19. Process Map

Have you process mapped your service as a team?

Have you done a process map to include the steps that occur even before the referral letter lands on your doorstep?

How long does it take from the time the referral letter arrives to the family being asked to an appointment?

How many steps are there between the letter arriving and the family being seen?

Have you process mapped each part of your service?

Have you encountered bottlenecks and do you understand why they are there? See Demand and Capacity on the left hand menu bar for an explanation of bottlenecks.

Really understand what you do


A process map is the description of the steps a user takes in your service- where do they wait? What happens to them at each step? Where are the bottlenecks? Why are there bottlenecks? Looking in detail at what you do can be surprising. Users may have to go through a huge number of processes before they even get to the clinician, many of which add no value to them. Drawing a Process Map helps you analyse the problem and minimises risk associated with changing systems. The problem may not be as you first thought! Process Mapping is the first step towards understanding how to improve your Flow. The more steps you have in your process map the more likely there are to be delays and errors. Added Bonus: Completing it as a team ensures everyone understands and facilitates change management.

Ideas for Action

  • Process map your systems.
  • Look for bottlenecks, duplicate processes, non value added steps and batching.
  • Aim to reduce steps and then try the new system.
  • Review as a team.

Remember MMR: Map, Measure, Redesign. This item will also help you with High Impact Change number 9 Flow Management


21. Process Map from a User's Viewpoint

When you process map do you think explicitly about the user experience?

Have you process mapped the steps that occur from the point the family think they need to see someone, to the letter arriving at CAMHS?

Is the wait between steps equal or can a user be seen quickly initially but then have a long wait for any help?

What would a family think about what you do?


Creates a team culture of enquiry, evidenced based services and change. Remember that users go through a whole set of steps before you even get the referral letter…

Ideas for Action

  • Don’t accept the status quo. It may be valid, but may not be.
  • Put yourself in a users shoes. What would you make of your processes?
  • Process map to include the steps before the referral letter arrives at CAMHS


22. Involve users in process mapping

Have you asked users to process map with you?

Have you process mapped your service with partner agencies?

Have you process mapped the user steps across all partner agencies e.g. for a child who may have autism, what steps does the user take?

Where are the bottlenecks, the duplicate steps, the parallel processes?

Ask users about what it is REALLY like!


It is frighteningly easy to design services around our needs and not that of the family. Be really brave and ask young people and parents to help you. The non-added value steps will become incredibly clear. Ask your partner agencies to join in. For the really adventurous, process map with partner agencies across all systems- this is the ultimate goal to really change the macro system for the benefit of users. Added Bonus: this can be one of the easiest ways to begin to involve users in the design of your service.

Ideas for Action

  • Consult with users over process maps or proposed redesign changes.
  • Ensure every part of your system adds value to the family’s experience.