Does a business process flowchart seems like a mystery to you? A workflow chart is designed to make everything simpler, and demonstrate how a process works. Besides that, you can use simple programs, available in most computers, to draw these flowcharts. Even PowerPoint or Excel will help you with this goal.
In this article, we will show you how to create a workflow chart in 5 clear steps. Can we begin?
5 steps to a perfect business process flowchart
1 – Define the components of the process
If you intend to learn how to create a business process flowchart in order to better understand your business, the first step is to determine its components.
- Inputs: are the documents, information, charts, materials, items, etc., that will be used during the processing and transformed in outputs.
- Processing: are the actions that, through tools and techniques, are applied to the inputs and change them into outputs.
- Outputs: the result of the inputs’ processing. They can also be documents, information, charts, materials, items, products, services, etc.
To understand more: process modeling.
Did you notice that the output of a process is usually the input of another?
That is why a sequence of processing is formed, and we can draw that in a business process flowchart, or workflow chart.
Now that you defined the process’ components, you have to know the symbols used and what do they mean.
2 – Put every processing in the order they occur
Notice that sometimes some processes can happen in parallel, or have to wait for the outputs of others. We will see more about that later.
3 – Indicate the order that the procedures happen, with arrows
At this point, you will notice that maybe you have to redesign the order of the processes. Keep calm and indicate the sequence of what it is happening. On the next step, you will set through symbols what happens in each stage of the process: if we have to wait for another task, if we have to make a decision, wait for data, documents, etc.
4 – Draw the correspondent symbols to each stage of the process
Before drawing them, you must know them. There are many symbols and notations to draw business process flowcharts. Below we will show the ones that we consider more convenient for you to learn about workflow charts. Inside each symbol, there has to be a description.
- Used to indicate the beginning and end of the process. Write “beginning” or “end” inside.
- It shows the execution of activity. For example, open the car door in a process to drive to work.
- It shows decisions on the flow. Usually, it contains a question inside. For example, imagine you are drawing the flowchart of a process that prepares your car to travel. In a certain moment in this workflow chart, this diamond appears with the following internal information: is the fuel tank full? From this diamond two arrows will come out, one with the word “yes”. So, you continue the process to the next activity. The other one says “no”. It will indicate a rectangle with the following internal description: fill up the fuel tank.
- It indicates the direction of the process flow.
- Documents used in the process.
5 – Review your flowchart drawing
Now that you marked the beginning and the end, decision-making points, activities, waiting, etc. mentally redo the process and see if there is something to do to improve and portray in a more faithful way the process.
That is why we recommend the use of software, even a simple one, for this. As we said, even with a Word program you can create a simple business process flowchart, dragging the elements to the right positions and perfecting this graphic representation.
Also, see process modeling notation.
BPMN Notation: A Modern Alternative to Flowcharts
Have you heard about the BPMN Notation? In short, it’s a modern alternative to flowcharts. BPMN has a comprehensive set of symbols to create process flows and has many advantages over flowcharts. Read more and create your free account to model processes using BPMN.