Process Mapping Roles & Responsibilities

AJC loves facilitating Process Mapping sessions with cross-functional teams! There are distinct roles involved in Process Mapping which are not always intuitive. Below we describe the roles involved in a team Mapping exercise, as well the responsibilities each role plays.  These R&Rs can be applied to Value Stream Mapping and many other types of facilitated session.

Facilitation Team

Primary Role: to Objectively lead the team’s mapping work.  The Facilitation team or may not be part of the organization (i.e. external consultants are often used for these roles).  This team will also identify pre-work, typically limited to understanding the “bookends” of the process (start/finish), bringing in “artifacts” of the process (forms requiring rework, customer complaints or kudos, etc.), or displaying metrics for any data collected within or on the process currently. Bear in mind the workload of the mapping team, however; it is better to jump in and get started than hold up improvement with gating “homework.”

Facilitators, whether internal or external, must set aside personal feelings or preferences from the process. Internal Facilitators must focus on the process without concern for what their “manager” might prefer, which may mean that any employee Facilitator not work on a process that his or her manager participates in, if the manager has strong feelings on how things “should” happen.

Scribes should be organized and present at all sessions; it is possible to facilitate without a scribe, though not recommended due to the volume of comments and ideas that come up throughout Mapping sessions that must be recorded for the benefit of the overall improvement effort.


  • Lead session
  • Draw team out to achieve results, get all perspectives
  • Maintain and promote objectivity
  • Encourage discussion about process and systems, ensure no “finger-pointing”
  • Manage time
  • Keep the team on track
  • Call out when items should be moved to “Parking Lot” (i.e. call “Rat hole”) when needed


  • Document all ideas / Parking Lot
    • This can be done both visually and electronically for dynamic sorting/recall of information throughout the session, as well as to minimize later documentation which may both delay results and lose meaning as time goes by
  • Help manage time
  • Clarify redundancies

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs):

Primary Role: Understand and be able to articulate the current state and value-add requirements and actively participate in the Process Mapping.  SMEs these are typically owners and stakeholders for the process who actually perform the work.  It is recommended that at least one representative of each portion of the work being completed in the overall process be a part of the Process Mapping session.  Typically, managers will join the beginning of a Mapping session to voice their support for the process and encourage open dialogue.  After that, manager participation can sometimes be an impediment to the process mapping effort, and the amount of time that managers remain in the sessions must take into consideration these nuances.

One consideration for this group is that there are often “nay-sayers” to various aspects of change.  These people may have a great influence over their peers, even without direct reporting lines.  For that reason, choose participants wisely.  It is often better to bring in the skeptical yet influential team members and acknowledge their concerns as they participate in the improved state than to try to convince them to  get on board with changes for which they had no say in creating.

This group is responsible for:

  • Active participation
  • Technical expertise
  • Commit to using the new process
  • Commit to train others on new processes
  • Pledge to continuous improvement

Leadership Team

The Leadership team of the organization sponsors the Process Mapping work, though typically does not participate in the session actively. It is advisable for them to join the beginning of the first day to vocalize their support and encourage the Subject Matter Expert group to actively participate in the mapping sessions. Sometimes leaders or managers will have specific roles to play in the processes being mapped, or will wish to learn more about the process, and in these cases they may stay and even participate in the sessions.  If they do choose to participate, however, they must be aware of the weight their opinions carry, and may consider remaining largely silent in the sessions because of this.

Expectations of this role are to:

  • Provides Leadership
  • Commits to using the new process
  • Ensure participation at a level that supports the team’s creativity, and does not suppress articulation of honest feedback

For additional information on how AJC runs Process Mapping sessions, refer to “A Crash Course in Process Mapping.”