Top-Down Activity Map

Top-Down Activity Map

You’ve identified a process in your business that needs improvement. Where do you start? How much of the total process do you improve? Who should participate in the process improvement project?

OptiComp’s Top-Down Activity Map provides a visual illustration of a business process that is ready for improvement.

It allows you to list major phases of a process and then break those into smaller tasks and activities, resulting in a full visual overview of the process, which can then be analyzed so you can determine where improvements should be made.

Instructions for Using the Top-Down Activity Map

  1. Select the start and end points for the process. If the process is large or complex, select a reasonable subset of the total process to improve.
  2. Name the process. The name provides a label that everyone can use during discussion and analysis to ensure clear communication. I recommend a verb-noun naming convention; for example, Create Workflow; Enter an Order, etc.
  3. List customers and outputs. Outputs are information, products, or services produced by the process. Customers receive output from the process. Customers can be internal or outside the business. This list is located on the far right of the Top-Down Activity Map.
  4. List suppliers to the process and inputs. Inputs are information, products, or services that are entered into the process. Suppliers provide input to the process. Depending on the starting point of the process, suppliers may be external or within the business. This list is located on the far left of the Top-Down Activity Map.
  5. Identify major phases of the process. Starting at the end of the process, note the last thing that happens before the outputs reach the customer. Usually, the last step is some form of delivery. Continuing backward from the last step, what are four to five other major steps in the process?
  6. List major activities in order of occurrence. Major phases tend to occur in chronological order, but there is usually overlap between them. List the phases from left to right—the goal is to group activities into similar categories (or phases).
  7. Break major activities into smaller activities.

To use the Top-Down Activity Map for process improvement, assemble a team of people involved in the process. Customers, suppliers, and those who perform the work in each of the major activities are now readily identified.

View a Sample

To get started, take a look at our sample Top-Down Activity Map and the accompanying blog post, titled “Top-Down Activity Map: The Starting Point for Business Process Improvement.”

Click the download button below to get a free Top-Down Activity Map template that you can use to launch your next business process improvement project.

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