How to Create an As-Is Process Flow

By Dennis Bortolus

An As-Is Process Flow documents how a business process is performed currently in your organization. Typically an As-Is Process Flow is done to capture procedures and information that flow from step to step so that they can be analyzed and improved upon when you build a To-Be Process.

Things You'll Need

  • Copy of all documents and forms used in the business process being analyzed
  • List of all parties involved in the execution of the process

Step 1

Define the business process you want to analyze. It must be a complete business transaction with a start and finish, with inputs and outputs, and result in satisfying a business need. Example: "Hire Employee" is a complete process, whereas "Fill out hire form" is a step within the process, but it does not make sense if done alone.

Step 2

Identify roles within the process. A role is a part that a person or group of people play in the process. The roles should be labeled with the type of action they take, not their jobs or department titles. A person who approves an employee's time card should be called "Time Approver."

Step 3

Identify process steps needed to complete the transaction. Capture each detailed step that adds value to the process, even if that value is only to review and ensure previous steps have been done correctly.

Step 4

Identify information passed from step to step within the process. Some steps create information to be used by subsequent steps.

Step 5

Identify decision points within the process that could change direction or require additional steps. Define the data needed to make the decision and account for all of the possible outcomes.

Step 6

Document the process flow by creating a diagram showing each step, the role that performs the step, and information flowing from step to step. Number each step. Define the direction of information by using arrows going from each step to the next. A "Cross-Functional" flow charting style works best to identify roles and flow of information between people as well as process steps. In the text portion of the document describe each step in detail.

Tips & Warnings

  • Capture every detail possible on both the steps and the data elements being passed from each step to another.
  • Include as many participants in the process as possible when doing your analysis.
  • Use flow charting tools such as Visio to help illustrate process steps.
  • Don't get too bogged down in diagramming and documenting the As-Is Process Flows. You are after completeness not perfection. Remember that these are the procedures you are looking to improve or replace.