What You Need To Know Before Drawing A Business Process Flow Diagram


September 10th, 2018 BPM  

You’ve dealt with the chaos for long enough; it’s time to bring in some order. But where do you start?

Regardless of if you are dealing with purchase orders, employee onboarding, or sales invoices, every team leader knows where to start.

The whiteboard.

You grab a marker and start writing out the different steps of the process, linking them together in a way that simplifies the chaos everyone is in the middle of.

However, what happens too often is that people will quickly agree that this process will make things easier, they take a quick picture, and then within a few days, everything turns back to its normal chaotic state.

What you really need is a business process flow that not only lets you diagram the process, but can implement and enforce the process. For that, you’ll need a business process flow diagram.

A business process flow diagram allows you to digitally create and organize your process and then immediately translates that into a real workflow, complete with notifications, approvals, and clarifications.

Here are four essential parts to a business process flow diagram.

1. Understand the Main Components

When you start creating your business process diagram, you’ll have certain parts that make up your workflow.

First is the human tasks. These are approvals or input steps that need to be assigned to an individual. The workflow will stop until this person completes their task. These tasks may be assigned to one person every time, or to a group of people, or dynamically based on a formula (like the initiator’s reporting manager).

Second is system tasks. These are automated steps that a computer can do independent of human involvement. It might involve sending an email, transferring data from one program to another, pulling information from a master database, or adding an event to a calendar.

⋙ Do you know these 7 compelling reasons to go for cloud BPM?

2. Outline the Order of Execution

You’ll want to set out your business process diagram in terms of the sequence of what needs to happen first. Many processes are a set of one-by-one tasks that have to happen in a certain order.

But other business process flows are different. You may need conditional steps where tasks may or may not be performed. For example, your VP of Marketing might want to see the plans for the big eBook release, but doesn’t need to approve every social media post that goes out.

You can also have alternate or parallel branches of the business process flow. Depending on what the item is going through the workflow, there may be an alternate path it needs to take. Or, you may want several parallel tasks to be done at the same time.

Then you have deadlines. How long does each task get to complete the task? Should it be done within 24 hours or less? Or will it take a few days?

Once you understanding all the tools available, you can create your business process flow diagram.

3. Establish a Clear Start and End

Having a clear starting and ending point in your business process flow puts everyone on the same page, ensuring that no one is kept in the dark about when the process starts and where it ends. For example, does your purchase requisition process end with an approved form in the purchase requisition system, or does it continue on to the creation of the purchase order until the purchase order approval?

Are your marketing collaterals finished once they are created, or do you also include distribution as a part of that business process flow?

Make sure all stakeholders know exactly when this process will start and end so there is transparency for everyone.

⋙ Thinking of BPM, but unsure which way to use it? We’ve written about choosing the right BPM methodology here.

4. Review and Reveal the Business Process Diagram

Once you’ve got your basic business process flow diagram completed, share it with others before you start implementing it. It’s like that you’ve missed a step or a condition that will be helpful for your team members. They will have essential input to help make your business process flow smoothly and avoid logjams. They may notice superfluous steps or offer other suggestions.


Drawing a business process diagram using technology has become very simple with drag-and-drop tools and advanced workflow creation. Using a tool like KiSSFLOW, you can create any number of types of business process diagrams for any situation.

Try KiSSFLOW today to tackle your toughest process and start applying the simplicity of the whiteboard process to your everyday work.