A high-level flowchart, showing six to 12 steps, gives a panoramic view of a process. These flowcharts show clearly the major blocks of activity, or the major system components, in a process. High-level flowcharts are especially useful in the early phases of a project.
A detailed flowchart is a close-up view of the process, typically showing dozens of steps. These flowcharts make it easy to identify rework loops and complexity in a process. Detailed flowcharts are useful after teams have pinpointed issues or when they are making changes in the process.
Using a flowchart has a variety of benefits:
- It helps to clarify complex processes.
- It identifies steps that do not add value to the internal or external customer, including: delays; needless storage and transportation; unnecessary work, duplication, and added expense; breakdowns in communication.
- It helps team members gain a shared understanding of the process and use this knowledge to collect data, identify problems, focus discussions, and identify resources.
- It serves as a basis for designing new processes.