How To Properly Use Cross Functional Flowcharts

Flowcharts are one of the most common diagram formats and are commonly used. They are a decent choice for visualizing the flow of steps in a process and making decisions in a procedure. On the other hand, flowcharts include more than just the process names as they comprise the flow and type of activity.

When you have a process that requires the involvement of multiple people, teams, or departments, it can get hard to represent this in a regular flowchart. Cross-functional flowcharts are also called swim lanes, and they can illustrate the owners of each step in the flowchart by organizing them into rows and columns.

The straightforward format makes it simple to grasp extra details about every step and helps you understand the flowchart instantly. If you are interested to learn more about the cross-functional flowcharts, it is better to keep on reading.

Where Cross-functional Flowcharts Are Used?

The cross-functional flowcharts are suitable for plenty of purposes, such as:

  • Show connections:

They demonstrate how various team units, stakeholders, or things are associated with each other. Several swimlanes interpret a timeline, stage, or vital differences.

  • Interpret functions:

Various functional regions can be segregated inside a cross-functional flowchart in order to interpret functions.

  • Connect departments:

The flowchart can show the connections between stages undertaken by different departments in your organization.

  • Illustrate a procedure:

The flowchart can help you regulate difficult work in a visual manner by cracking it into specific periods or processes.

  • Recognize possibilities:

These flowcharts can help distinguish between work that adds significance and procedures that waste aids. You can separate the procedure steps into two groups with the help of two swimlanes or columns. This method can assist you in identifying possibilities to improve your work in the direction of a business.

What You Need To Do Before Using Cross-functional Flowchart

Source:creately.com

A cross-functional flowchart assists management in determining which unit should do which task in order to finish a process. The chart also discusses the duties of each worker participating in the project at a decent level. As a result, before you begin creating a cross-functional diagram, you have to first:

  • Recognize Final Output

You have to know what type of output will be produced. For instance, if you want to start a TV manufacturing business, you must be aware of what type of end products are delivered to the users.

  • Learn the involved steps

The next thing you must need is a simple blueprint outlining the steps you have to take to complete the task.

  • Allocated Responsibilities

You can look for ways to streamline the procedures by allocating the duties among numerous departments based on the right examination of the methods. It enables employees to focus on a single goal in order to assure high-quality production instead of being overburdened with multiple obligations.

  • Budget

It is the most crucial step in the process since it determines the total number of people you can include, how many additional employees you can engage, and the total staff to be assigned to various areas to ensure smooth production.

  • A productive drawing tool

Gone are the days when individuals used markers and sketch pens to design diagrams and charts on chart paper. With the advent of the digital era, maximum work is done on computers and mobile devices, so it is further crucial than ever to choose a beneficial diagramming tool to speed up the creation of a cross-functional flowchart without any problems.

Guide On How To Make A Cross-functional Flowchart

Here is a simple guide that helps you use and make the best cross-functional flowchart.

  1. Develop a graph with software

You will have to begin with an essential graph that you can change, no matter how you choose to make the flowchart. There are plenty of intelligent diagramming programs that you can use to construct the flowchart. When you add information and start labeling every component and item, this rough outline will change.

  1. Select a horizontal or a vertical chart
Source:conceptdraw.com

Based on your objectives and the types of data you are showing, the ideal way to orient your chart might change. A horizontal chart could be used to represent time separated into several stages. In addition to that, vertical charts might depict the movement of a project via multiple functional divisions.

The horizontal and vertical flowcharts can be used for a variety of purposes with a little imagination. Using more columns and rows to a table can help to show information in-depth.

  1. Make a list of steps or swimlanes

List the steps or swimlanes that are part of the chart when you begin. Swimlanes can be utilized to illustrate stages with vector lines and shapes if you are demonstrating the passage of time. The benefit of cross-functional flowcharts is that you may put more steps in every phase at a time if needed. You can start labeling the cross-functional flowchart with this list.

  1. Use shapes to represent items, persons, and units

Actors are in charge of various aspects of the procedure, such as employees, divisions, systems, and others, which are usually depicted by shapes or tags. The entire process could have one stage with multiple actors involved.

Make sure to correctly label the column headers and forms. If you want, you can add notes to the shapes to explain what or who they portray and what job they have been entrusted with. You can use several shapes to make the chart as thorough as possible.

Bottom Line

The cross-functional flowchart makes it easy for the administration to evaluate the whole workflow and the individuals and teams included in it. The primary objective of this flowchart is to depict the total divisions or employees related to achieving a specific goal.

The chart provides an exact understanding of the procedure or numerous methods in an instant. From the above information, it is clear that you can use this type of flowchart for different purposes.


Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignpolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com