At the top of the pyramid we have the main Business Group. This is followed by any sub-group if applicable. Next comes all the main processes that are used by that group. Various sub-processes for each of the main processes are identified in the next tier and finally at the very bottom of the pyramid, we have various process steps.
Such a Process Pyramid is a quick but comprehensive visual representation of the all the constituent process flows. This makes it much easier for those who are viewing it to easily understand and contribute in a meaningful way during process mapping workshops. It also helps to identify process areas where there are repetitions, overlaps, gaps and breaks between work conducted by the same team as well as by other teams within that Division.
To explain this concept, let’s take an example of Recruitment division within Human Resources. Usually HR-IS (Human Resources- Information Services) within a company governs all technology related HR solutions. Since in this example we are considering HR- Recruitment Solution, for our Process Pyramid, we will have HRIS at the very top followed by Recruitment Solutions.
In the next tier, we will list out all the main processes that would be conducted by the Recruiting team- this includes Applicant processing, Managing applicant data, Pre-employment & other verification etc. In the sub-processes tier- we will list out all the sub-processes that happen under each main process.
It is important to note that there may not always be a one-to-one relationship between sub-processes and main-processes. It is very much possible that one sub-process is seen in several main processes. During the initial process mapping session- noting down such details in a process pyramid will help to highlight over-laps and other associations.
If used correctly, Process Pyramid can truly help to highlight areas of gaps and inefficiencies. These can then act as main gateways to formulate methods to improve process effectiveness. Process Pyramids are definitely not a substitute for comprehensive Process Architecture Maps- they are one of the key steps, which when conducted correctly, can help to provide a good overview.
Process Pyramids are most helpful when Organizations do not want to spend a whole lot of time, resource or money to build comprehensive workflow maps, but want to benefit from over-all high level understanding of how their Divisions work within themselves and with the rest of the Organization. It also comes in handy when technology tool needs to be selected for a Division where proper process-understanding is not available.
Refer Technology Tool Selection to understand how process architecture plays a key role in application-tool selection.