What is a flowchart?

What is Flowchart

→ Flowchart is a diagrammatic representation that illustrates the sequence of operations to be performed to get the desired result.

→ It is also known as a Process Flow Diagram.

→ Flowchart is one of the most important tools of the 7 QC Tools.

→ As per Wikipedia, It is a type of diagram that represents an algorithm, workflow, or sequence of operations.

Table of Contents:

Simple Meaning of Flowchart:

→ We can also understand flowcharts in simple terms that are mentioned below.

→ It is a graphical representation of a process.

→ It is a sequential flow of processes & sub-processes.

→ Process steps are shown with symbolic shapes and indicated by arrows & symbols.

→ Flowchart is one of the most important tools for the Lean Six Sigma Project.

→ This tool is used for process mapping.

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When to use Flowchart?

  • Planning a new project
  • Documenting a process
  • Managing workflow
  • For Training
  • Troubleshooting the current process
  • Designing
  • Also used for auditing purposes
  • Computer programming and algorithm


→ Flowcharts were used for documentation purposes in the 1920s.

→ In the year 1921, two industrial engineers named Frank Gilbreth and Lillian Gilbreth introduced the Flow Process Chart.

→ After that in the early 1930s, another industrial engineer named Allan Morgensen used this tool to improve the efficiency of business processes.

→ In the 1940s, Art Spinanger and Ben S. Graham spread this tool across different industries.

→ Spinanger introduced the work simplification methods to Procter and Gamble (P&G).

→ In the 1950s, ASME adopted a symbol system for Flow Process Charts, derived from the Gilbreths’ original work.

→ After that flowcharts were used to develop the computer programs and algorithms.

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→ 1960: The American National Symbols Institute (ANSI) set standards for Flowcharts and their symbols in the 1960s.

→ 1970: The International Organizations for Standardization (ISO) adopted the ANSI symbols.

→ 1985: The current standard was revised in 1985.

→ Nowadays many software are used to prepare the process flow diagram.

How to Prepare a Flowchart?

→ Identify and define the process for the preparation of the flowchart.

→ Note down the title on the top side.

→ Define the scope and boundaries of the process such as where/when the process starts and/or ends? and different levels of process that need to be included in the diagram.

→ Brainstorm with the team about the different steps and activities of the process.

→ Arrange the activities in proper sequence.

→ After all the team members have approved the correct process step, draw the process flow diagram.

→ Review the process flow diagram with other team members who are involved in the process such as the operator, inspector, supervisors, suppliers, and customers.

→ If required then modify otherwise finalize the process flow diagram.

→ The flowchart shows the steps as boxes of various kinds and their order by connecting the boxes with arrows.

→ Dr. Edwards Deming's statement: "Draw a flowchart for whatever you do, Until you do, you do not know what you are doing, You just have a job.”

5 Steps to Create Basic Flowchart:

  1. Define your purpose and scope
  2. Identify the tasks in chronological order
  3. Organize tasks by types and corresponding shape
  4. Draw your chart
  5. Confirm your flowchart
5 Steps to Create Flowchart

Rules For Creating Flowcharts:

→ The process needs to start from top to down, from left to right.

→ The graph size needs to be the same and the start symbol only appears once, but the end symbol can be used more.

→ There is only one arrow path graph for the same path.

→ All symbols must be connected with an arrow line.

→ The decision symbol is associated with the arrow line.

→ The line should avoid the cross, if need crossed should be used across the graph.

Four Types of Flowcharts:

→ Sterneckert suggested that flowcharts can be prepared and shaped from the perspective of different user groups (such as managers, system analysts, clerks, etc).

⏩ Four types of flowcharts are:

  1. Document flowcharts 
  2. Data flowcharts    
  3. System flowcharts
  4. Program flowcharts

Four Types of Flowcharts

Flowchart Symbols:

→ Now we will learn about the different types of symbols that are used in flowcharts.

→ There are many symbols used in the chart preparation but out of that, we will learn about the most common symbols.

⏩ The most common flowchart symbols are:

  • Oval
  • Flowline / Arrow line
  • Diamond
  • Rectangle
  • Parallelogram
  • Single document graph
  • Multiple documents graph
  • Delay Activity

(a) Oval:

→ This is used for Start and End activity or we can say the beginning or end of a program.

→ In this symbol generally "Start" or "End" words are used or other phrases used such as "submit inquiry" or "receive product".

(b) Flowline / Arrow line:

→ The flowline or arrow line shows the order of operation.

→ Arrow line used to indicate line coming from one symbol and ending at another

(c) Diamond:

→ Diamond is used for decision-making purposes.

→For yes/no or true/false activity, we use a diamond.

(d) Rectangle:

→ We use a rectangle for change the value, shape, or location of data.

→ For different symbol, their use, and example refer to the below picture.

Flowchart Symbols

(e) Parallelogram:

→ The parallelogram is used for input and output data.

→ It is also used for entering data or displaying results.

(f) Single document graph:

→ It is used to display a single document in any process.

(g) Multiple documents graph:

→ It is used to display multiple documents in any process.

(h) Delay Activity:

→ The Delay shape represents a waiting period where no activity is done.

→ For different symbol, their use, and example refer to the below picture.

Process Flow Diagram Symbols

Flow Charts Examples:

Refer to the below-mentioned four different categories of flowcharts.

  1. Macro
  2. Mini
  3. Micro
  4. Matrix Flowchart

→ Now we will see examples as mentioned below for each category.

(1) Macro Flowchart:

→ The macro flowchart shows only the major steps of the process in the chart.

→ For better understanding we have taken one example of a macro flowchart.

→ In this example, we can see starting activity, end activity, and very few middle activities.

(2) Mini Flowchart:

→ The mini flowchart is in little detail as compared to the macro flowchart.

→ Refer to the below picture for an example of a mini flowchart.

(3) Micro Flowchart:

→ The micro flowchart is a very detailed chart compared to the two previously explained charts.

→ In the micro flowchart we need to mention all activities in detail during the creation of the chart.

→ We have mentioned the different charts with examples in the below picture.

Examples of Flowcharts

(4) Matrix Flowchart:

→ Matrix flowchart is a very effective chart.

→ In this chart, we need to mention process steps with the department and responsible person as a part of the matrix.

→ So we can easily understand which process step belongs to which department and who is responsible for that step and control.

→ For better understanding refer below example.

Example of Matrix Flowchart

Benefits of Flowchart:

  • Improve process understanding
  • Provide a tool for training
  • Identify problem areas and improvement opportunities
  • Define and analyze processes in an easy way
  • Improved communication
  • Streamlined process and easy documentation
  • It is an effective tool for problem-solving and decision-making
  • Provide visual clarity


→ Flowcharts are very useful tools in different fields for representing processes, systems, or algorithms through diagrams.

→ It helps us in different ways that are mentioned below.

→ Flowcharts provide a clear and visual representation of complex processes.

→ With this we can easily understand any complex process very easily.

→ They enhance communication among team members by providing common visual signage language so all are on the same page.

→ Flowcharts are very useful to identify bottlenecks in any process.

→ It helps for documentation of any process and we can easily train new employees.

→ It is very useful to make the right decision by knowing about the consequences of different choices.

→ By using this tool, we can eliminate unnecessary steps from the process and make our process more efficient.

→ Flowcharts is a very flexible tool so we can easily modify and incorporate different changes in processes.

→ So finally, we can say that flowcharts are essential tools that strengthen our understanding, communication, problem-solving, documentation, decision-making, efficiency, and flexibility within various contexts.


  1. Very good explanation it is very easy to understand.
    Good job bro

  2. hello sir , superb your notes and you .i,m study core tools . its very simple .
    thanks sir .
    best regard
    vineet kr. sagwal

  3. Thank you for your effort of making these notes easy & simple to understand.

    1. Your notes are systemic presented so very easy to understand.

    2. Thanks you for your kind words!!!!

  4. Hi.. Thank you for sharing valuable information. Can you please explain matrix flowchart with a few more example wrt manufacturing sector? Also how to put a flowchart for feedback mechanism?

    1. Sure we will do needful. Thanks for your valuable feedback

  5. Why can't we download this slides ... And too much advertisement.

  6. Mr.Nikunj .can I have your contact number

  7. Very excellent explanation with example.

  8. Hello sir, i am a diploma engineer trainee and i do my internship in projects management dept. Can u provide me projects management documents like time line,gcr,are u ready etc etc

    If possible please provide.
    Thanks with best regards
    Soumen Tantubay


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