Task Flow Diagram is a pictorial summary of decomposition of a parent task or broad activity into a series of smaller pieces of work or sub-tasks with the mapping of relationships between sub-tasks and flows of information and materials. It reflects hierarchy and content of the parent task/activity. Flow diagram provides a graphically represented algorithm of performing the task from beginning to end.
Task flow diagram (aka "task flowchart") shows how to implement the entire task and what internal steps are involved in the implementation process. As a rule, it is used in task planning and analysis to determine how to decompose broad tasks into smaller activities and sub-tasks. Flowcharts help understand the nature of parent tasks and figure out how to hierarchically organize such tasks by their child tasks.
Flow diagram creates a model of tasks and serves as a tool to develop a graphical design of task breakdown. The following elements of task flowchart are usually included:
- Root (parent) task
- Goals or desired outcome of root task
- Sub-tasks with their goals (which are in fact sub-goals of root task goals)
- Graphic signs and arrows that show relationships and dependencies between sub-tasks and their goals
- Time limits for root task and sub-tasks.