A flowchart is a schematic representation of an algorithm or process. A flowchart is one of the seven basic tools or quality control, which also includes histogram, control chart, scatter diagram etc.
A flowchart is defined as a pictorial representation describing a process being studied or even used to plan stages of a project.
Types of Flowchart
- Top-down Flowchart
- Detailed Flowchart
- Work flow Flowchart
- Deployment Flowchart
Symbols in Flowchart : A flowchart consists of following types of symbols :
- Start and End Symbols : This usually containing the word “Start” or “End” or another phrase signaling the start or end of a process. It is represented by ovals or rounded rectangles.
- Arrows : This symbol showing the “Flow of Control”. An arrow coming from one symbol and ending at another. Also, this symbol represents / shows the order in which operations are performed and indicate the point at which different data has been calculated or processed.
- Processing Steps : It is used to show mathematical calculations, moving data from one location to another. It is represented as rectangles.
- Input and Output : It is used to show the Input data and output data. It is represented as Parallelogram.
- Conditional/Decision : It is used to represent the Yes/No question or True/False test. This is represented as Diamond. This symbol has two arrows coming out of it, usually from bottom point and right point, one corresponding to Yes or True and other corresponding to No or False.
- Connector Symbol : Two small circles are used to connect separated portion of a flowchart without drawing lines between the parts. These are used to represent converging paths in the flow chart. Circles will have more than one arrow coming into them but only one outgoing arrow.
Steps to develop a Flowchart : Step by step process to develop a flowchart are given below:
- Gather information of how the process flows by conservation and product development codes.
- Trial process flow.
- Allow other more familiar personnel to check the accuracy.
- Makes changes if necessary.
- Compare final actual flow with best possible flow.
Rules for construction of a Flowchart :
- Defines the boundaries of the process clearly.
- Use the simplest symbols possible.
- Make sure every feedback loop has an escape.
- There is usually only one output arrow out of a process box.
- If complexity increases then connectors can be used to reduce the number of flow lines.
- Do not chart every detail.
Advantages of Using Flowcharts:
- Communication: Flowcharts are better way of communicating the logic of a system to all concerned.
- Effective Analysis: With the help of flowchart, problem can be analysed in more effective way.
- Proper Documentation: Program flowcharts serve as a good program documentation, which is needed for various purposes.
- Efficient Coding: The flowcharts act as s guide during the system analysis and program development phase.
- Proper Debugging: The flowchart helps in debugging process.
- Efficient Program Maintenance: The maintenance of operating program becomes easy with the help of flowchart.
Advantages of Flowcharts:
- Easy to understand the logic of the problem being studied.
- It is a proper documentation tool.
- It helps in normalize the overall system design.
- Provides a roadmap for the programmers.
Disadvantages of Flowcharts:
- Difficult to determine about how much programming details are to be included.
- Very time consuming.
- For complex problems not an appropriate tool when runs over pages.
Example of Flowcharts: 1) Flowchart to check whether a number is positive or negative.
2) Flowchart to find the greatest number from 3 numbers.