Process Flow Diagram

I published this article on LinkedIn because I’ve been seeing this crop up quite a bit recently and I felt a reminder might be in order to remember that your value lies in keeping it simple…

The beauty of flowcharts lies in their simplicity…but only if you keep it simple.

You can use basic symbols to map out any job and you can use flowcharts for just about any situation.

People make processes complicated and people make defining processes complicated. I’ve seen process flows that are for a fairly basic process be drawn in a very complicated way. I’m always amazed when I see this.

Why do we have the need to turn something simple into something complicated? Are we trying to showcase our knowledge about the process? Are we trying to show off how great we are at process flow diagrams? Are we trying to make things look more complicated to ensure our value to the project is seen?

Yes, yes, and yes. I’ve seen all 3 of these scenarios played out in the workplace. But you can show your worth to the project without making it seem more complicated than it is. As a matter of fact, I would tell you that your worth is in simplifying things, not complicating them.

Use the least amount of symbols necessary, use swim lanes to define work areas, do your best to keep your arrows from overlapping and keep your descriptions within the steps short and to the point.

Go forth and diagram – as simply as possible!