In Quality Capsule 9 we solved the mystery of the vanishing linen. What was the key tool the team used? Without a doubt, flow diagram.
The reality is that we all know how to construct a flow diagram. At least, to some degree. We know it is not rocket science.
In summary, a flow diagram is a graphic representation of the sequence of steps, in a process, needed to produce some output – product, service, document.
Further, a flow diagram provides a quality improvement team with a common understanding of the process that enables the team to identify potential problems, bottle necks, unnecessary steps, and rework loops.
Analysing a Flow Diagram
While interpreting and analysing a flow diagram, we assume that the flow diagram reflects the actual process in our work environment. Usually, this is not the case.
The failure to document the actual process is a key pitfall that must be avoided. Here are a few potential causes:
I recommend that the team constructing the flow diagram must have persons with detailed knowledge of the process being studied. Segment by segment.
A flow diagram can be a great facilitation tool. Do you agree? If yes, how?
In my next edu-blog, on Wednesday 16 September, I will introduce a right-brain tool, Brainstorming.