How to Use Swim Lanes in Process Mapping to Improve Clarity

So whats the difference between a flowchart and a flowchart with swim-lane diagram. A swim lane flowchart or swimlan processmap basically organizes activities into groups based on who is responsible for the different steps within a process flow.Creately flowchart software has two objects to specially support horizontal and vertical swim lane flowcharts.

Swim lanes are different from flowcharts 'cos here the processes are grouped by placing them in lanes. Lanes can be either horizontal or vertical, depending on the process flow diagram. Each lane is allocated to an actor or group of actors. Process steps which are performed by one person are drawn in that person's lane. Thus, it's easy to map out the complete process, the roles, responsibilities and the inter dependencies of a given person or group.

You'll see an example of a Swim lane process map below. This is a typical example of Creately's support process. The chart has horizontal lanes which divide the process map into different actors. Each actor is given a name - Creately Users, Customer Support, Developers, QA and Marketing/Design. The actors denote individual departments within the company, and each department is responsible for completing these tasks. In case of delays, this swimlane process map will help us identify the department which caused the delay in the process.

in Summary, adding swim lanes to your flowcharts is a great practice as it identifies the parties responsible for a task in the process flow. There are various ways of drawing them, but if you're looking for an online solution, then Creately is just great!

We've added smart vertical and horizontal swim lane objects to the Creately flowchart library. These objects automatically glue flowchart symbols to swim-lanes so you don’t miss them when resizing or moving the lane. Give Creately a try for free to explore the art of creating easy to use swim lane process maps and flowcharts.

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