Process Mapping, Process Modeling, or BOTH?

When you first start out on your process improvement journey, you might feel like everyone around you is speaking a completely different language, and they are. The reason being, particularly on the themes of Process Mapping or Process Modeling, is that they are specialist approaches, which despite their niche factors, are of critical importance. Here, we give you a quick no-nonsense beginners guide of what these tools are.


Process Mapping

This involves drawing out all the activities involved in a business process, step-by-step, so that it’s entirely clear what is involved at any stage of a given business process. Business process maps are a useful baseline to help establish the key process steps and identify areas for improvement and are seen as the first step in any effort to improve and redesign processes. Until you know what you’re doing, it’s very hard to change it.

Process Modeling

This is the creation of a graphical description of a business process so that current processes can be analyzed and improved to business operations. In many organizations, the model itself is the end product that communicates the business process amongst stakeholders; however, significant benefits can be realized by moving beyond process modeling to process automation.

Modeling brings processes to life and makes them really work for your team, through links, strategy, collaboration and metadata. A model can assist your organization to build in the right metrics for performance and compliance.


There are a number of articles circulating that process mapping and process modeling are two very separate approaches. This is true to an extent, as they are separate tools; however, it is wrong to polarize them as an either or choice, as they are both aligned.

Many will argue that both tools are used to achieve the same objective and, like all tools, the situation dictates which one may work better. But an overarching theme is that process mapping is a great visualized start and an essential step in identifying the process; modeling is another step applied to create actionable metrics for change.

Ultimately, you should be looking into both instruments. It’s always great to have a whole series of tools and techniques to help you drive your organization forwards on your path to excellence.