If you’re looking for a way to simplify and organize your business processes, you need a process flow diagram. Also known as a process flow chart, this tool can help you map out your entire process from start to finish. This can make it easier to identify bottlenecks and glitches, and streamline your operations.
Making a process flow diagram can seem daunting, but with these tips to keep in mind, it can be easy and fun. Before beginning your journey into mapping out a new process for your business or organization, remember these guidelines:
1) Never use text bubbles as arrows on process flow diagrams.
These kinds of diagrams communicate with people simply by shapes of objects and the direction of arrows. The text bubbles or texts inside symbols distract from the process or object that you want to show on your diagram. If you need to include some textual information besides an arrow – draw another symbol text next to an arrow pointing at the process.
2) The process flow diagram notations that you use should be clear and understandable.
Sometimes, people overuse notation which makes the process difficult to understand. Use common symbols when making process flow diagrams to help other people understand your diagram easily. It is suggested to check other process flow diagrams to get ideas about what kind of symbols are used so that you can choose easy-to-understand ones for your own process flow diagrams.
3) Never forget the hierarchy of processes when you make process flow diagrams.
All processes do not have equal value or priority for an organization; some processes are more important than others (for example, the new product development process). As a result, process flow diagrams should include process hierarchy. Pick a process that comes first, the process that has the highest priority, and place it at the top of the diagram. Then, list other processes below this top process according to their importance or priority.
4) Use different labels for different processes.
A process flow is a series of steps where something moves through them, one after the other. For example, if you have two process flows in your business process model/diagrams, label each process flow with its name or number to help people understand that it is a separate process. If you label your process flows properly then it will be easy for people to read diagrams and find out what they need quickly.
5) Never forget about activities involved in the process when making data flow diagrams.
There are some processes where activities are included but some others don’t have any activity. Activity is an important process because it shows what the process does; a data flow diagram without activities will be incomplete. It is suggested to ask process owners (people who know the process well) about the process if you are not sure which activities should be included in process flow diagrams.
6) When you need to include a certain activity on process flow diagrams, make sure that activity has a start and an endpoint.
People should understand when this activity starts and when it ends by looking at your process flow diagrams. For example, if you want to show letter writing as an activity on a process flow diagram then label it with “start” and “stop” points or use other symbols to show that it takes place within time periods.
7) Not following flowchart examples.
Process flows should be drawn at the size which is easy for people to read process flow diagrams. You should choose an example or template that will best reflect your own process.
8) When making process flow diagrams that show decision points, don’t forget about possible outcomes on every path.
On some processes only one path is followed but there are many paths in others (processes where decisions are made). It is suggested to go through process flow diagram notations which you are going to use when process flows have multiple paths so you won’t forget any outcomes.
9) Always avoid process flow diagram notation mistakes.
Process flow diagram symbols are often misunderstood because they can be interpreted in different ways, depending on the context of process flow diagrams. It is recommended to look at process symbols used in process flows and ask process owners about them if you are not sure what they mean. To avoid mistakes don’t try using process shapes that aren’t meant for business process modeling or process flows that will be difficult to read/understand.
If you want to create a process flow diagram, you might want to use an online tool that can help. Venngage is one of the best tools available, and it integrates with many popular programs like Google Drive or Microsoft Office 365 so you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues. With only a few clicks on your computer keyboard, you could be starting your project in minutes!