Flowcharts are an increasingly popular way for businesses to manage complex processes. Not only can they explain each step in an activity, but they can also reveal any potential issues along the way.
When creating your own chart, follow these guidelines: Keep the design straightforward and use a limited color palette; avoid unnecessary decorative fonts, lines or borders; avoid too many shapes;
Flowcharts help businesses increase efficiency and streamline workflow by clearly communicating processes to both employees and customers. They can be used to illustrate an existing process, standardize procedures for training purposes or help identify inefficiencies in workflow processes.
Basic symbols to represent each step in a process are ovals, rectangles and arrows; diamonds can be used as decision points where their outcome (whether yes or no) will determine future steps; while rhombuses display used or generated resources and circles represent new or existing information in the process.
Flowcharts are designed to make understanding complex processes simpler for all involved; their layout typically follows a top-down, left-to-right pattern and they may include text labels to provide explanation of each process step. This makes the chart easy for everyone who needs to comprehend it quickly – especially those new employees learning the ropes who may otherwise find the process daunting and overwhelming.
Flowcharts allow you to visualize and analyze processes. They serve as a powerful way of documenting existing practices, planning improvements and strengthening communications among process participants. You can even use them to explain complex procedures to those unfamiliar with them. Furthermore, business flow charts provide invaluable assistance in identifying bottlenecks or redundancies and making necessary changes that increase productivity.
Utilizing appropriate symbols helps you draw accurate charts. For instance, all steps should be labeled with terminal symbols, while each decision point must lead to an outcome with clear paths leading there from start to finish. Arrows should always point from one symbol to another instead of looping back onto itself; and choosing the appropriate level of detail is also crucial; senior management might require an overall view while staff performing steps or trying to improve it may need more granular charts that depict individual steps.
Make sure that all parties involved with your process understand your flow chart by conducting interviews prior to and during drawing sessions, showing them the developing chart, and keeping everyone involved updated between sessions. Be sure to include suppliers, customers and supervisors.
There are some fundamental symbols that should be present in every flowchart, including basic shapes for start and end points, actions or processes being conducted, decisions being made and input/output indicators as well as rectangles to represent single steps. Additional symbols can also be used to highlight specific data or additional information.
A diamond symbol is used to indicate a question or decision. It symbolizes either a yes/no decision and serves as the starting point for further steps in the process, whether this involves simple binary choices or more complicated decisions such as whether “this or that” should happen.
The disc icon represents any data needed in a flowchart, such as reports or files that must be accessed. The arrowhead indicates which direction the flow should move in; often this is the first aspect to change when creating one.
Writing lengthy documents outlining how a process works is one way of documenting and communicating business processes, yet it’s inefficient and ineffective. A flowchart allows you to illustrate and explain it more quickly and efficiently.
Basic flow charts make use of only a few symbols and are intended to be easily legible. By following these practices, a clear, polished flowchart may be created:
Avoid using too many images in diagrams, and be consistent in how each is used. For instance, when using an arrow symbol to show that steps need to be taken, always use one with identical characteristics. Also ensure all decision point paths have clear and logical routes.
Integrate only essential information into a chart and try to keep it to one page if possible; people may become disoriented when forced to jump between pages without following its logic.