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Swim Lane Graphics Offer a Better View of Your Resource Pool

Swimlane Graphics and Pools are Used to Organize Process Diagrams and Their Contents

Proposal Graphics Swimlanes sample

Stay in your lane

Swimlanes divide the process diagram into horizontal areas that are used to organize the items on the process diagram. Swimlane graphics improve the readability of process diagrams.

Everybody in the pool

The collection of swimlanes of a process diagram is called the pool. Use swimlanes to organize process diagrams in a way that best suites your needs. For example, you may want to use swimlanes to organize the operations in a process by department. Each swimlane represents a different department, and the operations are placed in the swimlane according to the department that completes the operation.

Best Practices

Identify the lanes. Decide how to divide the main topic into groups, which will be represented by swim lanes.
Start your chart. Define the start point of the process or system to be visualized.
Add a line. If the next process will be in a different swim lane, draw an arrow from the side of the start point to the swim lane the process will be in.
Add a process. At the point of the arrow, draw a rectangle and write a brief description of it inside. Continue in this manner to complete adding processes.
Add a line. Connect each box with an arrow to indicate the flow.
Verify accuracy. Consult with all stakeholders to verify accuracy.

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Chris Cairns

Some tools never die in their usefulness. I wrote about a pretty cool online resource called LucidChart, which you can use to produce such diagrams and flowcharts. Do you have a particular tool preference?


Thanks for commentiing Chris.

You are right, some tools never die. I guess it’s because we are all so process oriented. Our artists use the Adobe Creative Suites. There’s huge demand for the kind of flexibility creating charts and graphs from scratch provides. So many agencies are concerned with adhering to brand standards of color and originality of symbols and icons that we rarely get a chance to use other tools.