Functional flowcharting is a great improvement over the traditional way of documenting processes. It provides a clear, concise illustration of how things work and where they fit in so you can see not only what needs to be done but also if it’s being done properly.
In a functional process flow diagram, there are no symbols for people or boxes that represent process steps. Instead, they use symbols that represent the activity (or action) that is occurring in each box.
This method of flowcharting provides a more accurate representation of what’s going on when performing operations. Here are some tips to help you make a process flow diagram functional:
Know When to Use A Process Flow Diagram Template
Process flow diagrams are not for every project or process. Since they describe what’s happening, they don’t explain why things need to be done in a particular way. For example, you can draw a flowchart that shows how your organization approves credit cards but it doesn’t show if this is an efficient or effective procedure. This tool is designed to help people follow processes and maintain quality control. Sometimes the process needs only to be followed while other times steps can be modified so the outcome improves. Using this method of documentation lets everyone see exactly whether there are any problems with the process and where improvements could be made.
Use Proven Symbols From Process Flow Diagram Tools
Process flow diagrams that are not proven can be frustrating and difficult to read. This tool works by maintaining consistency throughout the entire project. It must be easy for people to use so they can quickly find what they need without wasting time or effort trying to figure out what’s happening. For example, you might want to check out templates online for flowchart symbols or take a look at this handy resource.
Keep Things Simple In A Process Flow Diagram Example
The best functional process flow diagram doesn’t have too many steps in one box. It should only contain two or three actions that occur at the same time before moving on to another action. This keeps things simple and allows everyone involved with the process to see exactly what needs to be done without distractions caused by too many details.
Avoid Using Extra Information In A Simple Process Flow Diagram
In most cases, your flowchart should contain as little information as possible. If you’re not certain you need to include it, then don’t. It’s better to go ahead and delete it than to risk confusing people with unnecessary details that will not improve the process. The chart might be too busy or confusing if there are too many numbers, dates, or other facts included in each box. All of this information can daily lead to more questions than answers so only include what is necessary for getting the point across clearly.
Use Solid Shapes and Lines In A Business Process Flow Diagram
Basic shapes and lines should be used when designing a functional flow chart. Keep the design minimalistic using rectangles, circles, arrows, ovals, or triangles to illustrate the process. If there is a need for additional elements such as input or output documents they can be added in an “Additional Information” section below the flowchart process if needed. In some cases, flows with many processes might require more detail which can be included in a separate “Process Details” section.
Keep Your Process Flow Diagram Up-to-Date
You’ll never know if your process is working properly if you don’t keep track of your changes and updates over time. Functional process flow diagrams are easy to use on projects that have already begun because they only require small changes here and there instead of starting from scratch on every new project. All you have to do is draw a new box with a pointing arrow to show the process has changed. Make sure you date each change so future team members will know when it happened and who was responsible for making it happen.
Make Your Process Flow Diagram Accessible
Your functional flowchart needs to be accessible to everyone involved in the project including employees, customers, vendors, contractors, and other groups that will be affected by the process. A good process flow diagram should provide a level of transparency that lets everyone see exactly what is happening in a company or business with no surprises or confusion involved.
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Use Colors and Fonts for Readability
You can go one step further when designing a functional process flow diagram by color-coding symbols or specific information that’s important to the process. You can also use different fonts for specific action items or groups of them if it makes things more clear. These additions help people quickly identify what needs to be done without having to read each line. When your team is participating in a project, they will be able to reference the flowchart instead of having to constantly ask what’s going on.
When creating a functional process flow diagram, you will find they present a very clear way of understanding how things work within your organizational chart and whether improvements need to be made. They also provide documentation that is easy for everyone to understand and use on a daily basis. By following these simple steps, you can create a functional process flow diagram that will help your organization run more efficiently while providing peace of mind for everyone involved.