In this tutorial video we examine the process of creating a Cross Functional Flowchart, often referred to as “Swim Lane” diagrams. A cross functional flowchart is a widely used convention for illustrating a business process and is often also referred to as a deployment flowchart or a process map. There are a number of similarities between the cross functional flowchart and other business process diagrams, and although they can be created by hand most are now made using software. Microsoft Visio provides an excellent set of tools for creating sophisticated cross functional flowcharts quickly and easily.
Process Mapping with a Cross Functional Flowchart
The main difference between an ordinary flowchart and a cross functional flowchart is that each of the lanes can be used to represent a participant in the process. These participants are often stakeholders – possibly departments, sections or external bodies – and the relationship between each one and the stage of the process it is involved with can be easily and graphically shown within the cross functional flowchart matrix. The number of “lanes” is customizable, so each stakeholder can have their own and as shapes representing tasks are added to the cross functional flowchart the connecting lines can be used to represent both relationships and also the timeline required by the process. Cross functional flowcharts can be linked to project plans and timelines for extra analysis.
A Cross Functional Flowchart for a Recruitment Process
In this tutorial, we use the recruitment process of a hypothetical travel agency, Fantastic Flights, to illustrate the steps in creating a cross functional flowchart. Although the example is fairly simple, the process is described in a way that it could easily be adapted to any other type of business process. Each stakeholder in this process is a department and the tutorial describes the procedure for adding tasks to the matrix within the appropriate lane.
These tasks are then connected so that the relationship between each department and their responsibilities for that specific task is clear. The cross functional flowchart makes it easy for anyone to see who is supposed to be doing what at each stage of the process; any potential problem areas can be quickly identified and rectified before the process goes live.
Read my article on using Visio to create a cross functional flowchart here.