Are you using your Pirate Map properly?


In many a story a map is the centerpiece that guides the heroes though many adventures and helps them find the treasure as they often learn a lot about themselves on the voyage.

Like many treasure maps, the process maps in a company are written in code that can only be understood by the writer. Only one of these is intentional. In a company’s process mapping we need to lay out a clear path to the treasure.

This is exactly what we do at Bertwin Lord Consulting through our Elucidation Engineering process. We help your company create the process maps that are easily followed leading your employees to the high value treasure in which we all share the spoils.

With all treasure hunts we need to plan for the voyage. We must make sure we understand where we are going and who is coming with us. As we start the journey we just first work with every level of the administrative support directorates (finance, HR, procurement, logistics, security, subcontracts, contracts, and IT) and examine each work item that each employee will complete each day.

A preliminary step by step process is captured for each work item and checked with other explores (peers) to make sure all steps are clear on the new map.

Of course – every map must be kept safe and accessible. Depending on the company you keep this step by step process may be kept on the computer, on an iPad application, in a three ring binder, or some other method familiar to you and your peers.

It is important that when the step by step process is captured that a focus is made on using the map every time a step is completed. This will ensure that the map is correct and accurately reflects the voyage. While using the map time and time again we can also add little notes to the map that says how long it takes to complete each step and who we meet along the say. We can also write down how often we complete these steps and who else needs to know when we complete these steps.

Once we have the map and we can add how often steps on the map are accomplished we find that steps are varied in how they are conducted. Some steps are completed every day or several times a day with no modification to their volume where others may be conducted only once in a while with large amounts of requirements at the end of the week or the end of the quarter where others were based upon specific events.

As we are never by ourselves in this adventure, many of the steps required actions to be completed by others in order for a step to be completed.

Many steps effect many different people and thus multiple people needed to be informed when a step was being completed.

As we add these notes to each step we build a better map. We start the map with a clean line from one point to another but as we work the map every day we add the scenery along the way.

Once each step is captured with this level of detail we can really take a look at the map and decide if we are taking the best route possible. At this point we need to involve the directors of each department. We all sit down collectively and review the map paying special attention to the data we added along the way. This data allows the directors to make many decisions with quantifiable date in hand.

At this point we can make many different types of changes. Where our departments are located in correlation to other departments, what communications systems we put in place, how many employees are required at what competency level to ensure maximum work load completed at the most economical level, and other modifications are able to be made based upon the data we collected.

Once we make the modification to the map and find the most productive path possible we can continue to improve our ability to make notes on the map and collect the metrics for each step. We can also improve our ability to see where we are on the map. With our map process details we are able to link our map into a computerized productivity tracking system that enables each work item to get a UID that would track exactly where in the process each work item is allowing the mangers to have real time tracking of where issues are in the system.

As each work item will have a UID and each employee will also have a UID we can all track the productivity of each employee with relation to each task and work item thus enabling the managers to track their employees and give them capability ratings based upon their speed and accuracy for completing each work item. This is a perfect way to decide to whom what tasks should be assigned and who needs training in what areas.

It is important to have the people who are traveling this path involved in the creation of the map. Without the locals on the ground the map is worthless. One the local employees who are responsible for completing each task will have that ground level understanding that is imperative in completing the steps as efficiently as possible. When the employees are involved with each step of the creation of this map there is also a complete buy in from the staff and the systems worked and stay in place upon the management team turning their focus elsewhere.

When this map is in place you will see a dramatic increase in productivity, a marked decrease in customer and employee dissatisfaction due to unknown or unclear steps, retention of senior personnel, quicker training and normalization of junior personnel, and lowering of overhead costs by increasing production or decreasing the need of overhead staff. It also becomes extremely easy to duplicate capabilities when it comes time to expand operations as all your new employees need to do is follow the map.

If you would like help in creating your map please contact Bertwin Lord Consultingand we can set up a consultation and discuss how we can work together.

-Dr. Bertwin Lord, PMP, PE

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