A flowchart is a type of diagram used to visually communicate the steps in a process. It utilizes various arrows and symbols to map out the order of processing steps and divergent paths determined by variable choices.
Though there are many flowchart symbols which can be used, the following are the most basic:
Some guidelines include:
-Flowcharts usually run from left to right or top to bottom.
-Only one flow line may come out of a process symbol.
-Two or sometimes three lines may come out of a Decision symbol.
-Avoid letting flow lines cross over each other.
The following is a simple flowchart on the process of determining whether or not to bring an umbrella:
In problem solving, flowcharts can be used when defining a problem & verifying root causes, especially when the problem involves a process. These flowcharts map out the current state of your processes. After you have identified root causes, flowcharts can be used in the solution development stage by drawing new charts which demonstrate how the solution(s) will be integrated into the existing process.