Diagrams are an incredibly powerful way to understand your business, identify breakthroughs and increase productivity.
Consider the last time you saw a diagram (a type of picture). It can make a complex issue much easier to understand. A picture really is worth a thousand words. Sure, it can take a bit of time and effort to create that picture, but when it’s done, it’s easy to look at and absorb the information in a totally different way.
Benefits of creating a diagram:
1. Discover how the process really works
Creating a diagram, whether is a flow diagram, a swim lane diagram, a mind map, or some other type, it really ‘forces’ you to understand what you are diagramming. Things like: who are the players, what is the important data, what is everyone really doing and why do we care!
2. Involves everyone
Seeing something as part of a larger process can really get everyone on the same page. It lets everyone weigh in on how things really work.
3. Realize where the bottlenecks are
Redundancies, extra work steps and gaps become more apparent when it’s visual.
4. Creates a vision of the future
Sometimes mapping a workflow out as it exists lets you realize what you want to change about it and create the one you really want.
Once a diagram is created, use it!
The process of creating a diagram is an important part. Now that it’s created, use your diagram to move forward. It can be used as a training tool, to make decisions, find inspiration, to create operating procedures, to stay on track, and help others understand a process.
You can diagram just about anything!
Workflows, dataflows, marketing procedures, and how to chose a new coffee vendor can all be diagramed out!
The tip of the iceberg
Creating a useful diagram can be really complex. Capturing all the elements, picking the right way to model it and being able to diagram it out can be difficult. One of the things I do is work with my clients to create diagrams and pictures to clarify and solve business process issues. Working with complex issues is one of my specialities.
The benefits of creating a diagram can be huge! Next time you are stuck, consider trying a diagram.