This video shows examples of flowchart diagrams and describes a step-by-step process to create the diagram.
- I've referred to the flowchart diagrams, or process maps, as stepping stones. To get across the river, without getting wet, it's always a good idea to step onto the stones closest to the bank, and, then, navigate your way, step by step. So, too, with the steps to creating a flowchart diagram. Let's go through the best order, to help you create an accurate, and effective diagram. Before you put pen to paper, or the whiteboard, it's important that you understand that flowchart process maps should always trace back, to their parent, cross-functional flow diagram.
Keeping this connection in mind, will help you think about what you should, and shouldn't include, on your flowchart diagram. Remembering back to our lessons on cross-functional flow diagrams, there are times where it's not practical to include lengthy, step by step workflow details, and the number of steps begin to overwhelm the diagram. I recommend you group these workflows together, in what we called pre-defined, or sub-processes. It is these sub-processes that are expanded further, and detailed, now, in your flowchart diagram.
To guide you through the steps, let's use raise purchase order, as an example of a sub-process, that is being mapped in a cross-functional flow diagram, using a sub-process box. So, from this, to this. Firstly, you need to use the round cornered rectangle as the symbol used as the start, and end points, also known, as a terminator. In other templates covered, in this course, we've also used circles. Either is fine, as long as you're consistent, in your diagrams, and, your stakeholders understand what you mean, by your symbols.
In this box, you note the trigger for the process. To do this, ask yourself: how do they know that they have to raise a purchase order? Refer back to your cross-functional flow diagram, which will show you the step just before the raise purchase order sub-processes was mapped. This will be the step, that triggers this activity. Let's say that the last step was done, by procurement, and, it was for them to send approval. This means that your trigger, to start your flowchart diagram, will be receive approval, from procurement.
Second step, which is the actual, multiple steps, in one, is to map out each part of the process. To do this, you use the process box symbol, until the activities workflow is complete. The trick is never having more than one step, in each box. This is your chance, to break down the process, into the finest detail. Another trick to remember, is that your flowchart diagram, or process map, doesn't need to flow from left to right. It can flow in a switchback formation, or, up and down the page, as long as it is logical, and the reader can interpret the flow of the events.
Third step, as you map out each activity, is to note where a decision is required. This will alter the flow of events, and, it is where you need to use your decision diamond. The diamond symbolizes that the pathways are not broken, and the normal flow of work can continue. In the same way the decision diamond is used, in the cross-functional flow diagram, you need to choose the best way, to annotate your response. Remember to try and be consistent, wherever possible, across all your maps. The fourth, and final step, is to never assume anything.
Always run workshops. Talk to the people who are responsible for the work that you are trying to capture. Keep your sessions on track, focusing on the normal process first, and, then, considering the alternate flows. This will save you a lot of time, and effort. I would also encourage you to ask one of your stakeholders, to step you through the process, and, follow it, on your flowchart, if they deviate from the sequence you have captured. This will give you a greater insight, into how different people interpret executing the process, and, keeping you all from falling into the murky waters of inaccurate process, and flowchart mapping.
- Using common modeling tools
- Determining when to use a particular modeling diagram
- Avoiding the pitfalls associated with each diagram
- Creating diagrams
- Leveraging key stakeholders