Let's take a look at starting a simple process diagram from scratch, in this article we'll look at some basic functions and what you need in order to get started learning more complex elements of TeamFlow.
First, we're going to need to look at our dashboard, we've discussed the dashboard before in previous article in the "Getting Started" section, to learn more about it or to get a recap look over at the RELATED ARTICLES above.
We're going to start this diagram by clicking on the "NEW DIAGRAM" button, it's the blue button on the top left-hand side of the screen, right under the TeamFlow name and logo.
When you click this button a popup will appear on screen with some options for you to look over depending on the type of diagram you need. To make things simple we're going to stay on the "NEW" tab and keep the rest of the settings as they are; now just move down to the text field in the middle of the popup.
This is where we put our title of our diagram, let's call it "First Diagram", next we'll simply click the "CREATE" button on the button right of the popup. Once we click this, we will see a change in the view.
We'll be greeted with a blank diagram with no data or nodes in it yet, don't worry we'll start adding in some information soon. If you would like a deeper dive into the "Interface Layout" you can reference our RELATED ARTLICES or you can click here to directly link you to the article.
Before we start adding in nodes, links, and data, we'll need to add in "swimlanes", in order to make any diagram, you'll always add in swimlane(s) first. To add one, click on the square dashed box in the diagram canvas near the top left of the page that reads "Add Swimlane". Once we click this, we'll see a new view with the swimlane popup.
At its core swimlanes are the vertical lanes that data (nodes) are assigned to. What this means, is that traditionally, a swimlane is populated by an entity that is in control of that node such as a meeting or a report, these can extend to others as well if more people are needed to satisfy the node.
Each swimlane is divided into three primary sections: name, title, and label but we'll talk more about that later. For now let's just add in some information. All three fields are not required but it helps make your diagram more structured, especially if you intend other people to look at it.
Now that we've added in our swimlane content:
Title: The Grey
We can now click the "CREATE" button on the bottom right of the popup, we'll be able to see our first swimlane! You did it! Now following the same process, let's add in one more swimlane so we have two.
Here we've added in a swimlane with the following data using the same steps as mentioned above:
Title Lord of Rivendale
The only difference here you might see is that in the popup there was a small grey square, to the right of the "Label" field, this assigns a color to the swimlane, for "Elrond" I've clicked the square and chosen a yellow color, you can choose any color you like, the colors are there to help you better visualize the categorical difference in your swimlanes.
Now that we have our two swimlanes, let's start making a simple process, just above the swimlanes is the "tool bar", this is where we have all our powers to change the diagram to what we need. If you look at the far left side of the tool bar you'll see a button with the word "Task" underneath it, that's our task node.
In order to see it in the diagram you'll need to hold down on the button and then drag it out into the canvas. Let's drag it out now under our first swimlane we made. Under "Gandalf".
Done! Now we have a task associated with Gandalf. However, right now Gandalf just knows that he has a task todo but doesn't know anything pass that, we need to populate the task with specifics and data so the process makes sense to him.
Go ahead and hover your cursor on the task node you just placed down. You'll see the silhouette of a light bulb, bring your cursor on top of that lightbulb and it will light up! Now all you need to do is click on the lightbulb and a new sidebar will emerge from the right side of the screen.
There it is. Let's add in some information for Gandalf - Let's add in the title of the task, a short description and that's all we really need right now, there are a lot more you can do with this sidebar but for now, let's just keep it simple. The task is simply:
Title: Get to Elrond
Description: Travel from The Shire to the house of Elrond
Simple enough. Now we know in this process, the first task is to get to Elrond
Next, we're going to follow the same process, except this time we're going to use a different node. We're going to click and drag again, but this is a "Meeting" node, (the node immediately to the right of the task node) and we're going to place it under the Elrond swimlane to show that Elrond is the primary on this node.
We're also going to hover on the center of the node and click the lightbulb to open up the sidebar again to supply more information about what is happening. Just like before let's give the node a title:
Title: Meeting with Elrond and Gandalf
To add to this, since it's not just one swimlane doing something, it's two swimlanes needed for this meeting, we're going to assign Gandalf to this node as well. While still in the sidebar click "Assign Swimlane to Meeting" and our other swimlane "Gandalf" will be there. Click on him, then click the "SAVE" button on the bottom right of the sidebar to keep our data and now we'll see the changes appear in our diagram canvas.
We're almost done, so now in our diagram, we have two swimlanes; Gandalf and Elrond, they need to get together but Gandalf needs to get to Elrond first, so we have a task to get there, then a meeting. To show these two events are connect we need to hover our mouse cursor just below the node till we see a transparent grey circle appear.
Once we see this, click within the circle and while holding down your mouse button drag away your cursor, you should see a link form and follow your cursor. All you need to do now is place your cursor on the green meeting node and then let go, it should snap to the node, now signifying the flow of the process.
That's it! You've made your first diagram! There is one last step, and while we consider it a best practice it's not required to complete a process diagram.
Just like you did before, look in the tool bar and find the button that says "milestone", all you need to do is click and drag that node to the end of the diagram you set up, and since the meeting is the last node, you just need to bring it below that. This will show to people that the process is over and you can move on to other aspects of your work. If you like, just as we did before you can click into the node and add a title, here we titled it "Meeting completed".
TeamFlow is a powerful tool with many different data avenues, to learn about the more complex options you have, check out the rest of the knowledge base and review the "RELATED ARTICLES".