Posted by tac_admin, December 26, 2012

Go with the Flow

As a business analyst, you may find creating business workflow diagrams to be a useful asset for making process improvement recommendations. Not to mention, the visual nature of these charts can help you better clarify and communicate your proposals.

These flowcharts typically show how work is accomplished, ways various tasks interact with each other, where information flows through the business area, and how workers are involved with each business activity.

Take a look at the sample workflow diagram below and the six guidelines you can use to create your own:

1. The first step is to identify the process to be flowcharted and to give the chart a title. In this case, it is “How to fill the car’s petrol tank.”

2. Begin to draw the chart by first describing the event which initiates the process (the “trigger”). In the example, the trigger is: “Low petrol warning light comes on.”

3. Note each successive action taken. Actions should be described in as few words as possible, but make sure the description is not ambiguous or unclear.

4. When you reach a point at which the flowchart branches into a number of alternatives, and the resulting complexity threatens to overwhelm the exercise, choose the most important alternative to continue flowcharting with. The others can simply be terminated and dealt with in separate flowcharts. Such a point is illustrated in the example where a decision is required on how much petrol is to be put in the tank.

5. Often you may need to make cross-references to important supporting information (in this example, cross-references may be made to, say, a table of preferred brands of petrol, or to a list of cars able to use unleaded petrol).

6. Continue describing each event, action, or decision as it occurs in sequence until the process is concluded. In the petrol example, this point is reached when the petrol is paid for, the tank is recharged, and you are ready to drive off.

Learn how to create workflow diagrams during session 4 of my live training course starting January 15, 2013

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