A Network Diagram or Drawing is used to show the linkages or inter-dependencies in a series of activities.
They also show the sequence of events, including when activities are undertaken in parallel.
As with all of these concept mapping techniques, by putting together a picture or drawing of the scenario you are working on, you will find opportunities to improve as well as finding it easier to convey your intentions to others.
Here is the basic concept:
They are illustrated using:
Lay out the activities in their sequence and evaluate the flow between each activity. This could be the flow of personal, information, materials, documents, etc.
The main idea is to gain an overview picture using this simple technique or illustration.
I decided to draw up an example for you.
Not being a great fan of shopping, I always take my two sons with me and delegate whatever possible so I can get the shopping quickly behind me. What better subject matter than this for my network diagram!
Take for example I plan to do the following activities:
So, I have taken each task and converted it into a phrase - describing the activity or the task with a Verb & a Noun.
with verbs such as "Go To / Get / Bring / Drive / Load up / Return", etc.
You describe the activity that must be completed before the node is reached. After each node, a new activity is started.
There are no hard and fast rules as to how the numbering of the nodes takes place. This should be done with a logical feel. You could try the timing of events - whatever seems to be the best to convey the sequence of events to another person.
Last but not least, don't forget to add the legend to explain any points of the diagram that may need clarification.
This type of analysis is good in the planning stage of any project, also as an evaluation of how best to lay out the activities.
If production, for example, has to follow a particular tact, in order to avoid bottlenecks, this diagram type is key to analyzing the best way to organize the work-flow.
Another use is in the Cost-benefit analysis of the work-flow as well as the development of Kanban systems.
On a more mundane level, the ability to quickly lay out a network diagram can be used in a multitude of situations, all to do with planning or assessment.