Friday, April 18, 2014

The Value of Charts

I'm a visual/kinetic learner. I, at a minimum, have to see something to understand how it works. I've been to training someone to do the job that I've been doing by myself for more than 10 years. This of course means explaining processes that I designed, and only live in my brain.

To do this I've been creating diagrams as I explain a  process. In addition to allowing me to organize my thoughts, and clearly explain the process, there's been an interesting side effect --  it becomes obvious what parts of the process are overly complicated.

You see, each diagram starts with a neat box, label, and line, and then another, then there is section that looks like spaghetti with square meatballs.  The spaghetti, of course, is the overly complex part of the process, a part that should probably be targeted for some improvement.  The key is to create the chart on the fly not plan it. Once you start planning it out you can make everything neat and miss the point of the exercise.

This looks like great way to analyze and improve processes. Try it and let me know how it goes. If you know of a formalized process that does something like this, I'd like to hear about it.