How to draw a process that loops through a number of steps until completed

August 30th, 2006 (kb#98)

When creating process maps within Process Navigator there will often be processes that involve some sort of review with the potential for feedback into an earlier stage of the process. This stage of the process is a loop and it is possible that this loop may be repeated a number of times but at some point there will be no further feedback and the loop will end.

e.g. A draft report is produced and this is reviewed by the Department Manager who sends through initial comments. The report is redrafted and again submitted for approval and the Manager has a few further comments so once again a draft report is produced and this time it is approved and can progress to the next stage of the process. The process map for this process would be:

If the feedback goes to an earlier process map rather than an activity on the current map then the same principle applies. The feedback deliverable simply becomes an additional input to the activity on an earlier map.

Alternatively, you have these options:

  1. No loop back on the map, but a text annotation that the process repeats until it is complete.
  2. A decision point at the end of the series of steps representing the loop termination condition. If this is true, one branch moves onto the next process, if it is false, the other branch connects back into the beginning of the series of steps.

For various reasons, we tend to favour the first option, but it is user choice.