Common Process Mapping Symbols

By Deborah Hopen

Process maps show the sequence of steps from the beginning to the end of a process, making it easier to get an overall look at the process being studied. Process maps are composed of lines and specifically defined symbols that comprise a universally accepted mapping framework. The most common symbols and their descriptions are shown below. Visit “The Path to Better Results: Process Maps” for how-to information on creating process maps and swim lane diagrams.

Deborah Hopen has over 40 years of experience in total quality management, and has served as a senior executive with both Fortune and Inc. 500 companies. She is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality and is the editor of ASQ’s Journal for Quality and Participation.