Yes, I admit it. I still have one after all these years. And every time I clean out my desk drawer, I think about tossing it but for some unknown reason, I hang onto it. Then I was reminded at the SilkRoad Connections Conference why flow charts are so handy.
Chris Corbin, product training manager at SilkRoad, led a session on “Troubleshooting Your eCourses”. Since my company is in the process of converting some of our classroom training programs into an eLearning format, I was excited to hear the presentation. This slide was a great takeaway. It’s a one-page flow chart that points me in the right direction.
I remembered my little plastic flow chart template. And why I don’t get rid of it.
In theory, a process should be intuitive. Logically, I should know the next step. Flow charts aren’t an excuse to create complex processes. They serve as documentation and confirmation that a process works.
When companies are considering process changes, creating a flow chart of the current process can be extremely valuable. It can show us where we’ve “dead ends” or “infinity loops” have surfaced. You know what I’m talking about. When employees are supposed to get approval from someone – but that someone doesn’t exist. Or when they actually find that someone, they’re sent back to the start of the process. It can be incredibly aggravating. Not to mention the drain on productivity.
You’ve probably already noticed it but Chris’ flow chart is a troubleshooting guide. SilkRoad graciously gave me permission to share this with you. I can see it being used for many different kinds of troubleshooting issues. So feel free to take a little creative inspiration from it. I know I’m going to.
Oh and please don’t think the only way to get a flow chart is with an old skool piece of plastic. Microsoft offers a flow chart template on their site. It’s free – just download it.
It could be an interesting exercise to ask managers to include a flow chart of their processes when they create them. I wonder if that would simplify development.