Jump in to a Project with a Swimlane

Feeling overwhelmed by your workload or about to begin a complex project with your team? Try a swim lane to quickly divvy up responsibilities and ensure balance across team members. 

A swimlane showing the various tasks big and small needed to sucessfully get our founder, Stefanie, to an adoption conference on time.

A swimlane showing the various tasks big and small needed to sucessfully get our founder, Stefanie, to an adoption conference on time.

A swimlane is a kind of flowchart that diagrams a project or organizational process from start to finish. What makes swimlanes different from generic diagrams is that they show which persons or teams are responsible for each task or step.

Swimlanes can be as simple or complicated as you'd like them to be, and can be used for a variety of ways.

Take a look at the example below showing the process of building a pizza:

swimlane_pizzaplace_current.png

They can also be used to show the chronological progression of a process within your organization:

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 2.40.41 PM.png

How to Create a Swimlane:

  1. Download our free template, use a free diagram tool like draw.io, or draw your own
  2. Identify the lanes in the project or process. These might be individuals, teams, or departments. Decide what divisions you need and label them at the top of each lane.
  3. Depending on the kind of swimlane you're creating, you can either start assigning tasks that need to be accomplished (sticky notes work well for that) or mark it out chronologically.
    1. For a chronological swimlane, you need to know what the first step is in your process or project. Add a rounded rectangle to the top of the appropriate swim lane to indicate its starting point and label it.
    2. Add steps. Next add more steps to your chart. Each step should be connected to the one before it with a line. The arrows between the steps indicate the transfer of information or flow.