Flowcharts are the clearest visual representation of business processes, such as manufacturing or product testing. They allow investors or employees in different departments to be informed about workflows in a simple and easily distributed format. Flowcharts can be created by hand or by using specifically designed flowcharting software. One of their most useful applications is that to parallel processes, which are processes in which several components are achieved simultaneously and which can be confusing when described without a visual aid.
- Skill level:
Write out the process completely before beginning flowchart construction. Get a grip on the big picture, as well as the smaller parallel processes. Clearly define each step and come up with a symbol or shape for each type (for example, a triangle for manual processes and a circle for documents).
Organise your chart so all flows move in the same direction to prevent confusion. Colour code the parallel processes so they do not get confused. Avoid allowing flow lines to intersect.
Make sure that each step in the flowchart is accurately and completely designed. Provide a key (to be distributed with the flowchart) that provides an explanation for each symbol and colour.
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