Flowcharts as a Project Management Tool

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Intelligence – the interplay of gray cells inside the cranium – represents a force of nature in human affairs. Defined as “the ability to acquire, recall, and use knowledge to understand concrete and abstract concepts, relations among objects and ideas, and to use knowledge in a meaningful way,” intelligence is a product of evolution. This attribute has enabled humankind to control and dominate its immediate environment since time immemorial. Human intelligence plays a key role in a variety of domains; these include empire building, statecraft, day-to-day living, social interactions, professional duties, personal matters, etc. In modern times, intelligence plays a significant role in the creation of value. Ambition, when mated with intelligence, allows human beings to drive project management initiatives in the service of commercial, technical, technological, and scientific undertakings. In this context, flowchart diagrams occupy center stage in terms of driving the various aspects of modern project management. These diagrams allow personnel to control and direct the flow of myriad actions that comprise the proverbial nuts and bolts of project management.

Beginnings represent a key stage in the lifetime of a project. Flowcharts that map the initiation of a project can take the form of a brief illustration that includes a sequence of stages. This stage of project management is vital because it includes certain approvals that enable a project to move forward. A typical initiation can be a cyclical diagram that emanates from the charter of a project, moves to approval stages, adjustments, continuation, and (or) termination. The flow of stages in this diagram creates a snapshot of project viability and the potential of a project to attain completion. Certain actions that attend project approvals may be appended to this diagram, thereby contributing to its visual complexity. Approvals involve high-level decisions from the stakeholders of a project. These signal the confidence of various stakeholders and can lead to a direct, linear expansion of the flowchart. However, stakeholders may choose to abort or terminate a project depending on a survey of various factors. This illustration of the early stages of project management allow us to gain a basic appreciation of the utility of flowcharts in the domain of project management.

Organizational structures represent a central part of modern project management initiatives. Business executives can deploy flowcharts to map said structures with a view to gaining clarity on the command structure. Such a flowchart may form a portion of the master diagram designed to further the cause of project management. The stages depicted in said diagram may include designations such as project manager, project board, junior managers, members of the project team, etc. The reporting structure that emerges from this diagram details the hierarchy of personnel driving a project. We note that the inter-relationships sketched in said flowchart allow observers to gain a sense of the manpower devoted to drive a project. In addition, the designers of such a flowchart remain at liberty to alter the specifics inside the diagram in line with any changes in the project. Further, this flowchart can inform project stakeholders about the managerial talent deployed to gain project completion.

Flowcharts can assist project personnel to plan the proverbial nuts and bolts of a certain project. This diagram, when undertaken, can lead to the creation of a complex series of stages that vertically depict the planning aspect of a project management initiative. The early stages may include a collection of project requirements, scope development, a scorecard to assess progress, operational indicators, etc. As this flowchart progresses, the project plan may include various sub-stages such as resources and staffing, budgets, purchases and acquisitions, risk management measures, etc. The scale and depth of this flowchart may confuse the average observer, but emerges as a detailed document that helps to process the various aspects of modern project management practices. Inputs from senior personnel and process experts allow designers to re-create an actual project in the form of a flowchart. In addition, the intelligent observer – while perusing the flowchart – may delineate the complex inter-relationships mapped by said flowchart; these operate in concert to help attain certain desirable outcomes.

Risk is a common factor in modern businesses; therefore, flowcharts that enable project management at various levels must place risk management at a prominent location. Inside the diagram, risk management must be connected to other stages that include security reviews, purchases and acquisitions, communications, staff training, etc. Such a positioning of risk management allows us to comprehend the many facets of risk in a modern project management initiative. In addition, project personnel may elect to spotlight risks that flow from external factors such as evolving business landscapes, government policies, currency fluctuations, adverse weather conditions, etc. High-level management personnel may peruse this section of the flowchart in a bid to strategize risk-management techniques that insulate the project from external shocks. Further, process experts may brainstorm on methods to reduce the impact of risk on a certain project. In line with these observations, we note that risk management must continue to hold a critical space in flowcharts that depict project management systems.

Businesses that invest in project management initiatives must focus on the execution of a project. This is the stage wherein the proverbial rubber hits the road. Business skills and timely interventions form the pivots of successful execution. A flowchart that maps this stage may include the careful selection of suppliers and sub-contractors, procurement processes, delivery systems, meetings between sub-contractors and project owners, a periodic assessment of progress, etc. This flowchart is essentially a dashboard that tracks the various actions that lead to successful execution. Therefore, project owners must update this flowchart regularly. In addition, senior management personnel must review such diagrams in a bid to gain first-hand information on progress. Further, any departures from an agreed plan must be noted as exceptional; these scenarios have the potential to educate stakeholders on the role of chance impacting an ongoing project. A separate section of the project management flowchart may document such instances for the benefit of all personnel working in a project.

The foregoing paragraphs have charted certain aspects of a project management flowchart. These diagrams are vital because they enable personnel to delineate each stage graphically. The connections between the stages depict the lines of action that animate the project management process. The designers of such flowcharts must collaborate with process experts and project personnel with a view to develop fully-functional illustrations. Such collaboration may promote better comprehension among all stakeholders, thereby heightening the probability of closing a successful project. Intelligent designers may elect to create a prototype of the flowchart populated with placeholders and other paraphernalia. This dummy creation allows designers to examine the diagram from multiple perspectives before creating the final flowchart. This action is vital because it enables deep comprehension of the scope and challenged associated with a project management flowchart. In addition, the use of automation and digital media allows designers to share flowchart creations with all stakeholders, leading to a common understanding of the aims, scope, and limitations of a project. Digital media also allows project personnel to effect and broadcast any corrections and amendments to the project plan as depicted in said flowchart. Such actions promote efficiency and allow operators to adhere to set deadlines for project completion.

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