Put simply, Flow Charts are an excellent visual representation of all of the steps involved in the product development process. This development process is designed to produce a particular outcome that will bring value to the company.
Flow charts are designed to portray all of the complex tasks that are taking place in the development process to be understood at a single glance and help all of the stakeholders to identify how the various departments of the company interact and work with each other.
In this article, we will discuss what flow charting is all about starting with its interaction and making our way from their benefits to the 4 most common types of Flow charting that are used nowadays. Let’s dive right in.
What are Flow Charts?
Basically, a flow chart is a step-by-step representation of the breakdown of multifaceted processes that are happening in the development process of a product. The process in question can consist of a single or a collection of departments of a large corporation, working on a particular project.
Typically the design of a flow chart consists of all of the steps belonging to a project represented by a box. All of the different boxes are then connected with arrows that represent the relation between the steps. These arrows also represent the dependencies of different steps on each other.
Benefits of Flow Charting
The following are the benefits of using Flow Charts to represent the different steps of a project.
- The biggest benefit of flow charting is that it has the ability to visualize large volumes of information on a single screen or page that makes the absurd amount of information quite manageable
- You can analyze all of the different steps involved in the development process very easily
- With a single glance, you can analyze all of the dependencies of tasks on each other
- You can give different color schemes to different tasks and processes that make it easier for the managers to interpret that information
- Flow charts can also help identify the organizational structure of a company to visitors and employees alike. For example, if the structure of a company is portrayed via a flow chart, a visitor will immediately know who to talk to about what and employees can also refer to it when they don’t know who to report in a work emergency or if their manager is not present.
Types of Flowcharts
While the world of flowcharts is not limited by any measure with a million different versions used all around the globe, there are 4 flowcharts that are extremely important. All four of these are amazing in describing the manufacturing process of different products, business activities, organizational functions, administrative processes and analyzing how the organization actually works overall.
Let’s discuss all four of these Flowcharting types.
1. The Process Flowchart
This type of flowchart is used in the early stages of the project where all the planning is being done and the workability of the project is being set. This flowchart can be virtually applied to nearly anything. You can:
- Show the way you wake up in the morning and start your day
- How you finished your university degree
- How you found your soulmate
- Draw up different proposals for new projects that would bring great value to the company
- How a building gets made
- Map out different roles and responsibilities of different team members within a company so that they would have their work cut out for them.
The possibilities are endless.
2. The Workflow Chart
The workflow chart is an amazing visualization of data that lets you understand what it is and how these data documents flow within your company. They essentially show how the business runs and how it processes its various functions. This type of flowchart can be used to:
- Make the business operations of a company clearer to the audience, whoever they might be
- Discover all of the potential problem areas that can cause hurdles in the development process
- Train new employees
3. The Swimlane Flowchart
This type of flowchart describes how the different departments of companies in the organizational culture process and how their employees interact with each other on a daily basis. This type of flowchart is very useful when you have multiple flows of information that you want to show alongside one another.
These diagrams may seem similar to the workflow diagram that we discussed earlier but the key difference between the two is that the Swimlane Flowchart allows you to create many different categories of all of the activities happening in the development process.
4. The Data Flowchart
Using the Data Flowchart, the audience whoever they might be can see all of the data or information that flows in and out of an information system of a company. It basically shows how the data is processed and comes in handy when you want to analyze a system.
This flowchart is mostly used in software development and design, but it can effectively be used to analyze any information flow, no matter what type of business or work field you want looked at.
Other Notable types of Flowcharts are as follows:
- System Flowcharts
- Program Flowcharts
- Decision Flowcharts
- Product Flowcharts
- Event-Driven Process Chain Flowcharts
- Specification and Description Language Flowchart
How Flowcharts are used in different fields of work?
Flowcharts, as you now know, are used in various fields of work in today’s world. Let’s take a look at how they work with these fields.
- They are used to plan coursework and other academic requirements
- They can organize a group or any individual project
- They can represent the flow of algorithms used in a software
Sales and Marketing
- They can be used to plot out the flow of a marketing survey
- They can chart sales processes
- They can be used to research marketing strategies
- They can be used to understand procurement and order processes
- They can be used to represent all of the tasks that an employee partakes
- They can be used to develop a business plan
As it turns out, Flow Charting has immense benefits and it helps you in project planning. Visualize your projects with the help of flow charts and share your experience with us.
Originally published at https://www.ntaskmanager.com on February 20, 2020.