Project managers use several techniques to help them coordinate and manage the process of a project. One method is a project management flowchart, which is a visual representation of a project that makes it easier to keep track of the project’s progress. Learning about these flowcharts can help you better understand how to create and implement them for your own projects.
In this article, we discuss what project management flow is, why it’s good to use and how it works.
What is project management flow?
Project management flows are visual aids that project managers use to support their efforts in implementing and monitoring projects in various industries. Commonly referred to as project management flowcharts, these tools display a graphic outline of the primary objective of a project and then help streamline the process of completing the project successfully. They essentially create a logical order for the project’s progression and make it easier to identify the next steps.
There are many project management software available to choose from, each one offering its own capabilities for creating flowcharts. You can visualize your projects in several ways using these applications, some of which include:
A process flowchart is a common visualization method that creates a picture of the individual steps in the process placed in sequential order. It’s a versatile tool, allowing you to use it for a variety of projects and purposes. In this flowchart, you may include elements like what decisions need to be made, the people involved and the time to complete each step.
The workflow diagram uses the standard symbols and shapes for graphically displaying the business process. This is a method that shows the step-by-step process of the project and the people who are responsible for each step. Workflow diagrams make it easier for employees to determine what’s left to complete and identify areas for them to improve.
The swimlane diagram is a type of flowchart that emphasizes those involved and what role they contribute to the process of the project. In this visual tool, the chart displays “swimlanes,” which are horizontal or vertical lines. Each lane represents an employee, department or team and shows the connections between everyone working on the project and how their duties intersect.
Value stream mappings
Value stream mapping helps companies document the flow of their information or materials and then analyze it for areas of improvement. This is a method primarily for managing the flow of goods or services from a company to its customers. It displays the most vital steps in the process that are necessary to make a valuable delivery. You can quickly glance at this map to gain a clear status report of the project’s progress.
Why use a project management flowchart?
You can use project management flowcharts for a variety of purposes, though they primarily help you understand project management methodologies and how to apply them to your projects. You can use project management flowcharts when you have a complex or wide-scale project that you need to complete by a specific deadline.
If there are many people involved in the project, you can use flowcharts to help keep track of everyone’s responsibilities and tasks. You can also use a project management flowchart to visualize how all the steps in the project connect and track the project’s life cycle from start to finish.
How does a project management flowchart work?
The way a project management flowchart works can vary depending on the type of chart you create. Most flowcharts work by connecting the steps of a project together with arrowed lines. These steps often appear as three different shapes,hexagons, rectangles and diamonds,where each represents a distinct operation. The hexagons represent the start and endpoints, rectangles represent actions and diamonds represent decisions.
In addition to these shapes, there are five key sections that make up the order and flow of the chart, which include:
1. Project conception
This section represents the start of the project and defines the overall objective. At this stage, a business may conduct feasibility testing to determine if a project is realistic and worth investing time and resources to complete. If project managers and stakeholders approve of the project, then they write a project initiation document or a project charter to create a thorough outline of the project’s requirements and purpose.
2. Project planning
This is the section where you develop a clear roadmap and outline for the project. To help everyone follow the roadmap, goal setting is helpful. During this section, you define the scale of the project and develop a project management plan. A successful project management plan highlights details like the expected costs, available resources and realistic schedule and deadlines.
3. Project implementation
This is the section to implement the project plan and make certain that everyone completes their portion of the project. In this section, you can add all the needed details and actions, like meetings, status reports, performance reports and progression updates. You can also list each employee’s responsibilities and how their contributions connect to other parts of the project.
4. Project monitoring
This section is for measuring the progress of the project and identifying the overall performance of everyone who’s working on it. In this section, you can align all the steps in the project management plan. You can determine if the project is on schedule or within budget and then make adjustments to the project plan if it’s not. You can also track the objectives of the project and the quality of the work.
5. Project conclusion
The last section represents the conclusion of the project. All the closing components of a completed project occur here, such as ending contractors’ terms, recognizing valuable team members and organizing work functions for everyone involved in the project.
When a project is complete, the project manager may hold a meeting called a postmortem. The postmortem serves to evaluate the positive aspects of the project and where they can make improvements in future projects.