To deal with complex processes, we need to break them into smaller, more manageable pieces. For example, it isn’t possible to map all of the work you perform in a single day – from morning to evening – on a single page. However, upon closer examination, it is apparent that a day actually consists of multiple segments, which we can identify and describe. Typical segments of a day might include: Commuting to Work, Handling Email, Managing Projects, Working on a Project, Managing Customers and the like.
Just as with the single day example above, it is often convenient to break complex processes into more manageable segments. Ideally, each segment will illustrate how to get from start to finish and fit onto a single TaskMap drawing page.
One suggestion for subdividing complex processes is to break the process into Stages and Phases.
Stages and Phases
A Stage is a higher-level portion of a process, while Phases are sets of related tasks within a Stage. For example, the names of the Stage and Phases for a sales process might be:
Within a TaskMap file there may be multiple drawing pages that represent:
- one Stage with multiple Phases;
- multiple Stages with no Phases;
- multiple Stages, each of which includes multiple Phases.
For consistency and easy identification, drawing page names should identify the stage and phase and also include the character or characters to be used as the page identifier.
The following naming convention has proven successful:
XX – Stage-Phase
- XX is a character or characters representing the sequence of this page within in the overall process. The page character(s) are used as the alphabetic portion of the Task ID for each task on that page. (Refer to Naming TaskMap Drawing Pages)
- Stage the name of the stage
- Phase the name of the phase
For example, the stages and phases listed above for the sales example might result in the following drawing page names:
- A – Sales-Prospect
- B – Sales-Qualify
- C – Sales-Demonstrate
- D – Sales-Propose
- E – Sales-Close
The following is a sample of the drawing page names illustrating stage and phase names.
NOTE: Do not use any of the following characters in a TaskMap page name
/ ? & < >
Hint: You don’t need to use the specific terminology of stage and phase if you prefer another pair of terms to convey the same concepts.
See Naming TaskMap Drawing Pages for information about naming TaskMap drawing pages.
Hint: For complex processes it is valuable to determine the Stages, Phases and the first character(s) of the Task ID before the processes are documented. Once the Stages and Phases are defined they provide an outline and an aid for prioritizing the work that needs to be completed.
When you are documenting complex processes, it may also be helpful to refer to Multi-level Process Maps as a way to define higher- and lower-level views of process details.