How Do I Create a Workflow Chart?

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

A workflow chart is a diagram that demonstrates all of the major steps of a process or business unit. Workflow charts can help you understand the big picture and relationships between different steps and work functions, locate critical stages of the process or business unit and identify problem areas. Special programming knowledge is not necessary to create a workflow chart. Most business professionals can follow basic instructions provided in specialized software or templates downloaded from the Internet.

Flowchart Symbols and Connectors

Workflow charts use symbols and connectors to indicate various process steps and their relationship with other work functions. For example, a rectangle indicates a specific study, analysis or process, a diamond indicates a specific decision and an oval shows the start or end of the flowchart. Identification of the specific study, analysis or process phase will indicate the start of your workflow chart. Decision symbols should be used throughout to determine the logic behind various functions in the workflow chart. The outcome of decisions (yes or no) will determine the direction of the workflow chart. Symbol and connector definitions are typically universal across all software applications and workflow chart templates.

Chart Creation

Workflow chart software allows you to create flowcharts using a variety of drawing tools, connectors and shapes. Begin your workflow chart by defining the starting point of the process, study or system and place it in an oval at the top of your page. Insert another symbol below the starting point and use a connector arrow to connect the symbols and show the relationship between both. Continue this until you have completely diagrammed your workflow.

You can also create workflow charts using downloadable templates. These applications will include drag-and-drop features to help you through each step of creating a workflow chart. Be sure to confirm that your computer applications are compatible with the program used to create the workflow chart template and that you are downloading from a trusted site.

Best Practices

Create a detailed outline of what you want to achieve and sketch a workflow diagram before using workflow chart software or templates. This will help to ensure your chart is accurate and complete. Always consider your process and workflow manageability when inserting logic in your workflow chart. You can use decision symbols, connectors and text boxes. Always confirm the accuracy of your workflow chart with other stakeholders.