This video describes the features of the cross-functional flow diagram including common symbols, formatting options, and the instances where you would apply each of them.
- Swimmers, take your mark, get set, go! Cross-functional flow diagrams are recognized by their distinctive swim line appearance. In fact, they're often referred to as swim line diagrams. The swim line will encompass all activities that fall to the responsibility of a particular functional area, just like a swimming race. You need to stay in your lane. Stakeholders are found at the start of each lane. They are referred to as actors.
This is because each actor is playing a role in the end to end story. All cross-functional flow diagrams are clearly named at the top of the diagram. Each actor is assigned their own swim lane, and only those actors that have a part to play in the process need to be involved, and assigned a swim lane. You're seeing the example, a customer, merchant, and credit card company are the three actors that will be participating in this cross-functional flow process. The great thing about these diagrams, is that at a glance you can see who is involved in the end to end process.
There are many templates out there that can be used to create cross-functional flow diagrams. You will find that their shapes can vary slightly. However, the general appearance of the shape will be the same. Each shape means something specific, so it's important that you understand that each is used for, and what they represent. These shapes are called flow chart symbols. There are many different flow chart symbols, and each have a specific purpose. To get started through, let's take a look at the six most common shapes.
Firstly, there is the circle, which is the symbol used as the start and end points, also known as, a terminator. The terminator represents where the process starts, and terminates. Some templates use circles as connectors, or links, to other process maps, and add the trigger on top of the circle. You can use circles, or rounded rectangles, like this one on your start or end point, where the trigger is inside the rounded rectangle.
Just make sure you're consistent, so as not to confuse the reader. The next shape, and the one that's most commonly used, is the rectangle, or process box. I like to use the 90 degree angle boxes. Though, you may also encounter round edges. They both mean the same thing. The process boxes used to capture each action needed to be performed, and it is mapped out in the swim lane of the actor responsible for that activity. Here the merchant will submit purchase amount.
The credit card company will authorize purchase. The merchant will complete sale. So the process goes on. Where the activities are more detailed, a separate process work flow, or flow chart, may be required. That can be represented in cross-functional flow diagrams, as a predefined process, or subprocesses type boxes with a distinctive parallel lines. Some templates will have a small plus symbol as well, and that will indicate they can be expanded on for more detail.
This is a great feature, as you're able to concentrate on communicating thoroughly how actions flow from functional area to functional area, without clouding the document with lengthy detailed workflows. Next up, we have the diamond shape, or decision symbol. This symbol is used to indicate a step in the process, where a decision has to be made. The outcome of that decision will split the flow of events into different exit paths from the diamond. Finally, all of the components are linked together with arrows or connectors.
Indicating the direction, and order, that the activities take place. They essentially connect all of the elements together, and direct the reader through the process. In cross-functional flow diagram, the sequencing of steps will flow from the left to the right. Moving up, and down, as the activity passes on to the next functional area, so that they can perform their task. Arrows, or connectors, are not just used to show the direction of flow. They can also be used to provide additional key information.
Take the decision process symbol, for instance. You can see that the diamond symbol contains a question. The direction of flow will be determined by the answer to that question. Annotating the connector with a yes, or no, allows the flow to respond accordingly, and an alternative path is created. Now that you know how to create end to end processes using cross-functional flow diagrams, you'll be well on your way to winning that next swimming gold medal in no time.
- Using common modeling tools
- Determining when to use a particular modeling diagram
- Avoiding the pitfalls associated with each diagram
- Creating diagrams
- Leveraging key stakeholders