The Missed Craft of Flowcharting | by Lee Fischman | Aug, 2023


Years in the past I visited the Visio places of work in downtown Seattle shortly after Microsoft acquired the corporate. Within the entrance entrance was a glass show case completely full of awards. There’s a motive so many awards as soon as went to flowcharting software program.

An old flowchart

While everybody is aware of what a flowchart is, I’ve sensed an absence of affection. Flowcharts elegantly talk processes, are a robust design language, might be utilized strategically to information structure and never least, ought to typically be step one earlier than coding.

Product managers shouldn’t be with out them both, for some concepts are finest communicated as movement charts. Listed here are my classes realized from years of connecting containers with arrows.

  • Begin with “Begin”, finish with “Finish”.
  • Strains that cross are inelegant. They make me loopy.
  • Branches ought to be binary, i.e., answerable by “sure” and “no” or different equally clear alternate options. They will also be tertiary.
  • If folks learn from left to proper in your tradition, flowchart paths additionally ought to terminate on the suitable, besides when it’s impractical to take action.
  • Attempt to not duplicate any artifacts, as an alternative drawing arrows into a standard one. This being stated…
  • Do duplicate an artifact like an information retailer when it’s extra elegant to take action. For instance, in case you are interacting with the identical information retailer at far ends of your flowchart, copy the information retailer icon so that you simply don’t have a large number of arrows going throughout the flowchart.
  • Don’t use a whole lot of symbols. I typically use the 4 or 5 as proven right here.
  • Use stable strains for development from one step to a different, and dashed strains the place processes retailer info.
  • In case your software helps it, don’t finish arrows collectively on the subsequent node. As a substitute, finish the second arrow on the road stepping into the identical course. This makes it simpler to see movement.
An arrow terimnating with another arrow, versus a more clear arrow teminating on a line
Which is clearer?


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