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1. What are process flow structures What structure does your

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1. What are process flow structures? What structure does your organization rely on the most? How effective has the structure been in achieving organizational goals?

2. What is the difference between product layout and process layout?
Which product and process layout represents your organization’s current layout?
Is the product and process layout appropriate?
What challenges have been faced as a result of the current layout?

3. Choose a process you are familiar with, and draw a process flowchart Discuss how a flowchart could be used to improve this process.

Pat, Note: I added a process control for getting to school at a certain time - 8am The process control chart will determine if one can arrive at school if 1) they wake-up at 6am 2) can use one or more of the routes 3) allow flexibility in that a person can select their morning activities. If you woke up late the process flow chart would determine the shortest time to get to get to school, i.e. get dressed, gather, and take quickest route and hope you don't need gas that morning!

1) Shorten this, but the underlined part is the nutshell answer:

Flow Charts

Understanding and Communicating How a Process Works
Related variants: Process Maps and Process Flow Diagrams

Flow charts are easy-to-understand diagrams showing how steps in a process fit together. This makes them useful tools for communicating how processes work, and for clearly documenting how a particular job is done. Furthermore, the act of mapping a process out in flow chart format helps you clarify your understanding of the process, and helps you think about where the process can be improved.

A flow chart can therefore be used to:

  • Define and analyze processes;
  • Build a step-by-step picture of the process for analysis, discussion, or communication; and
  • Define, standardize or find areas for improvement in a process

Also, by conveying the information or processes in a step-by-step flow, you can then concentrate more intently on each individual step, without feeling overwhelmed by the bigger picture.

How to Use the Tool:

Most flow charts are made up of three main types of symbol:

  • Elongated circles, which signify the start or end of a process;

  • Rectangles, which show instructions or actions; and

  • Diamonds, which show decisions that must be made


Within each symbol, write down what the symbol represents. This could be the start or finish of the process, the action to be taken, or the decision to be made.

Symbols are connected one to the other by arrows, showing the flow of the process.

There are many other flowchart symbols that can also be used. However, remember that an important use of flow charts is in communication: If you use obscure symbols that only part of your audience understands, there's a good chance that your communication will fail. As ever, keep things simple!

To draw the flow chart, brainstorming process tasks (explore brainstorming here), and list them in the order they occur. Ask questions such as "What really happens next in the process?" and "Does a decision need to be made before the next step?" or "What approvals are required before moving on to the next task?"

Start the flow chart by drawing the elongated circle shape, and labeling it "Start".

Then move to the first action or question, and draw a rectangle or diamond appropriately. Write the action or question down, and draw an arrow from the start symbol to this shape.

Work through your whole process, showing actions and decisions appropriately in the order they occur, and linking these together using arrows to show the flow of the process. Where a decision needs to be made, draw arrows leaving the decision diamond for each possible outcome, and label them with the outcome. And remember to show the end of the process using an elongated circle labeled "Finish".

Finally, challenge your flow chart. Work from step to step asking yourself if you have correctly represented the sequence of actions and decisions involved in the process.

And then (if you're looking to improve the process) look at the steps identified and think about whether work is duplicated, whether other steps should be involved, and whether the right people are doing the right jobs.

Flow charts can quickly become so complicated that you can't show them on one piece of paper. This is where you can use "connectors" (shown as numbered circles) where the flow moves off one page, and where it moves onto another. By using the same number for the off-page connector and the on-page connector, you show that the flow is moving from one page to the next.


The example below shows part of a simple flow chart which helps receptionists route incoming phone calls to the correct department in a company:

Flow Chart Diagram

Drawn using SmartDraw. Click for free download.


Key Points:

Flow charts are simple diagrams that map out a process so that it can easily be communicated to other people.

To draw a flowchart, brainstorm the tasks and decisions made during a process, and write them down in order.

Then map these out in flow chart format using appropriate symbols for the start and end of a process, for actions to be taken and for decisions to be made.

Finally, challenge your flow chart to make sure that it's an accurate representation of the process, and that that it represents the most efficient way of doing the job.

Next steps:

2) A product layout: It is a term regarding web sites and how products are displayed the order they are presented in - similar to a slide show format. (I don't know what your organization is - unless it is the University - layout could be the course curriculum - schedule and how students view it on-line to select courses.

3) Use a drawing tool after cutting and pasting this process control flowchart based on TIME - evaluating the variables that influence how long it takes to arrive at school at a specified time.

Product Layout

Product Layout allows flexibility in the appearance of the product listing page.

  • Click View below each layout to see a full-screen preview of that layout.

  • Click select to apply that layout to the product listing pages site-wide.

Pre-defined Product Layouts

The current layout is indicated by the word current in parentheses. When you are finished in this screen, click Return to go back to the Inventory page.


A simple process control will require a flow chart where time is recorded and totaled.


Evaluating the most efficient manner to arrive at school by 8am given a set starting time.

I) Starting time = alarm setting time = 6am


A Eat breakfast

1 cold cereal - yes- RECORD AMOUNT OF TIME

2 cook stove - yes- RECORD AMOUNT OF TIME

3 cook microwave - yes- RECORD AMOUNT OF TIME

4 hot drink - yes- RECORD AMOUNT OF TIME


B Hygiene

1 Bath/wash - yes- RECORD AMOUNT OF TIME



4 full service toilet - yes- RECORD AMOUNT OF TIME

C Dress (includes shoes)

1 informal dress - yes- RECORD AMOUNT OF TIME

2 formal dress - yes- RECORD AMOUNT OF TIME

3 apply cosmetics - yes- RECORD AMOUNT OF TIME


D Gather (includes putting on jacket or coat)

1 items/briefcase/book bag set out -yes- RECORD

2 items/briefcase/bookbag not set out -yes- RECORD

3 disruptions (phone, trash, etc.) -yes- RECORD


E Leave home & start vehicle


2 any times recorded A-D -yes- RECORD TOTAL (sum of recorded amounts)


II) Select a Route to school


A (description of route)


2 unusual delay -yes- RECORD AMOUNT OF TIME

B (description of route)


2 unusual delay -yes- RECORD AMOUNT OF TIME

C (description of route)


2 unusual delay -yes- RECORD AMOUNT OF TIME

D (description of route)


2 unusual delay -yes- RECORD AMOUNT OF TIME

E stop for fuel -yes- RECORD AMOUNT OF TIME


III) Calculate Total Time (Time arrived school - alarm time = total in minutes)


A If a yes route taken has time recorded - record that route

B If an unusual delay has time recorded - record that time

C In I sum all recorded times - record the total


Note: Open office has a drawing tool where you can drag flow chart shapes around the text to create a flow chart and connect the shapes (after you copy and paste)

All choices are yes then record the amount of time then continue flow of the process until all times are recorded that can be.

You could also specify that the flow select the next route after the first is selected by user, i.e. If Route A recorded then record take next route. If Route D is recorded then record take Route A.

Have fun in your course - hope my chart showed you one way to design a process control involving time.

Please accept answer, include a bonus (always appreciated) and leave feedback.

Thank you,


Edited by Timothy the Teacher on 3/30/2010 at 10:23 AM EST

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