A flowchart is a graphical representation of decisions and their respective results mapped out in individual shapes that were first developed by Herman Goldstine and John von Neumann in the 1940's. Flowcharts provide a step-by-step diagram for mapping out complex situations, such as programming code or troubleshooting problems with a computer. The picture to the right shows an image from Microsoft Visio, a popular program used to design and create flowcharts and diagrams.
Below is an example of a basic flowchart created in Visio that gives a good representation of their layout. As can be seen, you have several steps that may be followed systematically to help determine the cause of computer problem. Of course, this is just an example and not the full set of steps required to troubleshoot computer issues.
Other examples of how flow charts are used
In addition to the above examples, flow charts can be created for any of the situations below.
- Algorithm - List the steps of how an algorithm works.
- Audit - Give the steps required to test a system or process with steps on handle any problems.
- Procedure - List the steps for completing any procedure to help verify everything is done right the first time and every time.
- Program - Steps on how to create or use a program.
- Projects - Give an overview of the steps required for creating a new project or the steps on how to complete the project.
- Troubleshooting - List the steps involved for troubleshooting a problem, like the example listed earlier.