Flowcharts are Versatile

“Companies that model best practices, that model the most upstanding principles, end up as the most profitable. It’s not a trade of profits versus principles” – Philip Zimbardo

In the world of business today, remaining competitive is one of the greatest challenges. It takes time and effort to explain a process or help others go through stages of a project. Lengthy discussions and paperwork are herculean tasks and businesses would rather have a way to depict the individual stages in a process in a quick to prepare and easy to understand format. This is where flowcharts prove to be indispensable. However, flowcharts are not just about laying out processes and workflows, but also help with problem solving, data management, programming and so much more. Businesses must understand that flowcharts are versatile, and depending on what a business would be trying to achieve, there would be a flowchart that can help realize their goals. The versatility of flowcharts ensures that they can be easily changed and tweaked to meet a wide range of needs. This versatility ensures that flowcharts can be used to make even the most complicated processes appear simple, easy to understand and communicate, to all those who need it. Rather than poring over cumbersome and intense process documents, flowcharts ensure that anyone can quickly comprehend any process / stages of a project.

Even the most basic workflow charts are extremely useful and versatile, given the fact that they can be simple or detailed depending on the requirement of the user and the amount of information that the user would like to present. Flowcharts are versatile, and work best when they are used to display sequential process steps. The adaptability and resourcefulness of flowcharts when used smartly can help a business become more structured and as a result grow faster and better. The different types of flowcharts possible, add to the versatility of this tool.

A business process flowchart for example, evaluates the input and output of a business, lucidly and visually explaining a process that operates within a business. The depiction of a business process through a flowchart makes it possible for cross-functional teams to understand a process, and also realize the effects of a poorly managed process on both the customer’s perception and profitability of the company as a whole. Given how important processes are in determining the direction of a business, it would be necessary to ensure that flowcharts representing these processes are prepared with utmost care. Flowcharts are versatile, but unless those putting them together understand a process and how it can be depicted via this tool, a flowchart can end up looking complicated and ‘scary’.

In order to maintain the integrity and versatility of flowcharts, it is necessary to ensure that the design elements – that is shapes, texts, and lines – are consistent and are aligned in a uniform manner. Maintaining consistency is necessary to eliminate distractions and ensure that the workflow being depicted is easy to follow and emulate. Flowcharts are versatile is corroborated by the fact that users have the leeway to add color where required in order to further clarify the process steps.  Consistency is usually tough to attain manually, and is also a time consuming task – the good news is that there are several software available that automate the drawing and formatting of flowcharts, and it would make good business sense to invest in these.

Flowcharts are versatile since users can take them beyond the basic and simple designs, by incorporating photographs, elevating the efficacy when used, for example, in a presentation slideshow. Depicting processes through photographs is a great way to reach a multi-lingual audience, where language could pose a barrier. Using good software programs will ensure that a business is able to fully leverage the versatility of flowcharts, by adding symbols, hyperlinks, photographs, and more.

To completely utilize the strength of flowcharts, it is best to ensure that it fits on a single page, with readable text. Since flowcharts are versatile, a very large diagram that cannot fit on a page can easily be divided across several charts, which can further be connected with hyperlinks. There are several ways to help businesses create flowcharts that fit in a single page, and yet are self-explanatory. A large flowchart can be broken down to several smaller ones, with brief summaries containing hyperlinks to a different part of the flowchart depicting the details of a separate step in the process.

The versatility and flexibility of flowcharts ensures that they can be drawn in several different ways. For example: a left to right structure makes the information a lot easier to read and grasp. Another manner of depicting information through a flowchart is the split path method, as opposed to the traditional diamond symbol representing a symbol. This method also uses the left to right flow of a process, allowing the information to be easily viewed and understood.

The essence of flowcharts is their ability to present complex ideas and processes in a clear manner, making them a highly effective tool in the realm of improving business processes. The goal is to improve overall efficiency in an organization, which in turn would lead to enhanced customer satisfaction and a sustainable increase in revenue. Flowcharts are versatile since they not only help lay down new processes, but also help with uncovering serious defects and areas of improvements. In addition, flowcharts when used, to document regulatory compliance and quality control, can help a business it quickly and significantly attain the levels of compliance and quality that will help it forge ahead of competitors. Using flowchart diagrams, a business can efficiently train new employees and existing employees on new policies and changes within the organization.

For those seeking to better their business workflows and enhance efficiency, it would be imperative to find ways to use the strengths and versatility of flowcharts and look beyond the traditional flowcharts. Complex and large processes that have several steps and a large number of stakeholders (maybe globally), just cannot be depicted using basic flowcharts, and even flowcharts created do not follow the best practices of a good flowchart design. Creating flowcharts may seem cumbersome, and could be so if the creators fail to understand which flowchart design to use, and could end up creating a flowchart with a dead end.

The best aspect of flowchart diagrams is that they can be changed and appended at any stage of a process, without the creators expending too much time and effort. This aspect adds to their appeal and increased usage. The diagrams can follow any design, flow and pattern by adhering to the best practices. Flowcharts have proven to be extremely useful, and play a large role in critical thinking as well. Their ability to place complex issues in a visual and simple manner helps businesses to hold rational, sensible, and objective discussions around a process and or the stages of a project.  

Flowcharts are versatile, but it must be remembered that the creators of these diagrams must aim at simplicity and keeping the diagrams easy to comprehend by anyone. Even someone new to the realm of flowcharts can use the help of a good flowchart software program, with automatic features to draw, thereby ensuring a top quality flowchart.

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