Sometimes a flow is small, and sometimes it’s not, but either way, when you come back to a flow after being away from it for awhile, it takes a bit of time and concentration to re-familiarize yourself with what is going on (and contemplate the question, “What in the world was I thinking?!”).
I use a few tricks for keeping this process as painless as possible, but the A-Number 1 tip I can share is “Be as Consistent as Possible.”
This will give you a leg up on reacquainting yourself with your flow more than anything else.
Flow Loop Organization
Here is one of the adoptions I have made in my flows: With rare exception, everywhere I have a loop with more than two elements I always go around a loop in the same direction. My convention is clockwise because that seems to be the most natural way for me to read the loop, but of course you could go counter-clockwise too.
A Bit Obsessive?
I’ll even go as far as rearranging all the loops in an old flow. I know that may be a bit obsessive, but I can’t even begin to tell you how happy it makes me to be able to quickly identify what is going on in a flow I haven’t visited in quite awhile…and being able to quickly read a loop is one of those little things that contributes to that happiness. 🙂
Links to Other Flow Organization Tips:
- Grouping Flow Elements
- Labeling Flow Areas
- Moving Multiple Elements
- Reducing Number of Long Arrows
- Using Multiple Assignments