When to Use Cross-functional Process Maps (or Swim Lanes)

Power of BPI

Have you ever wondered when to use a cross-functional process map? Or, wondered what one is?

These maps consist of cross-functional bands, or rows/columns, used to show the functions or departments involved in a business process. The cross-functional bands can represent as many functions as required. Cross-functional process maps can have two types of bands: the more common horizontal band (or row) or the vertical band (or column). When using this style, include a new functional band for each department or function involved in the process, label each band with the function’s name, and place activities in the appropriate bands depending on the function or area responsible for the activity.

You may hear this type of process map called a swim lane because of the similarity with Olympic-style swimming pools that consist of eight lanes each 8.2 feet wide. Using a cross-functional process map makes it easy to see when…

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