A Valuable Skill in Mapping Business Processes

A flowchart is a sequence of graphical symbols and shapes that create a visual map to document a procedure or set of steps to accomplish a goal based on specific business rules. Learning how to draw flowcharts can become a valuable skill when doing business analysis and re-engineering.

A flowchart can enable the person who understands the process to effectively communicate rules and guidelines using symbols, directional arrows and flow diagrams. Flowcharts have been used for over 50 years to transfer knowledge allow others to understand complex processes logic paths.

Analyzing a flowchart enables the reader to logically follow the sequence of steps, specific rules and paths they should take when certain situations are encountered. More complex flows can be broken down into basic procedural maps and then connected together. This can help the reader visualize and follow the entire process by linking the smaller processes together.

There are 3 main types of process diagrams:

1.    High level process maps that show summary level processes. These diagrams provide the 10,000 foot view that can be used to define the high level areas and processes for the enterprise.

2.    Detailed process maps that defines lower level processes that can be set to establish departmental procedures, logic flows and inter-departmental processes that intersect at specific touch points.

3.    Decision based process flowcharts define specific rules and dependencies based on business rules and guiding principles.

There are many tools that can be used to develop flowchart diagrams. Whether you use the basic presentation or word processing application to specialized tools designed specifically for developing workflow diagrams, flowcharts can help create a visual reference for any process.

In summary, when learning how to draw flowcharts, it is imperative to develop a standard methodology that helps organize information in a concise manner. Start with process mapping basics that depict high level information and gradually work into more detailed process maps as you become more experienced.