Monday, July 1, 2013

Workflow Concepts : Swim Lane Diagram

Swim Lane Diagram in Sharepoint 2010. :

A Swim Lane diagram is created to describe the behaviour of your workflow solutions in a simplified manner. This diagram breaks down the workflow solution process into the following :
  1. Actors
  2. Actions
  3. Time
Let us talk about these in detail:
  • Actors comprises of the Users and the system that interact together in the workflow process.
  • Actions are the steps or the actions performed by the actors while executing the workflow which may be sometimes as simple as clicking a button to approve requests and beyond sharepoint such as clearing a paper jam some other times.
  • Time segment follows up the sequence of actions and the time taken for the actions performed by the actors.
A swim lane diagram now is used to merge all these segments together turning out to a simplified graph which could serve as a road map for your entire business process. The following schematic diagram depicts a simple Contract Management Workflow process.
The simplified swim lane diagram above clearly points five actors in all.They are as follows:
  1. Originator
  2. SharePoint
  3. General counsel
  4. Vendor
  5. Accounts payable
The diagram represents the following activities:
  • It begins with an originator within the firm who identifies the need for a new vendor.
  • The originator finds and fills out an online form for which infopath is recommended as a good choice.
  • Next the originator may upload some supporting or proofing documentation such as insurance and tax paperwork irrespective of the level of specification.
  • SharePoint assigns a task to the general counsel and send an email notifying her that she needs to review the paperwork. The general counsel performs that review and may require some additional paperwork either directly from the originator or indirectly from the vendor, via the originator.
  • Direct communication between the general counsel and the vendor is never exposed by the preceding process.
  • Inorder for the above step to happen ie general counsel communicating direct with the vendor , you have to swim lane diagram to show that.
  • Most of the case the originator and the vendors satisfy all the requirments and therefore the general counsel agrees.
  • Later an invoice is sent by the vendor providing services or selling some products
  • Finally ,Accounts payable looks up the vendor in the vendor list containing the approved vendors.Finding this it cuts a check to the vendor

Therefore a swim lane diagram integrates your distinct actions in a systematic way ,thus representing it in a modular way and finally making the Workflow process a simple and readable.

Hope this would help you understand easy the need for swim lane diagrams in processing workflow solutions and shall be back with another useful concept in sharepoint. If you have any queries regarding any issue in sharepoint ,please feel free to write me on

1 comment:

  1. Most simlane diagrams are found in production processes. I've found some good swimlane examples to learn more in the diagram community of Creately flowchart software . They are free to be used and software, marketing and business process also available to learn more