed for engineers, consultants, biochemists, statisticians and anyone with a technical role. If you work in process improvement or a you're a Six Sigma whiz, this course will be a helpful review.
  • Internal Consultants and Process Improvement Specialists
  • Not just client-facing engineers. It's a great SALES TOOL.
  • System Engineers, Field Engineers
  • Project Managers
  • Business Analysts
  • Lean Six Sigma Practioners
  • Change Management Agents
  • Process Improvement Staff
Course content
Expand all 8 lectures 33:13
+ Process Map Overview
2 lectures 08:13

Welcome. Please download the two PDF files. The first is the case study, the second is our completed process map. In this course we'll walk you through how we built it, and how it made communicating incredibly easy.

Many, if not most, communication courses teach you presentations skills such as "how to tell a story" or how to "captivate the room." While these skills are important, they alone are not sufficient. You also need tools. If you make good use of these tools, your "presentation" becomes a "discussion," and then selling your idea is quite easy. The case we use throughout this course is based on a real situation where I had to "sell" an idea to senior leaders. The management thought the problem was caused by employees, but I knew that wasn't the case. A clearly presented process map made my point abundantly clear. Please read through the case study, then we'll walk through the six main steps we used to create it.

Preview 03:16

This lecture is a continuation of the Introduction video for our Process Mapping course.

Preview 04:57
+ Six Steps for Making a Process Map
6 lectures 25:00

Before you start, understand the big picture. I have often asked the people closest to the operation, "How do things work around here?" You need to understand the larger process conceptually, but not yet in great detail. Ask open ended questions such as "Can you give me a general idea of how this works?" Stay open-ended and stay general. You'll dig for more detail later.

Next, identify the start and end points. If you have a large process, break it into smaller, manageable pieces. Use the Start and End points as "bookends." As you dig deeper and go into more detail, you may have to move the bookends, and that's OK. Your goal here is to break your large process into manageable chuncks.

You will need some supplies:

  • Post-its or Stickies. Either will work.
  • Chart paper or brown paper.
  • Markers
  • Scotch Tape or masking tape (Sometimes the Post-its fall)
Preview 04:14

Determine all the stakeholders, then find who's involved in the process.

  1. Make a list of every FUNCTION that is involved in, affect by, or has influence on the process you want to analyze. Be sure to use functions and job titles – vice president, safety pro, engineer, operator, admin assistant – instead of specific names. Using names leads to people getting unfairly blamed for problems in the operating systems.
  2. Select those directly involved in the process. Start with the main players. As you dig deeper, you might have to add a few more functions to the map.
  3. Assign each player a swimlane. I usually start in reverse managerial order (Operator, next line is Supervisor, below Supervisor is Manager, etc.) but it's just a starting point - You will move these lanes several time. Your goal is to make the map as clear as possible, so it's OK to rearrange…that's why we use Post-It's.
Step 2: Define the Players - Who's Involved?

Here's the fun part. This step is where you learn how things REALLY work. When you have the stakeholder (or better yet, the stakeholders) start mapping the process. You can start by saying, "Folks, tell me the first thing that happens." You will also hear yourself ask several times, "OK, what happens next?"

There are several best practices:

  • Understand what you're analyzing. Are you mapping an "as-is" map or a "future state" map? Be careful when making the "As-is": Many will try to tell you what's supposed to happen instead of how things really are.
  • Ideally, you'll get all the people together when you make the first draft of the map. However, it's not always possible to do so.
  • To get started, use Process Blocks, Decision Blocks and Subprocesses. As you get more experience, you can add more shapes and tools. At first, don't get too bogged down into the details. Do that on a second or third pass, and make use of subprocesses.
  • You might choose to number the steps, especially when you have a more complex map with many comments.
Step 3: Map the Processs

Validate, validate, validate. Verify, verify, verify. Most likely you won't get all the players together, so you'll have to validate your map with the other functions and stakeholders. Take your map to the people involved and have a discussion. Ask if it's accurate. Most likely they will learn something and be thankful that you discovered it.

Every business process – whether it's an "as-is" or a "to-be" process – has at least three versions:

  • What's supposed to happen.
  • What really happens.
  • What we think happens….and there will be many versions.

In the example we're using for this class, we focus on the "What really happens." Typically, there will be disagreements or differing views on 10 – 15% of the map. That's good…it means you're on your way to uncovering the trouble spots.

Step 4: Validate the Process

You will find trouble areas, and the causes are usually not where you'd expect them to be. I've found that a root cause analysis works very well with a process map. The areas where you found disagreement are often the areas where you'll find probably where you'll find your problems.

Remember your task: You know that the employees are not the problem. You feel that Operations MUST fix the spare parts issue, and you must communicate this finding to the bosses. How can you "sell" this idea to the Depot Manager and the COO?

We used the "5 Whys" to dig a bit deeper, and found a reason that would cause a driver to get a late start. It happened quite frequently:

  • Why? The driver had to spend time getting a new bus.
  • Why? Because the horn frequently doesn't work and it's illegal to operate.
  • Why? Because the mechanics didn't fix it.
  • Why? Because they can't get the correct parts, and they can't get them promptly.
  • Why? Because purchasing doesn't know about the problem.

(*** Root Cause Analysis is a bit out of scope for this class, but we are considering creating a new Udemy course.)

Step 5: Investigate the Problem Areas

Now the easy part… You don't need to be a phenomenal speaker if you're armed with a really good process map. Simply walk people through the map. Would you rather give a presentation or have a discussion? You're generally much more effective with the latter.

*** We'd love your feedback and also suggestions for new courses. We're considering a new Udemy course, "The 5 Whys Method for Root Cause Analysis." If you like this idea or have any others you like to share, please contact me at gadelsberg@communicationforgeeks.com.

Step 6: Sell Your Idea