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String Diagram: Practical variations

The Quality Toolbook > String Diagram > Practical variations

When to use it | How to understand it | Example | How to do it | Practical variations


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Practical variations

  • Do a Flow Process Chart first, then follow up with a String Diagram. This helps clarify the actions in the process, making the String Diagram easier to complete. It also results in a more complete analysis.
  • Draw the map and 'string' on a single sheet of paper. This requires less resources, and gives a result that can be easily copied, although it is less flexible for redesigning.
  • Do multiple plots on the same diagram, for example where one person does the same process in a different way, or where multiple people or items are involved.
  • Use colored pins to indicate different action types or different plots done on the same map.
  • Use colored string to show different plots.
  • If it is significant, add the time taken for each movement.
  • Annotate the diagram with pertinent notes to help interpretation, for example by giving notes on what is being done at each point, and why.
  • A Topological Movement Chart represents locations as small circles and movement as lines between them. The distance is written next to each line, as below. This is particularly useful for movement between remote sites, such as travel between buildings or towns.



Fig. 1. Topological Movement CHart


  • A Travel Chart is useful where there are multiple (and possibly irregular) movement between places. It is a variation on the Check Sheet, indicating movements from and to any combination of a given set of locations, as below.



Fig. 2. Travel Chart



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