This video explains when you would use a cross-functional flow diagram. It includes business scenarios that warrant the creation of the diagram and the intended audience.
- I was once a baseball coach with little kids. At the start of every season we'd go though the rules of the game. Stand here at home plate, hit the ball, and run. Invariably, first-timers would run the wrong way towards third base. Some would take off across the diamond to second. But pretty quickly after they heard all the other kids screaming and laughing, they realize that there's an order to baseball and a sequence to running around the bases if they wanted to get a home run. The same idea is useful when it comes to the cross-functional flow diagram and getting the sequence of events right.
The purpose of the cross-functional flow diagram is to capture and order the activities that are performed by the various stakeholders from the initial process commencement trigger to completion. It tells the story from start to end. It illustrates a flow of events, in particular how the crossover between the different functional areas. Hence it's name, cross-functional flow diagram. Even at the cross-functional flow level, comparative analysis can begin. A current state, or as is, cross-functional flow diagram is extremely useful in identifying and breaking down the existing complex business processes and identifying unnecessary routing of work between the functional areas.
Analyzing these processes and the time it takes to move from one process to the next can help identify inefficiencies in where processes can be streamlined and improved. The beauty of this level of documentation is that you can see how the functional areas interact without having to drill down into lengthy, detailed, step-by-step workflows. Where the number of steps begins to look overwhelming on your diagram, you can choose to group these together in what we call pre-defined or sub processes.
You will notice in this example of a cross-functional flow diagram that there are two sub processes. A create order process which is done by the sales department and a fulfill order process done by the fulfillment team. The purpose of the cross-functional flow diagram is that you don't have to document all of the noise slowing the process down by trying to ensure that every step is documented and validated. At this level you just need to show that sales creates the order and that the fulfillment team processes the order.
The swim lines clearly delineate where one task ends and the next begins. In other words, you can understand simply by looking at this diagram that when sales has completed creating the order there's a trigger received by operations to fulfill the order. All of the actual steps involved in the creation of fulfillment processes will be expanded in separate documents. Completing cross-functional flow diagrams helps everyone understand who needs to perform what and in what sequence, making clarification and understanding far easier to get around your bases and scoring that home run.
- Using common modeling tools
- Determining when to use a particular modeling diagram
- Avoiding the pitfalls associated with each diagram
- Creating diagrams
- Leveraging key stakeholders