By Liam Simcha at December 09 2018 06:09:48
What's a flowchart? A flowchart can be defined as a graphical representation of a sequence of operations or steps. In other words, it's an illustration of the various steps involved in a project or process. Typically, a flowchart consists of a number of boxes, arrows, and text that combine 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 useful for a technical writer. If you're working on a complex process, a flowchart can show you the various steps involved in that process. For example, you could be working on a manual on how to troubleshoot the Autopilot Flight Director system for the Boeing 747 aircraft. There are various steps involved in troubleshooting this system. Each step has multiple sub-steps. By creating a flowchart, you can quickly see which step takes place at what stage in the process.
In the last years some organizations have emerged with the aim of creating professional communities around specific disciplines such as Software Development (SEI, ESI, etc...), Project Management (PMI), Business Process Management (BPMI), IT Service Management (ITSMF), etc... One of the objectives of these groups is to develop a body of knowledge that compiles the discipline's best practices in the form of reference frameworks, methodologies and maturity models. These assets should be considered by any organization interested in knowledge process management.
The key to process improvement is to clearly communicate process definitions (the way in which the company wants the processes to be carried out) to the people in charge of their execution (through training, process descriptions publication, etc...). The better process participants understand the process definition, the higher the probability that the process is carried out according to it. They are better implemented through obtaining buy-in than through imposing directives.
For a technical writer a flowchart can be a very useful tool to illustrate various operations and processes. Before you start your next project, see if you can illustrate the process via a flowchart. It will make life easier for you and your manager or client. The end result will be a better project which is good for your target audience. Note: Microsoft Visio is a good software for creating flowcharts. If you can write a simple sentence in English and organize your thoughts then technical writing may be a rewarding field. You can easily make it a second income stream in your spare time.
Diagrams : A diagram can show a process, hierarchy, or other relationships. You can use AutoShapes and arrows, the flowchart shapes with connectors (in the Lines category in PowerPoint 2007; otherwise in the Connectors category), or the SmartArt feature of 2007. Charts/Graphs : Charts (also known as graphs) visually display data, especially data showing a trend. Use only the data that supports your point, not all the data in the Excel spreadsheet where you got the data. If the data is too complex, it won't be comprehensible on a slide. What to do? Print it out and give it to the audience as a handout.