We’ve all heard the phrase quality over quantity, right?
While fighting tooth and nail through middle school, this was the mantra to live by, and even now, this sentiment still rings true when it comes to many things in life.
But that’s the point! We now know quality and quantity are necessary and constant elements of life.
Whether your information is qualitative or quantitative, we need to look at these items as separate entities to understand them properly. That’s where graphs and diagrams come in handy.
Numerical information is represented by things like columns, line graphs, bar charts, or—my personal favorite—pie charts.
Whereas qualitative data (information not defined by a single number) is better represented by diagrams like Mind Maps or Gantt Charts.
Both are key to the success of any healthy business, but sometimes, coming up with the right diagrams to best convey qualitative information is tough. That’s why you’re going to love this blog.
Consider this article your new go-to guide for the top 10 diagrams you need to know for any type of workflow, including when to use them, examples, real-life testimonials, and must-have tricks for making them fast.
10 Types of Diagrams Examples for Your Team
Before we go any further here, let’s set something straight. What is qualitative data?
Qualitative data is any information that cannot be expressed with a numerical value or counted. This may include steps in a workflow, members of an organization, images, concepts, timelines, and much more.
Like quantitative data, there is a right and a wrong way to express qualitative data depending on what you try to do with it. This is why it’s key to determine your information’s purpose before committing to a specific diagram type.
This may sound like a tall ask, but for all of my fellow visual learners out there, it’ll make a lot more sense when you see examples IRL—which we have for you!
So without further ado, here are our 10 favorite diagrams with examples.
P.S. super helpful templates lie ahead.
1. Mind map diagram
If you’ve ever used a free project management software like ClickUp, you’ve probably heard of this popular workflow diagram. Mind maps are an excellent tool for planning workflows, visualizing task dependencies, brainstorming new processes—and feeling creative while doing it!
These diagrams typically start with one main idea or with an end goal in mind to branch out, and your diagram naturally takes shape from there. They are highly visual, and the best ones are also flexible, customizable, and collaborative.
Like a web or even a stream of consciousness, mind maps connect ideas (nodes) together to visually convey how one project phase leads to the next.
And that’s not even the best part! Mind maps can be as structured or free-form as you please. With resources like digital whiteboards, you can build your Mind map like you would any daytime doodle—adding shapes, connectors, media, and even bringing the entire team into the mix.
When to use a mind map diagram?
While this is a popular diagram for planning new business processes or projects, mind maps are also used for things like network maps describing different roles in a company, brainstorming possible answers to a central question, or exploring subtopics of a larger theme.
Don’t feel too bogged down by the rules here, Mind maps are meant to be customized. Plus, with the help of one of the many free Mind Map templates and resources available to you, you’ll never feel alone in the process of creating your very first one.
Use mind maps to flesh out plans or strategies for tasks in your personal and professional lives including:
- Business growth
- Infographic presentations
- Time Management
Ready to make a Mind map of your own? Start here with this Simple Mind Map template by ClickUp and watch your workflow come to life. 💜
2. Hierarchy diagram
If you listen closely, you can almost hear the unanimous “Ahhhhh” and agreeable nod from every ClickUp user around the world. We love hierarchy diagrams—it’s the foundation of our platform!
Like a Russian nesting doll, hierarchy diagrams start with one, all-encompassing topic (like your entire organization or a large department) and categorizes everything under that umbrella by breaking them down into similar, more manageable chunks.
We could talk about our Hierarchy system for days! Read more about how ClickUp’s unique Hierarchy can help you create the perfect infrastructure to scale your business.
When to use a hierarchy diagram?
Hierarchy diagrams are a highly visual way of organizing everything—from organizations to departments, complex projects, and daily tasks.
While organizational charts show the relationships between the people in each role, hierarchy diagrams show how each daily task or project fits into the big picture.
3. Matrix diagram
You’ve definitely seen this type of diagram before—maybe even used one to make sense of a complicated situation or a big decision!
Ideal for categorizing multiple items, matrix diagrams are composed of four quadrants across two axes. Each quadrant represents a different category while both axes sometimes represent two opposing constant themes—AKA, how well or poorly something is performing, how much or how little something occurs, etc. Still, the axes don’t necessarily have to represent anything. In some cases, the axes simply serve as boundaries to visually divide data into four areas.
Like mind maps, matrix templates are customizable. Information can be divided into quadrants in a list form or plotted at specific points relative to what the axes represent.
When to use a matrix diagram?
Matrix diagrams can be used for things in both personal and professional realms. Project managers may use this type of diagram to:
- Determine the potential success of a new project
- Identify areas of need in their business strategy
- Prioritize new ideas
- Compare their projects‘ own competitiveness against similar existing projects
Use ClickUp’s traceability matrix to track all of the technical details of your business.
And did we mention that matrix diagrams are useful across industries?
4. Circle diagram
Almost like the qualitative counterpart to your classic pie chart, circle diagrams show how different elements come together to create one whole product or idea. But here’s the kicker—instead of conveying how much of the circle (or pie) each component represents, the sections of a circle diagram are all divided equally.
Circle diagrams can be created using one circle divided by a certain number of categories or as a number of circles, arranged in a circle. 🤯
You can customize your circle diagram with colors or images that relate to each component. You can also rank each piece of the circle diagram using concentric circles to convey the hierarchy or importance of each layer.
When to use a circle diagram?
This type of diagram is extremely versatile. Whether you’re showing the different cities that make up a state or the phases necessary to complete a single project, circle diagrams are excellent visual aids to have handy for meetings with project stakeholders, while pitching new ideas, or breaking down a multi-step process.
5. SWOT analysis diagram
SWOT analysis diagrams look very similar to matrix diagrams, and some teams may even use them interchangeably. Still, SWOT analysis diagrams have a narrowly defined objective.
Many diagrams on this list have wonderfully blurry boundaries that you can bend and customize to your needs, but SWOT diagrams are not necessarily the same way. For example, you can tweak your matrix diagram into becoming a SWOT diagram, but not the other way around. And that’s because the boundaries of this diagram are spelled out in its name!
Like a matrix diagram, you’ll use two axes to create four quadrants, then label each quadrant to represent the four areas of SWOT.
SWOT analysis diagrams are used to determine how your business or product stacks up against internal and external factors.
- What are the strengths of your product?
- Are there any internal areas of weakness or reasons that may deter a customer from choosing your product?
- How can you use external opportunities to grow? Are there clear areas in your control that you can leverage like training, people, or resources that can help you improve?
- What external factors are threatening your product’s performance? AKA, cheaper alternatives, obstacles, similar competitors, etc.
The creativity in your SWOT diagram comes in the form of how you create your four quadrants, colors, media, images, and details you add to your resource. That’s the beauty of this diagram!
They are easy to set up on paper or on a digital whiteboard, leaving you ample time to fill in your diagram as you please. 🎨
When to use a SWOT diagram?
No matter your business or product, SWOT analysis diagrams are key for determining things like your product market fit or proving your future success.
You don’t have to your own business to benefit from SWOT analyses, you can also use them to determine your own areas of strength and improvement as a leader, freelancer, or entrepreneur.
6. Org chart diagram
Similar to a hierarchy diagram, an organizational chart breaks down the roles and relationships between every position in an organization. Org charts can be represented top to bottom, horizontally, as an organizational matrix, or TBH, any other way that makes sense to you.
Think of your org chart as the family tree of your company—expressing how the chain of command flows through the entire organization and who directly reports to whom.
When to use an org chart diagram?
You may feel like you have a pretty solid grasp on your organizational structure already, but it’s always a good idea to have an org chart on hand as a resource to fellow team members, new employees, potential investors, and stakeholders.
Plus, the only constant thing in life is change. Having an org chart on hand is often the most effective way to convey updates to the chain of command, how decisions affect the entire group, and internal moves.
What’s more, an updated and easily accessible org chart is a great way to encourage internal networking.
Empower your employees to collaborate across departments or reach out to potential mentors who they otherwise may have never met!
7. Gantt chart diagram
Another ClickUp favorite. 💖
A Gantt chart diagram represents the timeline of a project, organized horizontally on a bar chart.
Like the matrix diagram, Gantt charts lie on two axes. The X-axis relates directly to the timeline—the days, weeks, or months needed to cover the entirety of your project. The Y-axis houses each task needed to complete the project, each task is represented as a bar on your timeline.
By stretching each bar (task) across the days or weeks needed to complete them, your Gantt chart takes form. The beginning of each bar represents the start date of each task and the end of the bar represents its deadline.
Part of the beauty behind Gantt charts is how much information you can convey on one screen. Depending on the project management software you’re using or the template you’ve chosen, Gantt charts can visually communicate:
- Task relationships and dependencies
- Task Milestones
- Multiple projects at a time
- Planned vs actual due dates
- And so much more 🤯
Sounds pretty cool, huh? Gantt charts are every project manager’s dream, and we’ve got the ultimate Gantt chart guide for you to learn exactly why you need them in your life.
When to use a Gantt chart diagram?
Gantt charts are easy to read and simple to set up, making them ideal for virtually any use case including construction projects, marketing campaigns, education, daily tasks, event planning, and more.
And with the help of a flexible template, it’s never been easier to start a Gantt chart of your own! This simple Gantt chart template by ClickUp is the perfect starting point for anyone wishing to dip their toes in the fountain of Gantt charts.
8. Workflow diagram
The beauty of qualitative data is that it can be expressed in so many different ways! You may already notice some crossover in similarities between different diagram examples on this list, or see how you could use two types of diagrams to represent the same set of information.
Several of these diagrams are useful for planning out workflows to an extent, but workflow diagrams have a more specific end goal and require some non-negotiable pieces of information.
Workflow diagrams help you manage the time and tasks involved in reaching a goal by breaking things down into:
- What needs to be done
- What’s in progress
- What’s already finished
These diagrams can take many shapes and forms depending on the complexity of your existing processes, but all will follow a logical, start-to-finish flow of tasks set against a timeline to ensure that you’re staying on track.
Some common traits of workflow diagrams include swimlanes to define who is responsible for which tasks and arrows or connectors to show task relationships.
Bonus: RACI Chart Examples!
When to use a workflow diagram?
Workflow diagrams are popular in project management but can also speak to virtually any personal process like your workday, quarterly goals, educational planning, or even training your new dog.
By clearly mapping out each phase in a project or goal, you can help prevent bottlenecks before they happen, improve communication among your team, increase efficiency, and take more ownership over the things you accomplish. We love that.
9. Flowchart diagram
Similar to a workflow diagram, flowcharts visualize the path you’ll take in a specific process.
First, define a clear start and ending point to your diagram, then use shapes to represent each step in your process. Connect these shapes with lines and arrows to express the order of operations.
When to use a flowchart diagram?
While flowcharts are commonly used to map out a series of events from the beginning through the end, you can also add yes or no options to your shapes to add additional processes into your diagram in case something changes.
In healthcare positions where you are patient-facing, in customer support, or solving a problem, this can be very helpful!
For project managers, flowcharts are an excellent starting point to gauge the time, resources, and steps involved in completing new ventures.
Use ClickUp’s swimlane flowchart template for your next project!
10. PERT chart diagram
Last on our list are PERT chart diagrams, which are like mind maps that primarily focus on the project milestones that make up your critical path.
Like flowcharts, PERT charts connect shapes (tasks) with arrows to convey the flow of events in a project—but are more so used for defining task relationships than providing updates on a project’s process.
But with the right project management software, you can take PERT charts very far! Short for Program Evaluation Review Technique, PERT charts can help you visualize multiple paths to completion and prioritize your most important tasks.
One drawback to PERT charts is that they can be a bit time-consuming to set up, edit, and update. Luckily, an intuitive and dynamic template like this PERT chart template by ClickUp was designed to tackle this exact challenge.
When to use a PERT chart diagram?
PERT charts are a more high-level glimpse of a project. These are helpful diagrams to turn to when planning your project’s key milestones or laying down your critical path. Plus, PERT charts can give you an idea of how long each task might take, especially if you’re not heading into your project with a clear time estimate already in mind.
Bonus: Draw.io alternatives
Create Diagrams Using ClickUp
Okay, that was a lot of diagrams—and at some point, you’ll probably need to use all of them! But there is a light at the end of this work-filled tunnel because you have ClickUp. 😊
ClickUp is the ultimate, all-in-one productivity platform to manage projects, create beautiful diagrams, and work with the team without ever having to open another tab. Among ClickUp’s ever-growing list of fully customizable features are built-in Mind Maps, Gantt, and digital Whiteboards tools—what more could you ask for?!
We’ll show you how they work. 🤓
Gantt view in ClickUp
ClickUp is designed to optimize your processes and save you time, no matter the size of your team or industry. Typically, there’s a lot of work that goes into simply creating a Gantt chart and manual updating to make sure it stays useful to you! But in ClickUp, that’s not the case. 👏
Gantt view in ClickUp is directly connected to your workflow and automatically updates to reflect any and all progress you make.
Your timeline will naturally take shape as you add tasks, deadlines, and start dates to your project.
ClickUp Mind Maps
ClickUp Mind Maps are perfect for creating network diagrams that outline the progression of your project. Mind Maps are also the ideal go-to for org charts, flowcharts, PERT charts, workflow charts, and so much more—they’re that versatile!
Visually plan and organize ideas, tasks, workflows, and more, with ClickUp’s intuitive drag and drop functionality. Then drag branches to show task relationships and dependencies, or adjust your nodes’ locations to organize and rearrange your workspace.
And if you don’t want your Mind Map to be all about the tasks, try Blank mode! The nodes won’t be tied to any specific task structure so you can get as creative as your heart desires. ❤️🔥
Digital whiteboard software is all the rage right now, but did you know that ClickUp is one of the few platforms to build our own whiteboard feature in-house, from scratch? 🍪
ClickUp Whiteboards provide an infinite canvas to draw charts and diagrams of any kind—even Mind Maps, matrix, SWOT, circle diagrams, and virtually everything else. Not to mention, ClickUp offers tons of templates specifically for its collaborative Whiteboards to help you save time and get going ASAP.
Add shapes that convert directly into ClickUp tasks and connect to your workflow, then draw connections between them to easily show the order of tasks.
No matter your experience level, comfort with creativity, or desired diagram type, ClickUp Whiteboards will be your new favorite toy.
And did we mention that all of these features are completely free?
Start making your diagram process easier, more visual, and intuitive with Mind Maps, Gantt view, and Whiteboards in ClickUp! 📈
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