One of the things that I found very useful when learning about swimlane flowcharts was looking at real world examples that I could learn from. This example, which I modified from a post on camagazine, shows the before and after of a simple student registration process that was improved by utilizing swim lane flow charts.
Here in the before image (click on it to open bigger) you can see the simple process. A student submits a registration and ultimately they get either an acceptance letter or a rejection letter:
You can see how useful it is to draw this business process up in a swimlane flowchart because in doing so it becomes obvious where the opportunity for improvement is – two different groups (lanes on the flowchart) are writing rejection letters. Why not improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the process by having only one group write the rejection letter.
And that is what you will see in the after image of the process, after business process improvement:
This was a very simple swimlane flowchart example yet I think it shows very clearly how these flowcharts can be used to improve a process. I hope you found it helpful.
By the way, I created these example flowcharts in Excel. I’ll be writing a post later about how to do that very easily – if you are interested in learning more be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed (it’s free!) so you never miss a post.