Macro and Micro Processes

by Grant HEnson

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Business process analysis (BPA) is the systematic examination of an organization's operations to identify areas for improvement and optimization. An essential part of BPA is differentiating between macro and micro processes.

Macro Processes

Macro processes are large-scale operations or processes that significantly impact the organization's value chain. Examples of macro processes include manufacturing a product line, selling a range of products, or providing customer service. Macro processes are often complex and involve multiple departments or stakeholders.

When analyzing macro processes, the focus is on understanding how these processes relate to external stakeholders, such as customers, regulatory agencies, or senior management. The goal is to identify opportunities to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and profitability of these processes.

One way to visualize macro processes is to use swimlane diagrams. Swimlane diagrams depict the process flow across different departments, showing how various sub-processes are managed and how they interact with each other. Swimlane diagrams can be helpful for understanding the complexity of macro processes and identifying areas for improvement.

Micro Processes

Micro processes are smaller sets of activities that are often automated by software applications. These processes are typically less complex than macro processes and have a narrower scope. However, micro processes can still have a significant impact on the overall efficiency and effectiveness of an organization.

When analyzing micro processes, the primary focus is on the quality of the output produced by the process. The output of micro processes is often used as input for other processes, so it is important to ensure that it is accurate and complete.

Micro processes often include business rules and specific decision points. These rules and decision points are essential for ensuring that the process produces the desired output.


Macro and micro processes are both important components of any organization. Macro processes drive the overall business strategy, while micro processes support the execution of that strategy. By understanding the distinct nature of macro and micro processes, organizations can better identify and address areas for improvement.

Here are some tips for conducting effective BPA:

  • Start with a clear understanding of the organization's goals and objectives. What are the key areas where the organization wants to improve?
  • Identify the macro and micro processes that are most critical to achieving the organization's goals.
  • Use appropriate methodologies to analyze macro and micro processes. For example, swimlane diagrams can be helpful for visualizing macro processes, while flowcharts can be helpful for visualizing micro processes.
  • Involve stakeholders from across the organization in the BPA process. This will help to ensure that the analysis is comprehensive and that the resulting recommendations are implemented effectively.

BPA is an iterative process. Once the initial analysis is complete, it is important to monitor the performance of the organization's processes and make adjustments as needed. By continuously improving its processes, an organization can achieve its goals and objectives more effectively and efficiently.

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