This video describes the features of the functional flow diagram, including common symbols and formatting options and the instances where you would apply each of them.
- Elegance can be defined as the beauty that shows unusual effectiveness and simplicity. Functional flow diagrams can also be defined the same way. They can stand alone and at the same time can retain their elegance surrounded by other functional flow diagrams and their interrelationships. Functional flow diagrams contribute many benefits when performing analysis. Firstly, these diagrams are a great way to provide others a quick overview of a scenario.
They're useful in training of new staff or indeed, during audits or visits by customers. By having this overview, you are more likely to get consensus in teams and each will have the common understanding of what is being spoken about. By using the functional flow diagram, you're increasing your chances of finding opportunities to improve, and it's a quick and easy method to learn and one that will bring a lot to the job you want to do.
The functional flow diagram always starts with a stakeholder, usually the customer or another entity that is external to your organization initiating the interaction. Customer is a commonly used description that starts or triggers the activity with an organization. This could be an online purchase, a call in to a support area, a front customer service query. Governments around the world offer services, companies sell and deliver products, and charities deliver support, and all of this is based on the need and wants of the customer.
When the customer initiates a transaction request, this creates a trigger internally to your organization. The recipient of that trigger will be the next functional area in your diagram. They will, in turn, perform a function that when completed will create another trigger to another functional area, and so on until the final interaction with the customer and the required outcome is reached. All stakeholders or functional areas, whether they are internal or external, are captured in ovals.
Like the context diagram, the functional flow diagram uses flows to indicate the relationship between the stakeholder groups. The flow in a functional flow diagram, however, must only have one label indicating the information, data, or activity flowing between each function. As with every action there is a reaction. The flow of functions will usually start and end with its initiator. As the functions will tend to loop back to their initiator, you'll find that your functional flow diagram will also be arranged as such.
Analysts and organizations alike leverage functional flow diagrams to provide the best experience to their customers by visualizing the flow of information and data found in the relationships between the two functional areas. These diagrams logically map the sequence and interdepartmental communications and interactions that reflect the current, or different, new way of achieving the expected outcome. As with a context diagram, the functional flow diagram should be kept uncluttered.
Even the most complicated of processes, when documented at this level, will appear simple and should be easily interpreted by all audiences. Capturing functional flow diagrams are simple, and at the same time effective in creating the scenarios, where they start, and how to achieve the expected goal of the activities. Their effectiveness and simplicity get my vote for the most elegant of the modeling tools.
- Using common modeling tools
- Determining when to use a particular modeling diagram
- Avoiding the pitfalls associated with each diagram
- Creating diagrams
- Leveraging key stakeholders