A Work Flow diagram is a type of Process Diagram that uses icons instead of abstract shapes to represent people, departments and steps in a process. The graphical nature of a work flow diagram created with Microsoft Visio makes it particularly suitable for describing any type of technical process to non-technical people, as the icons are far more realistic.
Icons in a Visio Work Flow Diagram
While work flow diagrams are used extensively by business analysts, particularly software architects using UML to create activity diagrams, the icons used in work flow diagrams in Visio are generally more representative of actual people, tasks and responsibilities instead of rectangles, lozenges and other abstract shapes. Any type of flowchart could theoretically be regarded as a work flow diagram, but when a manager is aware of staff roles and any resources required for production he or she is better able to identify weaknesses and prevent bottlenecks which could slow down the overall process. This is why Visio’s unique work flow diagram icons are so helpful, especially when the manager concerned is not technical.
Creating a work flow diagram in Microsoft Visio
In this tutorial, we use the example of a process diagram for an accounting department to illustrate the method of creating a work flow diagram. Although the example is a simple one, work flow diagrams like these are often used in organizations to illustrate a process to non-technical staff in an easily understandable and user-friendly manner. They can be closely related to network diagrams which use a similar icon set to illustrate how various components of a network interrelate. You can view our article on the reasons for using network and work flow diagrams here.
This work flow diagram tutorial concludes the Process Diagram series.