Large-scale businesses and organizations often have to deal with complex processes & projects, and it’s hard to explain them in words alone. And, that’s when they need to create flowcharts to make the processes easy to understand with the help of visual elements.
A flowchart can organize the tasks of a project in chronological order. It can also identify the type of each task so they can be assigned to the relevant department. Without a flowchart, it would be quite difficult to explain the process of something, whether it is product manufacturing or coding.
However, creating a flowchart is not as simple as it may seem. Most people assume that a flowchart can be created using random shapes and arrows, but if there’s no pattern, the result will be a confusing graphic. Due to this, some flowcharts end up complicating things instead of simplifying them.
In this article, we will explain the important things you should know before making process flowcharts, but before that let’s look into what the core purpose of a flowchart is.
So, let’s get started!
Purpose of a process flowchart
A process flowchart is not just a random graphic created by companies, businesses, or organizations, instead, it is a visual representation of the process or data that helps to make the overall process easy to understand across all the members or stakeholders.
A flowchart can:
A process flowchart is used to educate all the stakeholders about how the overall business goals can be achieved by following the specific process.
Visualize the steps of a process
It is important for project managers to explain each step of a project to their team members, and doing so will become easier with the help of visual cues.
Improve the overall process
When you showcase a process using visuals, it’s easier to map the overall process clearly, and accurately. As a result, you can quickly identify the process’s shortcomings, critical aspects, or weaknesses. You can also easily pinpoint missing steps, or remove all those steps that you might feel are unnecessary, making the whole process better. A great way is to incorporate the data automation tools such as Zoominfo for improving the overall process.
Identify actions and responsibilities
With a process flowchart, you can explain to the team members across the organization how a process is to be done. A flowchart can identify the actions that must be taken for the completion of a project. Once actions have been clearly mentioned, team managers can assign tasks to relevant departments. As a result, a flowchart can also help you identify the responsibilities of each team. And when you know which team is responsible for a certain task, you can pay better attention to their performance.
Companies can easily be more open and honest about their operations when each task is divided among teams according to their expertise. Transparency not only strengthens the relationship between employers and employees but also improves the image of the company in the eyes of customers and shareholders.
6 things to keep in mind when creating a process flowchart
Although a good process flowchart is essential for the successful completion of a project, making it is not that easy, especially if you are not well prepared for it. There are a few things you should know in advance so you can make a good process flowchart.
1# Design is important
Clear, simple, yet catchy designs always win. The core purpose of a flowchart is to bring about clarity, yet we often forget that. Make sure the design is simple and adds clarity to the process flowchart. Flowcharts can be made up of different shapes and colors. You can also use images to make flowcharts if your audience is multilingual. However, you must choose a design that is consistent throughout. You cannot add a shape to your flowchart followed by an image.
If there is no consistency in your flowchart’s design, it will end up confusing your audience. It is also important to choose colors that are suitable for the topic and won’t make the text impossible to read. Most importantly, the flowchart aligns with your brand fonts and colors.
2# Shapes have meanings
If you are a visual designer, you should know that shapes have specific meanings when it comes to visual designs. The shapes used in flowchart designs have specific meanings and must not be added randomly. So, before you start working on your process flowchart, you should learn what each shape represents.
A diamond shape in a flowchart represents a decision, whereas a square shape represents action. If you use a shape incorrectly in your flowchart, it would affect the graphic and leave a poor impression on your audience.
It is also important to include a legend on the chart to explain the meaning of each color and shape. It would help those members of the audience who are not familiar with the rules of flowchart designs.
3# Software can help
Although you can design a flowchart manually, it would take up a lot of your time and could still end up with a few problems. Everything from design to spacing must be perfect in a flowchart, which is why it might be difficult to do everything manually. Instead, you can easily use any flowchart templates to get this job done.
Alternatively, you can use different tools or software. Multiple software and design tools available these days can help you with flowcharts. Each software comes with hundreds of process flowchart templates for you to choose from. They can also handle spacing automatically so you won’t have to worry about the final form of your flowchart.
4# Gather all the necessary information
Before you begin working on the process flowchart, you should have all the necessary information so you can organize it accordingly. When making a process flowchart, you will have to summarize thousands of words into a small sentence. However, you cannot do that if you don’t have all the information.
Gather all the necessary information about the project and then organize it so you can turn it into a flowchart. When you have all the data, you will be able to squeeze its essence out of it easily and create an easy-to-understand process flowchart for your audience.
5# Know your audience
You should get to know your audience before choosing your flowchart’s design and language. The complexity of the design depends upon how familiar your target audience is with the process flow you will showcase visually. If you are explaining things to a layman you should keep it simple, and if you are explaining to a professional with proven knowledge in the industry, choose the design accordingly.
Secondly, the language of your flowchart should be simple and easy to understand. It is important to avoid unnecessary technical jargon. If you know your audience well, you would also know which technical terms they can understand and which ones they can’t. It would help you in creating the perfect process flowchart for a project.
6# Remember the purpose
Flowcharts can be created for anything from planning a project to presenting information to the team members, or the stakeholders. The purpose of the flowchart can affect its design and language. So, when designing a process flowchart, don’t forget its purpose.
Often a process flowchart is used to showcase the process in chemical or engineering to display the general process of the plants, however, it is not restricted to it. A good flowchart should accomplish its purpose through its design and language. But that is only possible if you design the flowchart according to the purpose. So, create an outline for the flowchart while keeping its purpose in mind and finalize it if you are satisfied with the design.
Each organizational task takes multiple steps to complete, and that’s when a process flowchart helps make the process visually appealing and easy to understand. But if the process is not clear to the team, they won’t be able to work on the project to get the desired results. Process flowcharts are created to divide a task into clear steps to avoid this issue.
So, before you sum up your next business process, keep the above things in mind. If you keep these points in mind, creating effective process flowcharts will not only become easier for you, but you will be able to make the most of it.