Process Mapping is a kind of structural analysis or an analytical technique that allows researching and examining a process flow or cycle by distinguishing how the process is actually done from how it should be done. Mapping meaning analyzing a process to depict main steps, information flows, interrelationships, and measures on a large sheet of paper or on a graph (aka 'process map'), with different colors, arrows and geometric shapes.
Process mapping involves use of hierarchical analysis to identify inputs, outputs and resources of a process and to figure out how these pieces of data are linked to each other and what sequence of activities is utilized. This practice uses various data gathering techniques (brainstorming, focus groups, surveys, interviews, system analysis, observations etc.) to create a visual projection of process flow and understand what makes the process fail or success.
The greatest advantage of using process mapping is that this technique allows reaching process optimization through understanding the strengths and weaknesses within existing processes, detecting performance bottlenecks, and removing errors and issues.