Tag Archive: swimlanes

The 3 habits of “Process People”

Ruth and I can see them instantly in a room full of people. A little like an oasis in the middle of a desert. The way they talk about problems. The way they describe a process. The way they doodle in their meeting notebook trying to talk about their pain point at work.  I’m pretty certain there is even a special twinkle in their eye. It is thrilling and exciting.  Total #MCM (Man Crush Monday) or #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday) when I meet someone with process aptitude.

Want to be our #MCM or #WCW?

Learn and use the 3 habits of “Process People”

#MCM for process

#MCM for process people

1. Be a doodler:

Process people get the concept of visually representing a process. People process visual information much faster, and processes can be complex and difficult to explain with words. Getting to the root of an issue by quickly doodling that part of the process is a great way to start articulating the problem. It doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t even have to use the right shapes, just get your view of the process out on paper while you are chatting with someone. Process people’s meeting notebooks are filled with diagrams and scribbles – all a way to distill information to someone else who might not be as close to the process as they are.

2. Talk Data:

Process people understand the importance of data to baseline the performance of an existing process so that you can compare it o the new process. Make sure that you understand the impacts and details of the current process problem, and can you set targets for your future state.  What are you trying to improve, reduce, or eliminate? Improve turnaround time? Reduce change requests? Eliminate errors? Where do you want to get to?  By when?

3. Know the Players:

Process people understand that people have a huge impact on a process.  Understand all the touch points, people, positions, roles, or departments touch a process.  Then you can use our free process mapping template to take your doodles and take them one step further by using the swimlanes.

Just bringing these habits into your every day life can make you someone with “process aptitude” and that’s a great thing!

Tell us about your process #MCM’s and #WCW’s on Twitter @whiteboardcons.

Until next time,


Processes Can Set You Free!

Oh I know what you’re probably thinking – “Ruth, who are you kidding? Processes are simply more bureaucracy. I get that they can make things more consistent and reduce errors, but they’re also a real pain.”

Fair enough. Let me rephrase then.

Good Processes Can Set You Free!

Better? Of course better! But why is that better?

One of my pet peeves is the notion that processes simply need to be documented (written down, mapped, whatever the format) in order for an organization to say, “we’ve done process improvement.” This is the very notion of poor process culture, and gives good process culture a bad rep. You can very easily map a bad, inefficient, bureaucratic process, and doing so does not make you a process improvement compliant organization or individual. (Click to Tweet)

Did that sound like a rant? Sorry. What I mean is, please don’t judge your processes at work by the mere fact that they’ve been documented.

Good Bad

How Can You Make Sure You Have Good Processes?

Ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Are our business processes documented and available for people to look at and refer to?
  2. Have our business processes been reviewed in the last 12 months?
  3. Do our business processes show roles & responsibilities (via swimlanes, for instance)?
  4. Do our business processes reflect reality? Or, if asked, would employees who are doing the work say “we haven’t done it that way for years”?
  5. Do our employees roll their eyes when they have to follow our business processes? Do they feel the processes are a waste of time and bureaucratic?
  6. Are there people in our organization who are negatively impacted by our business processes?

If you said “no” to any of these, then you have some work to do. Contact us. We’ll help set you free.

Until next time,