5 Steps to Creating a Flow Chart
A flowchart is a visual representation of a process. The goal of a flowchart is to demonstrate the flow of the process in a step-by-step manner, highlighting different possible outcomes based on different possible paths taken. Creating and analyzing a flowchart allows you to visualize where you start, your end goal, and each task you need to complete in order to get there. Being able to get the process down on paper in an easily understandable document lets you trim off excess time wasting steps and create the fastest and most efficient path to achieving your end objective.
- Terminators – Terminators are your start and end points in your flow chart. The start terminator indicates the point at which the process begins, whether that be when you reach a certain amount of money or a specific date. The end terminator is when your goal, a time limit, or objective is reached. Since they are both terminators, they should share a shape/color in the flowchart for organizational purposes.
- Process – The next step after the start terminator is the process. What will you be doing first to reach your end terminator? What’s after that? These are actionable items that will guide your process later.
- Data – After the process has been completed, it’s time to analyze. Compile the data accumulated from your process and pick out what metrics are important to focus on.
- Decision – Now that you have all of your data and have decided what numbers matter most, you can make a decision. Based on the data you have, which path will you take now? Use connectors to determine possible paths branching off of your flowchart.
- Document – Make sure to note and record how the experiment went, what your learned, and the final decision you made. It’s important to document all of this information so you can refer back to it for similar future tests.