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How do I read a flow chart?

Being able to read a flow chart is really quite easy once you understand what the different symbols stand for. A flow chart is a great way to chart different processes in your business. It is actually once of the clearest ways you could chart it. Like was already said, you will be able to read the chart once you understand the different symbols.

The flow chart starts at the lying down oval on top of the chart. Once you have found the beginning of the chart all you need to do is follow the flow lines through each step until you reach the second lying down oval which stands for the end of the chart. You will notice when looking at a flow chart that there are lines with arrows on the ends of them connecting each symbol. There are rectangles, diamonds, parallelograms etc. Each of these symbols stands for a different point in the process. The lines go from symbol to symbol, showing you the order of the steps. Without the lines, the chart would just be a bunch of floating shapes. With the lines the flow chart becomes completely comprehensible.

If you start at the first lying down oval and follow the lines your will probably soon come to a diamond. The diamond is the step in the process where a decision is made. A diamond means that you can either go one way or the other. The arrows point out both sides of the diamond showing where you would end up if you went one way and where you would end up if you went the other. After a decision is made the flow lines will probably then lead you to a rectangle. The rectangle means that something was carried out. You made a decision and then based off that decision you did something. The rectangle not only shows that you carried out a step in the process but it will also tell you what that step was.

The flow chart goes on like this until it reaches the second lying down oval which means you have reached the end of the process. There are more symbols included in the flow chart than just rectangles and diamonds. You will come across these symbols when you are reading the flow chart. The symbols are just as easy to read as the rectangles and diamonds are. There are many places where you can go to find out exactly what those symbols stand for and what points in the process they represent. Understanding the will simply make reading the flow chart that much easier for you.

A flow chart is a great tool, but one that can only be utilized if you understand how to use it, or in other words, how to read the flow chart. A flow chart is a great way to map out your processes for yourself so that they are clear and easy to follow. Standing at the beginning of a maze without a map would be very overwhelming. But if you had a map you could walk right through without any problems. This is what a flow chart does for business when carrying out processes. It provides them with a map so that the process is easy for them. So, learn what each symbol means, and then just follow the lines.

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