A process chart is what you will need to lay out all the steps in a procedure. Complex or simple, when there are a lot of stages involved, a good chart template will be valuable to help you get it all down in order. Process charts can portray a single course of action, or it can display several in the same chart, with alternatives branching from a node. In brainstorming mode, this will help you be concrete and not miss a step. In training others on procedure, the obvious advantage is in the breakdown and clarity.
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There are many ways to go about using a process chart. Here are some free downloads of example charts and templates to give you a better idea.
Business Process Chart Template
Blank Process Chart Template
Process Accountability Chart Template
Process Flow Chart Template
Process Decision Program Chart Template
What Is a Process Chart?
As the name suggests, a process chart is a visual representation of how a process is carried out. It will list the stages, steps, or actions in sequential order from a starting node to the end of the process.
This can take the form of a Process Flow Chart where there are branches denoting alternative courses of action, or it can be a simple step-by-step diagram.
When Will You Need a Process Chart?
Process charts are used in many scenarios where a process, system, technique, or course of action has to be documented. It is used in
- training new employees to use a certain process,
- project timeline planning,
- procedure and workflow management,
- how-to manuals,
- user experience design planning,
- investigating cause and effect, or
- analyzing dependency between elements.
Other Useful Charts
Process charts are useful planning and documenting tools, but for complex multilayered processes, you may need to use much more than just a process chart. Some suggestions:
- Delegation charts. If there is more than one person involved in carrying out different steps in the process (especially in business settings), use something similar to the Process Accountability Chart Template to make sure someone is personally responsible for the success of each stage. This will help keep a detailed process in a high-stakes project self-monitoring.
- Results-tracking charts. If the same process is yielding different results over time, you might want to use a Control Chart based on the numerical data you gather from each time the process runs (for example, in testing software). Using the control chart, you can map how far above or below the average line the process performs. Based on this you can make the necessary tweaks to the process chart on the appropriate steps.
Circle Process Chart Template
Free Process Chart Template
Manufacturing Process Flow Chart Template
Sales Process Chart Template
Procurement Process Chart Template
Notes on How to Use These Templates
You can’t actually use these templates as anything other than reference charts, since many of the diagrams are complete examples of how a process chart will be designed and laid out for a variety of processes, be it
- a decision-making process (see Process Decision Program Chart Template),
- personal goal action steps (see Circle Process Chart Template),
- a manufacturing process (see Manufacturing Process Flow Chart Template),
- a sales process (see Sales Process Chart Template),
- a procurement (see Procurement Process Chart Template),
or anything else in between.
But once you see how to best lay out the individual steps of each unique process, you should have no problem replicating it for your own process on an Excel Chart.