Scriptapedia/Process Mapping

Process Mapping

w:SmartArt flowchart in PowerPoint

This script is used to plan and develop a shared understanding of the overall group model building process, identify the number of sessions, and select which and how many people will be involved in each session. This script is used at the start of GMB planning with the modeling team and also establishes the inputs and outputs for sessions.


Best practices

Primary nature of group task



Preparation time: 10 minutes

Time required during session: 45 minutes

Follow-up time: 10 minutes


  1. Drawing program (e.g., Visio, PowerPoint, iDraw)
  2. Blank or draft process map with basic phases of project
  3. Data projector



Example of a GMB process map


  • GMB process map
  • Descriptions of modeling team and participants for each session


  • Facilitator familiar with group model building who can introduce scripts, share sample agendas, and fulfill different roles in GMB
  • Recorder who is tracking categories of participants and facilitators during the discussion, and then confirming this list with participants at the end
  • Recorder who is taking process notes on the planning session


  1. The facilitator introduces a blank process map.
  2. The facilitator explains the criteria for selecting stakeholder tracks.
    • The criteria for identifying a stakeholder group or track for a group model building session are primarily based on who should be in the room developing a particular model. To choose this, consider what kind of conversation or dialogue participants should be having, or to whom the model should be attributed. For example, is it important to elicit divergent views on a subject where people might have different experiences? Is it important to be able to say that the model was developed by consumers or some other stakeholder group?
  3. Introduce the core modeling team as the first stakeholder track and then introduce the different phases of modeling.
  4. Next, identify one stakeholder track and then begin to identify some sessions. As the sessions are discussed, identify who is in the session in terms of facilitators and participants.
  5. Continue to add and change sessions during the discussion with periodic checks to confirm the state of the process map.
    • Each session with the same agenda should have the same numerical prefix and be distinguished with a letter suffix (e.g., 6A, 6B, etc. would all indicate multiple sessions using the same agenda; 7, 8, 9, etc. would indicate multiple sessions with different agendas).
  6. Identify inputs or outputs that might be needed in the session.
  7. Near the end of the session, the recorder keeping track of descriptions of facilitators and participants starts a review by going through each numbered session. As the recorder lists the participants and facilitation team for the session, the facilitator with expertise in GMB gestures to that particular session.

Evaluation Criteria:

  • There is general agreement and buy-in on the overall plan for group model building among the core modeling team
  • The core modeling team has a clear idea of how many sessions are involved, when they will happen, and who will be involved
  • There is an initial sense of who will facilitate the group model building sessions and who needs to be involved in the training
  • The core modeling team has sufficient information to develop an IRB application


Peter Hovmand and Timothy Hower, 2010


This approach is based on David Straus’s (2002) approach to designing collaborations and group process. The motivation for both using process maps and making the process explicit comes from the tendency to underestimate the amount of planning required to design even relatively short group model building workshops.




David Straus (2002). How to make collaborations work: Powerful ways to build consensus, solve problems, and make decisions. San Francisco, CA: Berrtt-Koehler Publishers, Inc.


A common issue in identifying stakeholders is that groups will tend to generate long lists of people involved in the system or focus on recruitment strategies for getting them involved. These tend to be counter-productive starting places because it is often not clear what is being asked of the individuals who are being recruited.