Detail Process Charting:
Speaking the Language of Process

How To Prepare Detailed Maps

This book is a must-have for all process improvement analysts...
"Much has been written about charting and business systems analysis, but I have not seen anything as comprehensive and clear as Ben Graham’s book. Writing in simple, easy-to-follow language with plentiful illustrations and practical examples, this book takes the reader through the full spectrum of the charting process from initial analysis to managing charting libraries. This book is a must-have for all process improvement analysts and managers wanting to improve their organizational efficiency."
Robert Barnett, Managing Director, Robert Barnett and Associates Pty. Ltd.


Any process, however convoluted, disorganized, and complicated, can be broken down and interpreted with a process chart. The method for accomplishing this isn’t new. In fact, the method has been producing outstanding results with manufacturing processes for nearly a century and with information processes for more than 50 years!

This book is written for people in all levels in all organizations who wish to gain stronger control of their work environment. It revisits the work simplification approach to process improvement that dominated the work improvement arena for a good part of the twentieth century, with particular attention to the principal tool for information process improvement—the detail process chart. The method described in these pages offers the reader a trained set of eyes, a different (not new) way to look at work.

It is not intended that the methods of work simplification be applied by individuals at their workstations, but rather by workgroups, teams of people involved in different parts of the work processes working together to improve the work they share. In fact, the more people that get involved in work simplification, the more opportunities for improvement will arise. Typically, the more documents change hands, the more opportunities for improvement there will be.

There are many arguments as to who should be involved in improvement work and what kind of solutions to look for—whether to use outside help or internal resources, whether to apply radical solutions or incremental solutions, whether improvement efforts should be top-down or bottom-up. The methodology described in these pages suggests that when these “either–or” arguments force a choice between one option or the other, they are futile. All of those options have their place, and the key is to know when. The work simplification approach first and foremost taps into the process-specific experiences of the people who do the work but also calls upon external resources for technology-specific expertise and alternative perspectives. The process itself determines the potential scope of the solution. Although solutions can be radical, there is no place for a “clean-slate” approach that ignores the current process and the experience of the people who do the work! Finally, it organizes both top-down and bottom-up participation!

The vision must come from the top. Executives must make it clear what they expect to achieve. They must provide direction and show that they are committed. Direction encourages the working people to work together with shared objectives as they apply their best judgment in improving the work that they do. It solidly places the responsibility for the completion and improvement of the work with the people who do it. Commitment comes two ways—with an assurance that there will be no loss of employment as a result of process improvement and with a promise to support the recommendations made by the improvement teams. This doesn’t necessarily mean 100 percent acceptance (although upfront approval is a great goal to shoot for as employee teams demonstrate their effectiveness and earn the confidence of management), but it does mean approval of all recommendations that management is not strongly (and validly) opposed to.

Improvements come from the people closest to the work, the ones who live it and breathe it day in and day out—the people who do the work. When the operating people are given the opportunity to participate in an improvement process, their ingenuity is transformed from simply doing the work to improving the way they do it. Benefits include reduced resistance, improved morale, and better solutions! Instead of using creativity to thwart changes that are thrust upon them, they develop creative solutions that they are pleased with and proud to live with.

The methodology presented in these pages is not offered as a panacea. It is simply a powerful, straightforward, proven tool designed specifically for displaying facts about process and taking advantage of the insights that these displays provide. It has been used for more than half a century in organizations large and small, in government and industry. Its roots go back to the earliest tools devoted to the study of information processes (paperwork simplification); it evolved directly from the tools of work simplification that had, by that time, been used and proven in manufacturing for nearly half a century.
Detail Process Charting is an easy-to-read book that explains the fundamentals of detailed process mapping. It includes over 100 illustrations.
The Amazing Oversight
A collection of classic essays by the pioneers of work improvement... AND it's available through Amazon for just a few dollars!
The Amazing Oversight

Questions? send me a noteBen B Graham
send me a noteBen B Graham

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