Business process flow diagram: How to make one in 6 simple steps

The business process flow diagram is one of the traditional graphical tools used by BPM professionals.

And the reason is very simple: when developed with due care, it is intuitive in interpretation and practical when prepared and submitted to various levels of the organization.

Not that it is a simple and trivial task. On the contrary, the development of an appropriate business process flow diagram and one that is useful for understanding, mapping, and subsequent process improvement, demand a lot of attention and expertise.

In fact, the business process flow diagram is an artifact generated during the scanning process. And this is a point that causes much confusion among some professionals: there is a difference between a business process flow diagram (flow of processes) and the process model.

To help you understand this difference better, we present the definitions of these important concepts of BPM and will then show our step by step guide to building a process flow diagram.

Definition of a business process flow diagram

A business process flow diagram is the simplest and most primary representation of processes. It serves to initiate a further and more complex understanding of the process. It usually doesn’t show exceptions or ‘problems’ that may occur during the process flow.

Process Model Definition

A much more comprehensive and complete definition, the representation must have all of the information necessary for the process to occur, such as process start and termination conditions, the activities and data, rules, documents, process participants, customers and other important factors.

Note that the business process flow diagram is a previous step to the process model, used to assist in its definition during the review process. An intermediate stage between the business process flow diagram and the model is called a process map.

See more: CASE: process mapping example of a company

The 6 steps to making a business process flow diagram

1. Determine the main components of the process.

This step is necessary to clarify what the process inputs and their outputs are, as well as their activities.

Check out: Mapping activities and streamlining process techniques

Entries are also called inputs and can be resources, information and other elements that ‘feed’ the process.

Likewise, outputs are the products from the process which can be information, decisions, permits, inputs for other processes, product parts, components, services, end products, etc.

2. Order the activities

The business process flow diagram is (as per its name) flow, so you need to order these activities. Make a list in chronological order.

3. Choose the correct symbols for each activity

There are various notations used to draw process flow diagrams. Thus, correctly indicating each type of activity, using the right symbols, will make it much easier for anyone familiar with the symbols to understand the flow quickly.

Difficulties range from the simplest to the most complex, like the BPMN 2.0 notation. If you are a beginner, choose simple notations, but if you want to delve into the subject and do a more thorough job, use the BPMN 2.0.

Check out: 23 meanings of process flowchart symbols

4. Make the connection between the activities

For this, connectors are used. Usually, arrows and lines, dotted or not. Their meanings are described in the post above. Check it out!

Want to know more about the BPMN 2.0 notation? Check out:

5. Indicate the beginning and end of the process

It may seem trivial, but showing when the process begins and when it ends is sometimes forgotten by many people. And this is crucial information, used to set limits for the owners of the process, managers, and supervisors.

6. Review your business process diagram

Finished drawing your business process flow diagram? Now it will be easier to understand if it is how it is! Revise, re-study and make sure that your graphical representation of the process is even appropriate.

Wasn’t that step by step simple?

So, watch the video below. It’s one of the lessons of the HEFLO BPMN training and it explains how to create your first BPMN diagram step by step.

BPMN Course - Creation of the first Process Diagram

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