Flowchart is very important in project management – perhaps fundamental – because it improves work flow efficiency and makes the project transparent.
Lack of transparency is one of the main causes of inefficiency in any project.
Whether it is the lack of a clear domain for particular activities or a path not properly outlined from start to finish, this cloudiness hinders the project flow con ostacoli inutili. with unnecessary obstacles. You may also want to learn more about workflow aspects.
What is a flowchart?
A flowchart not only helps you visualize all types of processes and work flows in a project, but also provides a shared language that improves team orientation.
But there’s more.
By using a flowchart to visually document your project, you can:
- Illustrate the sequence of activities required for its completion
- Highlight possible work flow issues
- Find out about areas where efficiency, quality or performance can be improved
- Show high volumes of information on a single screen thus allowing you to handle large amounts of information
- Assign different color schemes to different activities and processes, easing their interpretation
Also, another good news is that project management flowcharts generally are easy to create.
Just use a standardized collection of symbols and shapes to view each step of the project, then connect them with arrows indicating the direction of the work flow.
Once completed, the flowchart is ready to help the project manager and team to analyze, edit, and implement specific project plans and objectives.
In other words, a flowchart is a graphical helper, designed to visualize the sequence of steps to follow during the project management process.
Why use a project management process flowchart?
The purpose of any flowchart is to help to visualize the required steps, which is especially useful when managing a project.
Each diagram includes actions, who is responsible for executing those actions and the inputs and outputs for each step.
Furthermore, in some cases, the flowchart may also include a record of all project documents and other materials needed to perform the actions.
L’obiettivo del diagramma di flusso è la chiarezza e la trasparenza.
The goal of the flowchart is clarity and transparency.
The wording used must be simple and free of unnecessary or expert jargon; the steps must be clear to everyone, whatever their level of specialization and knowledge.
For the same reason, already at the beginning of the project a consistent agreement must be found on how to “build” a flowchart: for example, a square shape always represents an action, a hexagon the end point, a diamond a decision, etc.
Shapes themselves thus provide information about the stage of the process, and a single glance can tell the reader what kind of operation is taking place at a precise point.
The same applies to colors: these can be used, for example, to determine resources.
Whatever encoding is agreed upon, it will also be necessary to add a legend to the flowchart to identify the meaning of each shape and color, so as to avoid any kind of misunderstanding.
Once the flowchart has mapped the steps in each phase of the project and assigned ownership of responsibilities, everyone can fully understand their role and how they contribute to the whole.
How to draw a flowchart
The best way to begin to visually map your project management process is to go back to the basics, i.e. use pen and paper.
The first step is to think about all the different steps of a process.
It is a great idea to engage the whole team in this phase, as different people may be aware of steps that would otherwise not be considered.
Second, you will think about the flow from one step to another: are there any points where the path can split? What happens if an activity fails one of the steps, where is it postponed and how are the following activities managed?
These are just some of the questions you will have to ask yourself in this step.
Next, you will assign property of each step. This is particularly important for audit or review phases that can only be performed by a single role or decision maker.
Lastly, you should make sure that your flowchart is consistent and easy to understand, perhaps asking for feedback before making it official.
Ultimately, the benefit of flowcharts is that they show the activities that are involved in a project, including decision points, parallel paths, branching loops, and the overall sequence of processing by mapping operational details.
A basic flowchart can help a project manager especially during the planning phase.
When you create a flowchart, this shows the method used by the organization to achieve a particular project goal.
How to benefit by using software
If, as we have seen, the flowchart can be simple and intuitive to make, if good project management software is used, the process will be further facilitated. In fact, the software currently on the market allows the construction of customised flowcharts that can be adapted to the real needs of a project.
Some state-of-the-art software provides highly elastic and flexible Gantt charts that therefore translate into electronic form what can be initially conceived with pen and paper by the project manager.
Twproject is one such software. Its recent release of an ultra-advanced version of the Gantt diagram enables detailed and flexible project flow analysis, with many tools to optimise processes and avoid mistakes.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that certainly chart and diagrams are incredibly useful tools, but they are still one of the many cogs in what is the most complex project management “machine”.
Strategies such as monitoring project status or adopting a project management methodology are other ways to further improve work processes.
Every useful tool for project management and execution is present in Twproject. Try its features for 15 days free of charge and we bet you will never go back!