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Swimlane diagram template

Align roles and responsibilities in a process into swimlanes

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A swimlane diagram (also called a swimlane flowchart) uses the visual metaphor of a pool to provide clarifying structure to complex processes and responsibilities. It can help team members or different teams work together more efficiently by visualizing everyone’s 'swimlane.'

If you’re onboarding a new team member or experiencing confusion on project responsibilities, using our swimlane diagram template is a great solution. Use vertical 'lanes' to divide focus areas and shapes and connectors to show how tasks or projects move ahead in the workflow.

Use a swimlane diagram to:

  • Build understanding for process workflows, bottlenecks, and efficiency
  • Improve collaboration between different teams and departments
  • Identify handoff and communication gaps in business processes
  • Guide better decision-making and project management

How to use the swimlane diagram template

1. Define the process flow, its inputs, and its outputs

Identify the process you want to map out and identify key steps, decision points, and the roles or actors involved

2. Determine the lanes for the process

Identify the different stakeholders or departments involved in the process and create a lane for each one. 

Label a lane sticky note for each key stakeholder or team in the process. Be sure to create more lanes if necessary.

3. Map out the process steps

Place each process action in the appropriate lane. Use the oval sticky note to indicate the starting point and process end. Add steps for each key point in the process. Connect the steps with arrows to indicate the flow of the process. 

Be sure to document steps that happen at the same time but in different lanes. This will help identify any inefficiencies or understand how dependencies may be slowing the process down.

4. Add key decision points

Identify any decision points in the process and add them to the swimlane diagram. Use the diamond shape to represent decision points and connect them to the appropriate process steps.

5. Document any delays or wait times

Add timeframes for the process. If there are any delays or wait times in the process, add them to the swimlane diagram using the delay shape in the template. Label them accordingly.

6. Add documents and annotations

Add document tiles to represent where data or information exists that can be read. 

Also be sure to include notes and comments on the diagram to clarify any ambiguities in the process or to provide additional context for stakeholders.

7. Review and refine

Review the swimlane diagram with stakeholders and refine it as necessary to ensure accuracy and clarity.

Tips for creating swim lane diagrams

  • Involve all relevant stakeholders in the swim lane diagram creation process to ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of the process and can contribute to its improvement.
  • Make sure to clearly define the inputs and outputs of the process to ensure that everyone understands what goes into the process and what comes out of it.
  • Use different colors on the flowchart symbols to highlight key information, such as decision points, delays, and other critical aspects of the process flow. This can help draw attention to important information and make the swim lane diagram more visually appealing.
  • Are there smaller tasks that need to be completed? Consider adding sub-processes to indicate more complex tasks within the process workflow.

How to create a Swimlane diagram template

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Swimlane diagram template frequently asked questions

What is a swimlane diagram?

What is the purpose of a swimlane diagram?

Is a swimlane the same as a workflow?

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