Business owners are always on the look for ways to improve the efficiency of their teams. During that process, they try as many tools as possible, trying to figure out which one does the job best. When you streamline some aspects of your business, you’ll be able to increase staff productivity, which in return will bring more sales. One good tool you should consider using is a flow chart.
The uses of flowcharts are many, depending on the industry. People are using this visual tool in fields such as entertainment, sciences, programming, or even engineering. The main purpose of a flowchart is to clearly convey how a process works. You can even use a flowchart when training new people on the processes and projects of your company. So why should you use flowcharts? Let’s find out together!
What Is a Flowchart?
A flowchart is a visual representation of steps. It’s used to show these steps in chronological and sequential order and is mainly used when presenting algorithm flow, different processes, or workflows. Usually, a flowchart will display these steps in boxes of various shapes (square, triangle, diamond) that are connected by arrows.
So why should you use a flowchart? Well, there are a few reasons. Let’s see what are some of the most important ones!
Flowcharts Help in Timing Evaluation
One of the most important purposes of flowcharts is to determine how much time a task would take to complete. Usually, these types of flowcharts will be linear, from left to right. When creating a timing flowchart, you can even add different columns to this chart so you can better evaluate each task in the project from a time point of view.
This will prove incredibly useful when you’re organizing the tasks that are on a specific deadline. How so? Well, because the flowchart will help you highlight which tasks should require more efficiency or which task depends on other tasks to be completed. Flowcharts that are used to determine to time are crucial when a project is divided into separate teams. When every member of the team understands how much time the other needs, it will allow them to better organize their workday.
Flowcharts Define Work Processes
Flowcharts are especially useful when trying to define and describe how a process should work from start to finish in chronological and logical order. Such a diagram is used when training new recruits to document an existing process and make sure that everyone understands it.
Besides that, a process flow diagram can help you understand if a specific task is worth the time and effort, as it will reveal potential hiccups in the process or if some tasks are duplicated. You can make this even easier by matching up different shapes and symbols to the people who will take care of that specific task. In this way, you can also determine if your team is either understaffed for a project or if there are too many people working on the same task at the same time.
Flowcharts Make Troubleshooting Easier
If you don’t know what went wrong and during which stage of development, it will be extremely hard for you to fix issues in the workflow. And that’s exactly why flowcharts are so important. To put together a troubleshooting flowchart, you will usually start by identifying the problem and placing it in a box at the top of the diagram.
After that, all you have to do is draw an arrow connecting it to different boxes that could be causing the issue. Then, you will connect these boxes to other shapes that will contain possible solutions, based on the issues you have found. If, for example, you found an issue with customer satisfaction. When coming up with solutions, you will draw different boxes with different causes (for example, long delivery times, calls that are too long or not enough implication on your customer service reps’ part). After that, you will add a possible solution under each of those boxes and thus create a troubleshooting flowchart.
Flowcharts Can Help Concept Mapping
When you’re brainstorming for a new idea, a flowchart might just come in handy. After you’ve come up with the concept, a flowchart can be used to put together all the elements that come with the concept itself. All of these elements can be then presented to your team as clear and concisely as possible.
A flowchart is different from a concept map, however. While a concept map is the main generator of ideas, a flowchart will showcase each and every component of the concept itself, in a sequential and chronological manner.
Our Final Thoughts
A flowchart is a perfect tool to use in your day-to-day work life. It can help you better organize your team’s time and tasks while keeping the focus on your desired result. Of course, different types of processes require different types of flowcharts. The type of flowchart that you will use depends of course on many criteria such as the length of the project, the number of people involved, and the number of tasks that need to be taken care of.
Have you ever used flowcharts in the office? Did they help you better organize your team? Let us know in the comments below! And as usual, don’t be afraid to share this article with your friends who might need to be introduced to the wonderful world of flowcharts!
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