Help Manual


Sigma Magic Help Version 15

Process Map


Process Map tool can be used to pictorially explain the current or future way of working using a standard set of symbols. The objective of drawing a map is to clearly understand the current state of the process to depict the future state of any process. The process mapping activity should usually be a cross-functional exercise involving the entire team since each team member can provide a perspective on what "really" happens in the process. Lots of times, the process at which it was designed/intended is very different from the process that occurs in the field. Once a clear map of the process is created, this can be an important input to understand its limitations and also generate ideas on how to further improve the process. A process map can be used to communicate the way of working to all stakeholders. It can help level set the state of knowledge within the improvement team and generate buy-in for improvement opportunities. On a typical improvement project, the process mapping activity is undertaken two times. At the beginning of a project to understand the current way of working and at the end of the project to describe the future way of working.

There are different types of process maps that can be created. This tool can be used to develop two types of maps: a cross-functional map which shows the interaction between the departments or functions that perform the different steps of the process and a flowchart.

This tool can be added to your active workbook by clicking on Project and then selecting Mapping Tools > Process Map.


Click on the Analysis Setup button to open the menu options for this tool.


A sample screenshot of the setup menu is shown below.
Num Columns: Specify the number of columns you want to display on the process map. You can select between 5 and 100 columns. Note that the columns not displayed are hidden and are not deleted from the worksheet. You can go back and change this setting at any time to unhide the hidden columns if you need more working space to create the map.
Col Width: Specify the width of the cells on the worksheet. This will resize the columns in your work area. You can increase the width to create larger size symbols or smaller cells to reduce the size of the symbols on your worksheet. Note that worksheet symbols will change size only when added to the worksheet for the first time and when you select the checkbox for Scale.
Map Type: Specify the type of map you want to create. The available options are:
Cross-functional Map (V)Create a cross-functional map with vertical departments.
Cross-functional Map (H)Create a cross-functional map with horizontal departments.
FlowchartCreate a flowchart.
Mapping Symbols: Specify the type of symbols you would like to use for the process mapping. The available options are:
BasicBasic symbols uses the bare minimum number of symbols to create a process map to keep it simple and easy for the users to understand the map.
StandardUse the standard set of symbols to create the process map.
OperationsUse the operations symbols to create the process map. The operations symbols are typically used to identify the major category of losses within the process map.
View Example: Click on this button to open the example file. You can view the example to get an idea of how to fill out this tool or you can use the example as a starting point and modify it to meet your project needs.
Help Button: Click on this button to open the help file on this topic.
Cancel Button: Click on this button to exit without saving any changes.
OK Button: Click on this button to save changes and update your analysis results.


A sample screenshot of the options menu is shown below.
inputs 2
Checkbox: Specify what checks should be performed on the process map when you click on Compute Outputs. The following checks are available:
Start ElementCheck if the process map uses a start element. If this checkbox is selected, the software will expect to find a start element in the process map. A start element is expected to have no input and one output.
Process ElementCheck the process map if each process element has at least one input and one output.
Data ElementCheck the data elements that are used in a process map to ensure that each data element has no input and at least one output connection.
End ElementCheck the process map for an end element. An end element should have at least one input and no outputs.
Decision ElementCheck the process map for all decision elements. A decision element is expected to have at least one input and at least two outputs.
Data Processing ElementCheck the process map for all data processing elements. A data processing element is expected to have at least one input and no outputs.
Dangling ArrowsCheck the process map to make sure all arrows are connected at both ends.
Input ConnectionsCheck the process map to make sure all input connections have no inputs and at least one output.
Information StorageCheck the process map to make sure all information storage elements have at least one inputs and no outputs.


When the tool is opened, the main menu at the top may change to a task-specific menu as shown below. If this menu does not open, click on the F4 button or the small arrow at the bottom right portion of your menu group to open this menu bar. If you select the Standard Shapes for the symbols, the following task menu bar is displayed: vsm task menu If you select the Basic Shapes for the symbols, the following task menu bar is displayed: vsm task menu If you select the Operations Shapes for the symbols, the following task menu bar is displayed: vsm task menu

Add Symbols

After you define the settings, the next step is to create your process map using the symbols shown on the Task Menu bar. Click on the symbol you are interested in and then move your mouse to the location where you want to insert the symbol and then click on the left mouse button to place the symbol at the location. If you have chosen the Center checkbox, then the symbols will be placed in the center of the work cell. If you have chosen the Scale checkbox, then the symbol will be scaled to the size of the work cell you have selected. Finally, if you have chosen the Join checkbox, then the symbol after placement will automatically be connected with the previously added symbol on the worksheet.

After a symbol is added to the worksheet, you can click on the shape and edit any text on the shape as required or you can format the shape as required using standard Excel functionality. Repeat this process until your entire map has been created.

To join the different portions of the process map, you can click on the Straight Arrow or the Elbow Arrow connectors. If you have selected the Join option to connect the icons, the system will try to auto-connect it for you. However, if you are not happy with the connections, you may need to edit the connections and change them as required. Make sure that the arrow connections are firmly connected to the symbol otherwise you may get an error on verification. Usually, there is a green dot if the arrow is connected to the symbol when you click on the connector.

After creating the map, you may want to add any data to your map. To add data to your map, click on the Data button and then click on the shape for which you want to add the data. You can specify data in the following areas: Safety, Quality, Delivery (Time), Cost, and Morale. For example, if quality is important for your process, you may choose to display quality-related information on the map. For each critical step in the process, you can show for example % rework, % scrap, % right the first time, etc. A sample data dialog box is shown below. If you select the checkbox next to the data field, these fields are displayed on the process map.

pm data box
Checkbox: Click this checkbox if you want this data to appear in the data box below the process element. If this checkbox is not selected, then the information is stored in the system but not displayed to the user.
Description: Save data for the process element in these boxes. There are different boxes provided for different areas. The following options are available:
SafetyDocument any safety related aspects for this element.
QualityDocument any quality related aspects for this element such as defect rates, first time right, rework info, cost of quality etc.
DeliveryDocument any delivery related metrics here such as on-time delivery percentage, lead-time for this step, cycle time etc.
CostDocument any cost related metrics for this element in this textbox, such as cost of this particular step in the process.
MoraleDocument any people related issues such as employee morale that can be related to each element in this location.
Finally, verify the map with your team to ensure that you have accurately captured the process map.


If you click on the Checklist button, you will see the following dialog box. Checklist The checklist contains a few pointers on things you need to pay particular attention to while performing this analysis. The checklist has been derived from experience working on past projects. Not all the checklist items need to apply to you. However, you should carefully review the checklist and apply any recommendations that make sense for your project. Make sure to read each checklist item and mark it as completed after you have read and taken actions as appropriate for your project.


If you click on the Verify button, the software will perform some checks on the data you have entered. A sample screenshot of the dialog box is shown in the figure below. Verify The objective of this analysis as well as any checks that are performed is listed in this dialog box. For example, the software may check if you have correctly specified the input options and entered the required data on the worksheet. The results of the analysis checks are listed on the right. If the checks are passed, then they are shown as a green-colored checkmark. If the verification checks fail, then they are shown as a red-colored cross. If the verification checks result in a warning, they are shown in the orange color exclamation mark and finally, any checks that are required to be performed by the user are shown as blue info icons.


Click on Compute Outputs to update the output calculations. The software will verify if you have created the map correctly and highlight any errors. A sample screenshot of the worksheet is shown below. Process Map Example


Here are a few pointers regarding this analysis:
  • You can map detailed processes with just a few icons. Use the basic shapes if you only want to use a bare minimum set of symbols to keep the process map simple and easy to understand. Use the standard set of symbols for a more detailed process map.
  • You are free to insert other shapes from the Excel library to this process map as needed. However, do note that some functionality such as adding/defining data may be limited if you use your shapes. It is recommended that you use the Copy and Paste functionality available on the task menu bar to copy and paste items onto your worksheet.
  • Currently, no analysis is performed on the process maps other than to check if the map has been created correctly. However, you can add data to the different elements of the process map to quantify the process map.


Following examples can be found in the Examples folder.
  • Create a process map of the credit approval process. (Process Map 1.xlsm).