Flowchart as an Integral Component of Seven Basic Quality Tools

April 11, 2014
Seema Sonkiya
  • PMP®
  • Project Quality Management

Flowchart in the context of seven basic quality tools is defined as to describe the graphical presentation of a process.

A process can be viewed as a sequence of activities performed collectively to achieve specific objectives. These sequences of activities include set of inputs, decision branch nodes and resultant output. A flowchart can be used to visualize the sequence of events of a process either performed sequentially or in parallel.

As per the PMBOK® Guide Flowcart is

The depiction in a picture format of the input, process actions, and outputs of one or more methods within a System.

Flowchart Example: For instance, if team wants to estimate items identified in the scope baseline, then there are certain steps iteratively to derive at realistic estimates.


Development of Flowchart-A Flowchart is developed after establishing the understandings of inputs, output, decision points and basis of decisions. Many professionals use SIPOC as an input to develop a visual representation of a process.

Here SIPOC (Supplier, Input Process, Output and Customer) is a model to document a process from beginning to end, where team members are agreed for the process sequences after summarizing all the input and output.

SIPOC is a result of brainstorming session between selected group of team members and other SME(s). In order to develop SIPOC model team starts with ‘P’ of SIPOC for the steps of processes. After identification of the process steps, list of output and customers are identified. The team continues from backward of SIPOC i.e. beginning with  the supplier  (S) first and then inputs of the processes are identified.

The result of SIPOC is generally represented in table as mentioned below; here numbers are allotted to each head of the table according to their sequence of consideration:

4. Supplier 5. Input 1. Process 2. Output 3. Customer
  1. PMO to provide guidelines to develop estimates
  1. Get scope baseline items to estimate
  2. Get the team to develop estimates
  3. Get risk register & time phase spending plan
  4. Identify unit of estimates from cost management plan
  1. Choose the team
  2. Review with team all necessary inputs to perform “Estimate Cost”
  3. Discuss tools to generate realistic estimates.
  4. Get consensus for the tool to be used
  5. For example Bottom Up estimate and Expert Judgement gets selected
  6. Get consensus for the reserve needs of items to get a range of estimates.
  7. Get estimates for each item
  8. Assemble estimates to develop a cost baseline
  1. Estimates for each selected item
  2. Assumptions involved in estimates
  1. Team
  2. Business Stakeholders
  3. “Determine Budget” Process
  4. “Identify Risk” Process
  5. “Estimate Activity Resources“ Process
  6. “Plan Procurement Management” Process

Other Important Usage of Flowchart- 

  1. Flowchart is an effective tool to identify the cost of quality (COQ) by close analysis of frequencies within decisions loop along with input, output branches involved.
  2. During the planning process of quality, i.e. “Plan Quality”, flowchart is used as a tool to improve processes that are selected for the project. As per the analysis of the lessons learned from previous similar projects, we may need to improve some of the steps involved. Flowchart is a very useful tool to identify non-value added activities.
  3. During “Control Quality” process this is used as a tool to identify process performance. Easy to identify non-standard events in the process while monitoring.

In short, Flowchart can be used to develop, and improve the graphical presentation of a process and to identify cost of quality (COQ) by identifying non added value activities in the execution of the process. Thus, a flowchart presents the graphic picture of the project management process.

Flowchart  is one of seven basic quality tool, you can watch and listen to the live video presentation on Seven Basic Tools of Quality here:

I hope this blog has sufficiently answered your all queries related to Flowchart. Good Luck for your PMP® Certification Exam.

You can share your queries and feedback on our discussion Forum. You can also log into our YouTube channel watch the video on the same

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