Developing Your Flowchart
After you've familiarized yourself with the symbols of the flowchart, you should at least know:
Oval - starting and ending point of a process
Box - an individual step in the process
Diamond - decision point
Circle - one step is connected with another
Pentagon - one process is connected with another
Flow LIne - shows the order activities take place
You will need to make some decisions regarding your flowchart. The first decision you will need to make concerns the level of detail that you will be including in your flowchart. Generally, there are two levels to a flowchart: the micro level - an incredibly detailed picture of your processes that documents every step and decision involved, and the macro level - a generalized view of the process. When producing a qualitly control flowchart, you will want to construct your flowchart, in most cases, at the micro level.
Next, you will need to document every step and decision that is taken in a process. In order to do this, you may need to observe the process from beginning to completion, interview individuals involved in each stage of the process, or outline the process as a group. It is absolutely vital, especially when you are undertaking the production of a flowchart as a quality improvment tool, that you are accurate in recording each and every step and decision involved in the process.
Once you have elucidated each component, you can then construct your flowchart either using Microsoft Word or a flowchart creation program. Depending upon how complex your processes are, you may need to break the process up into its component parts and create a flowchart for each part of the process.