The 4 Levels of Process Mapping

Have you ever heard to map your process at the 5,000 foot view or the 50,000 foot view? Many times one of the first things we learn about process mapping is that there are different levels of abstraction, or different amounts of detail in process maps.

From a conceptual standpoint, that makes sense – in some views of the process we want extremely detailed, step-by-step instructions. In other views, we may only want to see the “big picture.”

Although the concept makes sense, it really only gives us a general sense of direction – more or less detail. But how much detail? Can we find a specific set of instructions for different views of the process.

I believe there are four views of the process:
1. The Enterprise or Ecosystem view – how does this process fit into the entire enterprise and how the enterprise delivers value.

Perhaps the best model to show how this process fits into the enterprise as a whole is the Business Model Canvas:

2. The Management view – what are the major areas where work-in-process inventory may be held by the process? What are the major flows of data, information or product through the process?
3. The Process Level – this level contains the process steps. The best model to show this level is the Process Innovation Canvas:


4. The Task Level – this level contains the exact, step by step instructions to perform each task (push this button, staple this together, send an email to so and so).

I hope this explanation of the Four Levels of Process Mapping helps your mapping efforts.