No process flow chart ever taught someone their roles and responsibilities.

Process flow charts are management creations intended to assign responsibility and manage the overall process.  They are often handed out to describe what is meant to be done but in reality nothing is as black and white as process charts make them seem.

How many steps are involved in making a peanut butter sandwich?  3? 10? 50 (if you go up stream into the process)?  Really it depends on what you are trying to manage.  But to someone making a peanut butter sandwich it’s really quite simple:

  • Put peanut butter on 2 slices of bread.
  • Serve to the customer.

Within the summary there are lots of little steps around what type of peanut butter to use, where knives should be stored and how they should be cleaned, what type of bread to use, how to greet the customer, how to ring up the order.  But there is no reason to show an employee all of those steps within the process – they already understand that from their other trainings.

Process flows are not really instruction manuals.  Don’t treat them as they are because you may create more confusion than exists now.


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