Flow Chart

The Flow Chart is a diagram in which an activity or process is presented as a sequence of blocks representing individual actions or steps and decision points, with arrows between the blocks representing the sequence or flow of the process. Steps are represented as rectangles and decisions as diamonds.

The beginning and ending blocks are usually represented as rectangles with rounded ends. If the diagram will not fit on a single page, lines leaving one page are marked with small circles with numbers corresponding to another circle showing where the line enters another page.

A popular variation of the flow chart is the “swim lane chart”. This is a flow chart formatted with vertical columns separated by dashed lines and organized such that the actions and decisions taken by one individual or department are all aligned in the same vertical column. This shows who is accountable for each action and highlights “handoffs” where responsibility shifts from one individual or department to another.