Contents of This Page
- Important Notes
- The Main Page - Map and List
- Differences Between "Active Process Parts" and "Comments"
- Why Is This Difference Important?
- Map Parts
- Build the Map in Sequence
- Examples of Errors from Putting Comments on the Map
- Examples of Correct Maps
- Do a Quality Check
How to Use Map Parts
Everything Revolves Around the Map
The Main Cycle
- All work is done on the Main Page.
- The Main Page has a Map and a List.
- The information about the process goes on the Map and the List.
- A schematic of the Main Page is shown here.
The Map provides a focus of attention.
It gives you a picture of the process you are working on.
The Map Part labels identify the graphics on the Map.
The words written on the Map will automatically appear on the List.
All other information is added to the List.
This is one of the most important things to understand about ActionMap !
ActionMap divides everything into two buckets:
1. Active Process Parts
2. Comments (about the Active Process Parts)
So what is the difference between the two?
|Differences Between "Active Process Parts" and "Comments"
|1. Active Process Parts|
|2. Comments about the Active Process Parts|
Results, goals, issues, ideas, opinions, milestones, measures, qualities, properties, conditions, states, etc.
|Word / Phrase||Is It an
Active Process Part?
|It's wet out|
|We need more productivity|
|The part is late|
|Motion of part|
|The part has been sent|
Basic Rule for Using the Map and the List
- The Map contains only Active Process Parts
- The List contains both Comments and Active Process Parts
1. Active Process Parts
(about Active Process Parts)
Common sense cause and effect logic:
- is how people understand how things work.
- allows you to trace the effects back to causes to find points for change.
Comments do not follow any particular logic.
If you try use Comments as Active Process Parts,
you will create an unclear understanding of how the process operates.
Ask yourself, "how can I use Comments to trace cause and effect?"
|Comments||Is it an activity?||Is it an actor?||Is it a actions?||Is it
|Milestone 1 Achieved|
|Increase by 20%|
|Customer is satisfied|
|Document needs editing|
Activating the "Cause and Effect Tracing Mind"
Your subconscious mind is very good at tracing cause and effect. It knows when something doesn't make sense.
If you label the Map correctly, you activate your subconscious "cause and effect tracing" mind.
And if you are creating the Map for other people, a correctly created Map will activate THEIR subconscious "cause and effect tracing" minds.
This creates a powerful environment for learning, development, improvement, problem solving, planning, communication and decision-making.
If you do NOT label the Map correctly, you will NOT fully activate these powerful subconscious capabilities, and the Map will have MUCH LESS benefit.
In addition, you can actually create CONFUSION and RESISTANCE if the Map is drawn with too many labeling mistakes.
So, it is VERY IMPORTANT to draw and label the Map correctly.
Another major difference between Active Process Parts and Comments is that:
Again, the basic rule for using the
Both Active Process Parts and Comments go on the List.
Only Active Process Parts go on the Map.
The lesson here is:
Quick Note About Comments
Comments are a very important part of ActionMap.
So now, let's focus just on Map Parts.
Starting with: WHERE do the Active Process Parts go on the Map?
There are several basic guidelines that help in the use of Map Parts.
- 1. Only Five Types of Map Parts
- 2. Standard layout (controlled by the software)
- 3. Types of Map Parts Only Go in Certain Locations (controlled by the software)
- 4. Each Type of Map Part Is Labeled in a Particular Way and Has a Focused Meaning
1. Only Five Types of Map Parts
|Another feature of ActionMap process maps is that they have only five types of Map Parts, as shown here:|
2. A Standard Graphic Layout
The Maps always have the same general graphic layout, shown here:
(Please note that this is just an example: the number of shapes can differ.)
The software will control the general locations of the graphic shapes. So you will not need to position the graphics.
3.Types of Map Parts Only Go in Certain Locations
|And to make it even simpler, the Map Parts only go in certain places on the Map, and the software enforces the locations, so you can't do that wrong.||
So at this point we know that:
- Maps only show Active Process Parts.
- 1. There are only five types of Map Parts.
- 2. The Maps all have the same basic layout.
- 3. The Parts only go in certain places.
So the "hard part" in creating ActionMap Process Maps gets down to the remaining question.
How to label the Map Parts correctly?
..to describe the specific Active Process Parts
of the process you are mapping
The answer to that is:
4. Each Type of Map Part Is Labeled in a
Particular Way and Has a Focused Meaning
Rules for the Central Process
Central Process is represented by a tall rounded rectangle.
Keyword = "Focus"
Rules for Boundaries
Boundaries are represented by simple rectangles.
Keywords = "Limit" and "Less Controllable"
The most important thing to understand about Boundaries is that:
Rules for Stores
Stores are represented by simple rectangles with a double left side
Keyword = "Hold"
Stores are special types of Activities in which the activity is to "store things", and "keep things the same". Stores should be labeled with the names of things that store things (e.g. file cabinet, storeroom, database, etc.)
Stores can be considered either part of the Central Process or things that are separate from and used by the Central Process.
Rules for Flows
Flows are represented by arrows.
Within the above understanding:
Rules for Sub-Processes
Sub-Processes are represented by rounded rectangles
Key words: "Change", "Transform"
Map Parts ONLY go in the specific locations show in the example below.
The Map Panel on the Main Page automatically enforces these positions.
One way to help you label the Map Parts correctly is to follow a particular sequence in adding the Map Parts. That sequence is shown here:
1) Draw and Label the Central Process
- What is the focus of attention for this Map?
- What is the area of activity we want to most learn about in this situation?
- What is the area of activity that we might want to change in this situation?
- What is the area of activity that we might have the most control over in this situation?
- Who and what is inside the Central Process?
- Who and what makes the Central Process "go"?
2) Add the Boundaries and Stores
- What is the primary focus of the map versus the periphery of the map?
- What is outside versus inside the Central Process?
- What are the less controllable parts of the area of activity?
- Who and what interacts with the Central Process?
- What parts of the area of activity are NOT inside the central process?
- Is this side box an actor, like a person, organization or system?
- If so, then it is a Boundary.
- Is this a storage unit, like a file folder or a database?
- If so, then it is a Store.
- If so, then it is a Store.
3) Add the Flows
It is often very helpful to NOT start adding Flow arrows until you have added Boundaries
- What are things that actually move between to the Boundaries and Stores from the Central Process?
- Information, goods, money, simple actions and so on.
- Are these named with nouns or noun phrases?
- Because they should NOT be named with verbs, activities and complex actions.
- Are they NOT used to mean "go to" or "do next"?
Because they should NOT be used for those things
4) Add the Sub-Processes
- What are things that happen inside the Central Process?
- How would you divide the Central Process into three major sub-activities?
- How would you then divide those smaller activities into a total of about seven sub-activities?
- Do these Sub-Processes extend outside the Central Process?
- Because they should NOT.
- Do these Sub-Processes overlap with each other?
- Because they should NOT.
- Do these Sub-Processes account for all the Flows that come and go to and from the Central Process?
- Because they SHOULD do that.
5) Check for Comments on the Map
Ask (and check one more time):
- Have you labeled any of the Boundaries or Stores with Comments, that do not have the power to DO anything?
- Because you should very definitely NOT do that.
Examples of Errors from Putting Comments on the Map
THE FOLLOWING ARE MISTAKES THAT CAN CAUSE CONFUSION:
- Flow with actions and outcomes on them.
- Boundaries with goals, evaluations and milestones on them.
- A Store with an evaluation on it.
- Sub-processes with outcomes on them.
All of the labels on the example map above can be considered Comments.
(All of these labels could be captured as Comments on the List.)
Few of these labels contribute to understanding how the process works.
All of these incorrect labels interfere with:
- Understanding cause and effect relationships
- Creating an objective view of what happens.
You have learn to separate Activities (on the Map) from
Comments (on the List).
It's the basic skill of process thinking.
While you are creating a Map, or after you have completed a first draft, you can do a quality check.
Ask yourself these questions:
- "Are all the Map Parts Active Process Parts, and Not Comments? Or, Are any of the Map Parts actually just Comments?"
- "Are the Boundaries truly separate from the Central Process, or do they belong inside as part of the Central Process as Sub-Processes?"
- "Are the Sub-Processes truly part of the Central Process, or do they belong outside the Central Process as Boundaries or Stores?"
- "Do the Flows show the actual movement of some "Stuff" between the sides and the Central Process?"
- "Do the Flows describe a whole activity, instead of just a simple movement of "Stuff"?"
After you have learned and practiced the labeling rules, you can sometimes relax their use.
- Flows don't need to be strictly labeled with nouns, as long as the label describes the movement of something from one place to another.
- A person can occupy multiple roles on a Map.
- A person can be both an employee inside the Central Process and a recipient of company benefits outside the Central Process.
- A person could be a prospect in one Boundary and Customer in another Boundary.
- (Other examples to be added.)
In some cases it is useful to show that Flows go between specific side parts or to and from specific sub-processes, instead of only to and from the Central Process.
These situations can be indicated using Flow Connectors (or simply "Connectors").
Connectors are short text codes that can have a variety of formats, for example:
- " / 1.0"
More details on Flow Connectors can be found at this page:
The software also allows you to put rounded rectangles on the sides of the Map. These are called "Side Processes". They are Activities that are closely associated with the Central Process, but not directly inside inside of it.
Side-Processes are typically used to represent parts of a larger organization or system than contains both Central Process and Side-Process.
Flow labels can also include sequence number (1- , 2- , 3- ).
Part labels can also include measures:
- (50 per day)
- (5 staff)
There are no fixed rules for these label variations; you can use whatever format works best for you.
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