Depending on the type of process, a Six Sigma process map may be created using direct input from the individuals who participate in the process, by an observer who monitors and records information about the process, or a combination of the two. The most important aspect of this task it that the goal is to create a map of the existing process, good, bad or ugly. This is not the time to incorporate ideas for what can be done differently. Remember that the start and stop points of the process under study should have been determined as part of the Define phase, so the process mapping effort during Measure should have those same delimiters.
For many processes, tracking cycle time provides valuable information, especially when the problem being addressed is related to delays and process duration. If it is relatively simple to obtain basic data on the process time for key steps, that can be helpful at this stage. Also important is capturing any variation in the way the process is performed, for instance at different times, by different groups, or in special situations. Do not assume that the process is always performed exactly the same way.
Typically an activity flowchart is used to create a visual depiction of the process. Individual steps are shown in order, with decision points and feedback loops as needed, to describe what occurs. Also of benefit for many projects is a deployment flowchart, which specifically illustrates who is performing each step. An opportunity flowchart can be used to highlight steps that are truly necessary and add value to the outcome, and to separate them from steps that represent waste and inefficiency.
Once the process map has been compiled, the project team will review it to glean information about potential contributors to problems and inefficiencies. The team should watch for evidence of missing steps, extra steps, delays and bottlenecks, variation in how certain steps are performed, and anything else that could lead to defects, inefficiency and problems.