In project management, a flow chart is a visual aid to understand the methodology you’re using to manage the project. The diagram shows the interdependent and parallel processes over the course of the project’s life cycle.
Project managers use a flow chart to offer a clear picture of process and to find ways to improve project efficiency. A flow chart displays graphically the project’s objective and seeks to more logically order the activities therein. But, a flow chart can also help with monitoring progress and even status reporting.
The project management flow chart is one of the many tools you need as a project manager to control the project. With the right project management software, your management can be even more productive and efficient.
First of all, a project management flow chart can outline whatever it is you want to outline. You can have one for the initiation process, for example, which would start with the initiation and flow to the project charter, it’s approval and whether that approval is given or not. That would then lead to two different streams: if the project charter isn’t approved, you must either adjust or cancel the project, which leads back to the initiation at the top of the flow chart, or it terminates in project cancelled. If the project charter is approved, then you can continue with the planning process. If you need help with your project charter, try our free project charter template.
The planning process is more complex. It starts with planning, collecting requirements and the development of scope. That can go either to project level indicators or a project scorecard, both of which lead to the project plan. That plan, of course, leads to resources, budgets, schedules, etc. Each of those subsets leads to another point in the flow chart, such as the communications or risk plan, which in turn flows into the change control plan and quality management. Eventually you get to approval, which leads to the executing process, or no approval, sending you back to the beginning.
Executing can be a whole other flowchart, leading to the development of the project team, securing resources for quality assurance and the manner of communication distribution. Again, you either adjust, cancel or continue, and depending on which you choose, you’re back at the beginning, cancelling that phase or moving on to the next procedure.
There is naturally a flow chart to note the monitoring and control processes of the project, which starts with monitoring and control and leads to an integrated change control plan. That leads to quality control, which flows into reporting risk and issues, and so forth.
Even closing a project is a process, and therefore can be visualized in a flow chart. Start with the close of the project, and then the activities that flow from that, including the verification and acceptance of project deliverables and operations, and then the transition to what lessons you’ve learned. Then, you’re ready to sign off!
If you prefer, the whole project process can be captured in a project management flow chart that can be used in congress with the others or as a standalone visual. This macro-flow chart would start with the whole project, leading from the project creation, documentation, task assignments, meetings, agendas, reports, etc. Each of these can lead to its own stream, such as project creation flows into monitoring the project status, while documentation leads to budget, schedule, etc.