Finding Your Way

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I love maps, always have – whether it’s an Ordnance Survey, A to Z or the dynamic Google. Apart from being interested in places and obsessed with travelling the road network with as little disruption as possible, they can tell you so much more. Like how hard it will be to walk or cycle up a path by gauging the painstakingly drawn contour lines and also the attention to detail that enables you to visualise and plan your way around any obstacles that may be on your route.

According to Wikipedia “A map is a symbolic depiction emphasising relationships between elements of some space, such as objects, regions, or themes”

When you are stuck in a process, or have a problem and can’t see a way out, then creating a map is one of the best ways to help you plan where you want to be. A map can show you how you are going to get there, it can also highlight any issues or obstacles on the way to help you to understand the relationships between the “elements”.

I’ve used many types of maps in process improvement over the last few years and when you have a problem or lack of data, then they are in my opinion the best way to start. Whether it is complex pathways or simple logistical or organisational issues, I’ve always found that you can start to visualise where you currently are and you always get a clear idea of which direction you are best to travel on.

From simply sitting down with a pen and paper to draw out the steps or facilitating multi-disciplinary teams to develop more complex Value stream or Rummler – Brache (swim-lane) maps, if you are lost a map is the best place to start to find your way.


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