How to Draw a Business Flowchart?

Product managers and UX designers often need to draw business flow charts in their daily work. With business flow charts, the overall business sorting will be clearer and work efficiency will be improved; this article mainly summarizes the specific process of drawing a complete business flow chart

Let's start with an example:

Recently, the company has just received a project to build an information system for a nationwide chain of medical examination centers. The boss of the company assigned this task to Jose Roberts group.

Jose Roberts first conducted an interview with the director of the medical examination center. After the interview, he output a high-quality complete business flow chart, which laid a good foundation for the subsequent system design.

Goal 1: How to draw a complete business flowchart

Let's first review the purpose of drawing business flow charts. The purpose is to sort out and analyze and optimize business processes!

Therefore, to draw a complete and clear flowchart, the premise is that you need to understand the business. The way to understand the business can generally be obtained through interviews with customer representatives or business experts. That's what we're going to focus on next - interviews! During the interview process, the business flow chart can be drawn step by step, which can be divided into three stages:

1. First draw the main process

Through interviews with customer representatives or business experts, the main body of the process is sorted out. Here is a method, that is, "one listening, two questioning, three confirming".

Listening: first listen to the introduction of the customer representative or business side. In the process of listening, it is necessary not to interrupt, not to fall into details, and to outline the main context in the simplest way, that is, to sort out the roles, activities, and cooperation relationships in the basic elements. All other branches, deliverables, exceptions, approvals, rules are all put aside.

The following figure is the flow chart drawn Jose in the first step:


Second questioning: After completing the previous step, you can ask questions. Mainly ask questions along the process, focusing on branches and product relationships. See if there are branches and if there are deliverables between collaborations. Ask and correct.

The following figure is the flow chart drawn by Jose in the second step:


Three confirmations: The last step is to talk about the process yourself and make final confirmation with customer representatives or business experts.

At this point, the drawing of the main process is completed.

2. supplement management elements

After completing the main process drawing, the next step is to put the management elements, that is, exceptions, approvals and rules.

First of allwe talked about "exceptions", the main thinking direction is: "Is there a situation that cannot be executed according to this business process at all, and if so, how should it be handled? "After clarifying, use text or another flowchart to express.

Secondly, inquire about "approval", focusing on "what approval points are there now? What other steps need to add approval points? What kind of approvals need to be added? Who is the right person to approve?"

Finally, it is "rules", you need to ask what rules are in the business can communicate from the aspects of behavior rules and data rules. Behavioral rules are the rules that each role needs to follow when they collaborate or perform activity steps, such as "Only medical examiners will only perform medical examinations on stamped medical examination sheets." Data rules refer to rules that restrict some formats and contents of deliverables, such as "the amount on the medical checklist should be rounded to two decimal places".

At this point, the drawing of the management elements is completed. 

3. Finally, analyze and optimize the process

After the drawing is completed, only the business process is accurately restored. Further analysis and optimization are required.

A more effective method is to experience the overall process from the user's point of view, and then find unreasonable problems and solve them. The problems can be found from the following four aspects:

  1.  Eliminate ineffective links: Find ineffective, wasteful, and inefficient links in the process, and then find ways to eliminate them.
  2. Simplify high frequency: Optimize the link with high frequency to improve its efficiency.
  3. Integrate dependencies: Integrate interdependent links to improve efficiency.
  4. Automate the cumbersome things: let the computer do the troublesome things that people do to improve efficiency. 

After completing these three steps, a complete and clear business flow chart is completed.

How to grasp the granularity of the flowchart?

A problem often encountered when drawing a business flow chart is how finely the business flow chart should be drawn, that is, how to grasp its granularity. If it is too thick, it will not explain the problem.

In fact, there are three levels of business flow charts. The levels are different and the granularity is different. They are organization-level business flow charts, department-level business flow charts, and individual-level business flow charts.\

  1. Organization-level business flow chart: It is used to describe the business cooperation relationship between departments and is viewed by decision-makers, so the granularity can only be refined to the department. Related operations within a department can be combined into one.
  2. Department-level business flow chart: It is used to describe the business cooperation relationship between positions, which can be viewed by management personnel, and the granularity is refined to the operation between positions. If it is business process analysis, it should be carried out at this granularity.
  3. Personal-level business flow chart: used to describe the specific operation process of a position, suitable for use in business scenario analysis. If this level is still more complex, it can be decomposed into sub-processes. 

When judging whether the flow chart is too detailed, there are two important principles: one is to see if it has nothing to do with collaboration; the other is to see whether it is an independent and reportable work. If it has nothing to do with collaboration or cannot be reported independently, it is too detailed (to the individual level) and needs to be merged (to the departmental level).

The following are two flow charts drawn by Jose after the interview. You can compare the too detailed business flow chart and the appropriate flow chart.

In the first chart, the charging process of the billing staff and the work process of the general practitioner's report are drawn, but the following subdivisions, these two places do not involve the place of cooperation with other departments, and cannot be reported independently (Taking out one of the process nodes does not have the ability to form independent reporting results), so these two places should be merged. The combined results are shown in the second chart.




Drawing a business flowchart itself is a delicate job, and drawing a complete high-quality business flowchart requires more attention to many details. This article combines an example to explain the details one by one, hoping to help you deepen your understanding!

That's all for this article, thanks for reading!

Related Reading

What is a Business Flowchart?

Business product prototyping Tips

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