Technical Writing: About Flowcharts

“A path has no meaning in itself; its meaning is derived entirely from the two points it connects.” – Milan Kundera, 1929-, Czech author, critic

What is a flowchart?

A flowchart can be defined as a graphical representation of a sequence of operations or steps. In other words, it is an illustration of the various steps involved in a project or process.

A flowchart typically consists of multiple boxes, arrows, and text that are combined to form a sequence.

Why create a flowchart?

The purpose of a flowchart is to show the various steps of a process in a snapshot. By looking at the flowchart, the viewer should be able to identify the various steps involved in the process.

Flowcharts can be very helpful for a technical writer. If you’re working through a complex process, a flow chart can show you the various steps involved in that process. For example, you might be working on a manual on how to troubleshoot the Autopilot Flight Director system for the Boeing 747 aircraft. There are several steps involved in troubleshooting this system. Each step has multiple substeps. By creating a flowchart, you can quickly see which step occurs at which stage of the process.

How to create a flowchart

When you’re working on a complex project, creating the flowchart itself can be a time-consuming task. Here are six simple steps you can take to create even complex flowcharts:

1. Start by defining the end result of the process or project. The end result could be anything from completing a user manual, writing a complex software process, installing a new part, or running a test.

2. List the various steps required to achieve the end result. This will require some research. In complex processes, each step may have a series of substeps. The necessary steps to create a user manual could be:

a. Meet with the SME
b. Research existing documentation
C. Video record the procedure
d. Take photos
me. create illustrations
F. Develop the user guide.
gram. Try the user guide
H. Make changes/adjustments
i. Deliver final product

3. Define the starting point of the project process. This is the first step of the process that begins. For example, the first step could be project planning or research.

4. Write the starting point and the end result. They should both be in boxes with some space between them. Adjust this space according to the number of steps and sub-steps involved in the process.

5. Draw an arrow from the start point to the end result.

6. Along this arrow, list the various steps in order that are needed to go from the starting point to the end result. Include any sub-steps as needed.

Some processes may have multiple branches of steps involved. For example, to go from Step 1 to Step 2, there could be three options. I would illustrate this on the flowchart as three separate arrows going from Step 1 to Step 2.

A flowchart is like a roadmap. It has a start point (A) and an end point (B). Your goal is to get from point A to point B. The flowchart tells you what the process involves.

For a technical writer, a flowchart can be a very useful tool to illustrate various operations and processes. Before starting your next project, see if you can illustrate the process through a flowchart. It will make life easier for you and your manager or client. The end result will be a better project that is good for your target audience.

Note: Microsoft Visio is good software for creating flowcharts.

If you poverty to relish the Beneficent Life: Making money in the comfortableness of your own base oeuvre online, then this is for YOU!: Click Here

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply