Table of Contents
What is the Basic Method? (link to "Map that Job! Home" article section)
How to Map a Job - Detailed Instructions
What is the Basic Method?
Please see this link for a quick overview of the basic method.
Training Procedure - Overview
Training in how to map your job has the following sections:
1. Provide a very simple example of the map format and the evaluations - "Make a Pizza Dinner"
2. Outline the major parts of the procedure
3. Provide more complex example with the steps broken out
4. Ask you to follow the steps, with guidelines for each step
5. Provide guidelines for accessing the other training material in these Help pages
Simple Example - Make Pizza Dinner
This is a "job" in the sense that it is a task that someone can perform, We chose this example because it can be widely recognized.
- (Explanations of the formats are given below. In this example, just read the formats.)
Here is the example map:
Here are the example evaluations:
Have a pleasant meal together
Getting everything to come out at the same time
Don’t know how spicy they like the tomato sauce
Buy fancy napkins and a festive table cloth
Next time, don’t spill the wine on the guests
The Six Stages of "Map that Job"
The Map that Job procedure follows the ActionMap "Main Cycle", shown here:
Most of the value in most situations will be produced in these stages:
And you will know whether you want to continue, and with how much detail, after just these two stages.
Fulfill a Member Information Request
This section walks you through the stages of the Main Cycle, using the example of the job "Fulfill a Member Information Request".
This provides an example, explanations and instructions on what to do.
Throughout this section, there are directions that say "Do the above steps on on your paper for your job".
- Read through the entire exercise and then come back and follow those directions, step by step, for your job.
- That's how you are going to map, evaluate and create an action plan for your job.
The Situation in the Example Exercise
You are part of a membership organization that keeps information about its members, for example in health care, insurance, finance or a professional society. Members make requests for information about themselves and about the organization's services. Some of this information is delivered by postal mail. Your group's job is to fulfill those requests.
Stage 1 - Map
First we will walk through the construction of the sample map. Then we will explain the mapping activity in more detail.
The Completed Map of the Example Job
The image below shows the complete map of the example job. This map was created in PowerPoint. It is similar to how maps look in the software. Your hand drawn maps may look different, however, the general organization will be the same.
The map below has the following features:
- The person who is doing the work is in the rounded rectangle in the middle.
- The organizations, systems and storage units that the person interacts with are on the sides.
- The transactions that the person performs with the "side parts" are shown by the arrows
- The major sub-activities of the job are shown as smaller rounded rectangles in the middle.
That general organization of all maps is described below, using another example.
The Map Construction Sequence
Maps are constructed in this general sequence:
Activities in the Map Construction Sequence
Please note that the procedure and format described here is very flexible. You do not need to follow this exact sequence. More details on how to draw and use the graphic format are provided after the example map sequence.
Guidelines for setting up a piece of paper for drawing a map are provide after the following example Stages.
Draw and name the Central Process
Draw a tall rounded rectangle on the page. This is called the "Central Process". This represents you, in your role of doing the job.
Label the Central Process at the top with a name for your job.
The number is helpful for connecting evaluations to the map. This example uses outline numbering. However the numbering can also be "P1", "P2", etc.
Draw boxes on the sides.
Label the boxes with the names of the people, organizations or systems that you interact with. These are called "Boundaries". They are outside of and distinct from you, in terms of your job.
Prompting questions for boundaries:
- What organizations, stakeholder groups, teams or roles do you interact with in your job?
- What major information systems do you use in your job?
Add other boxes to represent the storage units that you use in your job. These can be file cabinets, drawers, electronic file folders and so on. These are called "Stores". Note that the Stores have a double line on their left side, to distinguish them from Boundaries.
Prompting questions for stores:
- What major storage units do you use in your job?
Now draw and label arrows that show the "stuff" that goes between you and the boundaries and stores. This can be information, goods, money, energy, signals, communications and so on. These arrows are called "flows" or "transactions". Flows can also represent simple actions.
- Note that flows do not represent complex actions. Those are either in the central process or in the boundaries.
- Flows should represent the movement of real stuff; they do not mean "go to" or "do next".
Prompting questions for flows.
Look at each boundary and store ("side part") and ask:
- What information, goods or materials do you receive from that side part?
- What information, goods, or materials do you give to that side part?
- What major communication do you conduct with that side part?
- What happens next?
- What happens after that?
Last, draw smaller rounded rectangles inside the Central Process, and label them with the names of major activities that are performed within the Central Process (that is, within your job).
Prompting questions for subprocesses.
- What are the major activities that you perform in your job?
- Is your work divided up by groups of transactions that you perform?
- Does your work have a pattern like "input, process, output" or "beginning, middle, end"?
Stage 2 - Evaluate
The next stage of activity is to capture evaluations and notes about the parts of the map.
The standard evaluations include:
- Goals (G), what you want more of
- Issues (I), what you want less of, and
- Change Ideas (CI), specific ideas for change.
- However, you can capture any type of note that you want.
Also, the standard practice in the ActionMap Main Cycle is to capture evaluations while you mapping. For example, you can capture evaluations after each of the mapping activities: Capture Central Process, Add Boundaries, Add Stores, etc.
It is a very important function of the maps to help you think about the evaluations. So you should feel free to capture evaluations and notes at any time during the mapping.
Guidelines for setting up a piece of paper to capture evaluations are provided after the following example Stages.
Sample evaluations for the maps above
Prompting questions for evaluations.
For each map part, ask:
- What are any issues with this, things you would like to reduce or remove?
- Are there any goals with this, things that you would like to increase or add?
- Do you have any ideas for how to change this in a particular way?
Stage 3 - Prioritize
The next stage of activity is to prioritize all the evaluations. Priorities are:
- A - do next
- B - do after the A's
- C - maybe do never
Below are sample priorities for the evaluation above:
Prompting questions for priorities:
- Would you do this as soon as you could?
- Is this useful, however, not immediately important?
- Is this worth doing soon, or ever? (Or will it be obvious if it becomes important later?
Select the High Priority Evaluations for further work
The last part of "Prioritize" is to decide which evaluations you want to move forward with. That is, which evaluations are important enough to work on now. You can always work on the lower priority evaluations later.
You can select the evaluations that you want to work with by drawing a circle around them.
Prompting questions for high priority evaluations.
- Which evaluations do you feel are important enough to carry forward into action planning?
Stage 4 - Brainstorm (Capture Proposed Changes)
We call these brainstorming ideas "proposed changes" (PC). That's because while they are only proposed at this point, they are also specific changes.
They can be anything that comes to mind, because you are going to prioritize and select from them as well.
The first part of this stage is to make sure that you do some brainstorming for each of the high priority evaluations.
You don't need to do this in writing, however, the sketch below shows the general idea.
Note that you may find:
- new proposed changes that are not connected to high priority evaluations,
- evaluations that you cannot think of proposed changes for
- proposed changes that cover multiple evaluations
- and so on.
Then prioritize the proposed changes, just like you did the evaluations:
- A - do next
- B - do after the A's
- C - maybe do never
And then select the ones that you want to work with further.
Stage 5 - Plan (Capture Action Items)
Now we use another page that uses a simple action plan format.
The first activity in this stage is to translate the high priority proposed changes into action items that you will actually go do.
The reason to build up to action items in stages is to give yourself all the information you need and all the alternatives you can think of, so that you will be ready to identify a clear set of actions.
The same type of process is used to make sure that the high priority proposed changes are accounted for in the action items.
Action items are not prioritized, so they need to be things that are:
- feasible (you can do them)
- acceptable (in terms of side effects)
- effective (they will actually start to make change happen)
Stage 6 - Assign (Capture Assignees and Due Dates)
The last stage of the Main Cycle is to write down a date, who you need for help, and any supporting notes that will help you take the action item.
You can then use your action plan to carry out the plan and track progress.
Main Cycle - Conclusion
That's the whole Main Cycle.
And again, you're going to get a lot of the value, and know whether you want to continue, by just doing the first two stages:
So, give it a try!
Exactly what to do to Map Your Job
To map your job, look at each of the map images and tables above, and do those steps with your job at the content. There's nothing more to it!
And there are lots more instructions on how to use the method, both for mapping your job, and for mapping, evaluating and action planning any process.
They start with the next section, and continue in the "More Self-Training" below.
Quick Tips for Mapping Your Job
Explanations and guidelines for drawing maps
The blank map format
Below is the general format that you will use in your hand drawn maps. Please feel free to copy this, print it and use it. It provides a template for creating your hand drawn maps.
Hand drawn maps may look like this
This is fine; it will do the job!
Things to avoid in hand drawn maps
A simple way to divide up a page for in preparation for adding map parts
Different Heights of the "Side Parts"
In actual practice, maps do not always look like this, with the side parts all being the same height.
They often look like the diagram below, with some side parts being taller than others, to allow more flows to connect to them.
The ActionMap Toolkit software takes care of that automatically.
When you are starting with hand drawn maps, there are several ways to work with this, including those shown here:
Or you can draw a more free-form format, like this:
- This is because ActionMap diagrams are variations of "data flow diagrams". As long as the arrows are correct, the diagrams will make sense.
Plan to redraw your map: first map = first draft of a document
Realistically you should plan to redraw your initial map to make it easier to read and work with. Think of your first drawing as a "first draft" or even a "sketch outline" of an important document.
- After all, this is your job satisfaction you are working on, so it IS and important document.
Using multiple maps for more detail
Any subprocess on a map can be used as the starting point for a full map. This allows you to create a high level map first, and then additional maps to show more detail.
This approach can be extended to capture as much detail as you might need.
Adding more detail to the map
Sequence numbers can be used to show more detail on the sequence of transactions.
Codes can be used to show how transactions connect to different sub-processes and boundaries.
Examples of this are provided in the "More training" section below.
Please note though that in almost all cases in which ActionMap has been used with clients, these details have not been called for or needed.
■ In certain situations, including detailed design and specification, these details are very important. In these situations it is often useful to take the information gained from the ActionMap diagram and move it to another type of diagram or document.
■ In other cases, adding these details can be distracting from the view of the major relationships and overall workload described on the map, and from going forward to capture evaluations.
Summary - no "perfect" map
The goal is not to draw a "perfect" map. The goal is to describe your job accurately, and to use the map to prompt you to think of evaluations.
The evaluations provide the direction and motivation for change, by helping you think of proposed changes. The map helps you turn the proposed changed into realistic action items.
More map detail can always be captured if needed. And other process mapping, planning and analysis formats can be used at any time as well, including conventional flow charts.
Tips for capturing evaluations
This diagram shows a convenient way to divide a piece of paper for capturing evaluations. However, you can capture evaluations in any way that works for you.
Where to find more detailed self-training
Additional self-training instructions can be found starting at the following help articles.
The free training approach is to use the training for the software to learn how to use the method on other media: paper, flipcharts, whiteboard and office automation tools like PowerPoint and Excel.
Suggested Next Pages
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