[sm_smlts_dropcap type=”rounded-with-ring” color=”pink”]D[/sm_smlts_dropcap]eployment flowcharts are my favourite type of flowchart because you can just look at them and know what is going on and who is doing what. But first thing first – what is a flowchart and then I’ll explain why is Matt Damon is in my swimming pool.
Flowcharts are a graphical representation of a process in sequential order; and a process is a sequence of steps, tasks or activities that convert inputs to an output. Basically a visual depiction of what we do to get where we are going.
Interesting, but why would I want to flowchart? In quality improvement work, flowcharting is particularly useful for displaying and communicating how a process currently functions (aka current state) or could ideally function (aka future state). These maps can help you:
- see whether the steps are logical,
- uncover problems or miscommunications, or
- just define the boundaries of a
The best part is – a great process map will show you improvements that can be made to address ineﬃciencies, such as: re-work, delays, dead ends, indirect paths, and of course: “thank you for doing that step, but I actually don’t need it”.
When creating a flowchart you need to have the people who actually do the work in the room (the Actors); they are the subject matter experts (SMEs) and know the real process. Once you have the Actors in a room, have them write out each step to the process on large post-it notes and put them up on a large white-board in sequential order. After everyone agrees on the steps, draw arrows to identify the flow of the process. This will allow you to show how the steps flow from one step into the next and if there are any parallel steps. Next, run through the process backwards to ensure all steps are present; this also helps make sure none of the steps were bulked together.
And ta-da you have a flowchart! The flowchart allows everyone to see how their output results in the final product / service. Now you can see how you currently perform the process and identify, with measures, how the process should operate to continually improve.
Now for the moment you have all been waiting for – here is a basic flowchart showing how my friends Matt and Damon help me fill my pool each spring … wait, you didn’t think I was actually swimming with Matt Damon did you?
About the author:
Angela Kemp is the Marketing Chair at ASQ Ottawa Valley Section. She can be reached using our contact form.
Copyright information: The article has been published with permission from the author. Title picture is not associated with the original writing and property of our sponsor Designplex.ca.
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