The Flowchart is an effective tool to graphically display a process or system. This Gateway tool© creates an opportunity for the team to identify the sequence of steps in a process. This tool can highlight problem areas, redundancy, and assist in identifying areas for improvements. The flowchart is a valuable tool of communication between other entities in the organization, a good training tool and will always generate a discussion when posted on the wall at a meeting.
Tools required: flipchart paper, sharpie type markers, post-it type notes, and colored markers.
Determine the parameters of the process. Decide where the process starts and ends.
Brainstorm a list of the major steps. Identify the major actions. Use the post-it type notes, one for each action.
Arrange the steps in sequence. Discuss the logical sequence. The post-it type notes make it easy to rearrange.
Draw the arrows.
An oval is used to show inputs (start) and show the outputs (results or end) of the process.
A box or rectangle is used to show the tasks or actions performed in the process.
Usually only one output arrow leaves each activity box.
A diamond shape (45 degree rectangle) represents a decision point.
The arrow indicates the direction or flow of the process.
Suggestions for Facilitators:
The flowchart tool has several practical applications. Many groups that we work with are amazed with the actual number of steps that are required for their work.
Comments that we have heard: ...."Now my boss can see how much we do"....."I didn't think that it could be done"....."we don't all do it that way, but why not"....."I can see several steps that are wasted"....."now everyone can do it (the process)".
For more information on the use of this tool and/or a brief interactive exercise to demonstrate the tool,