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Project management

How an activity diagram can keep your project on track

Allie Kashkash 6 min read
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Getting started on any new project can be a big undertaking for a team or company as a whole. That’s why having a strategy in place for project management is critical. Activity diagrams are one way to help you stay on track and plan projects in a simple manner.

In this blog, we’ll look at activity diagrams, how to create them, what’s important to include in each diagram, and how can help you stay organized and on top of projects at all times.

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What is an activity diagram?

Think of an activity diagram as a spruced-up flowchart. An activity diagram tracks the flow of events or actions from one to another but also the different interactions between events or pieces of data in the diagram itself.

This helps project managers and team members understand how different levels and parts of a project fit and work together, to create the most efficient system possible.

Activity events are often completed in chronological order, but they don’t have to be. You can show parallel events or occurrences or interactions between different series of events in your activity diagram.

How do I create an activity diagram for a project?

The first step in creating an activity diagram is to understand the project that you are planning and the various steps involved. Next, you’ll want to identify the actors in your project and the flow that you want the project to have. Think about how much time you have to complete the project or activity and how you want it to be organized in general.

Once you have this information organized, you can begin to create your activity diagram, either on paper (as a first draft) or with specialized software aimed at this purpose. Each step of your activity diagram will have its own type of symbol (more below) that will note a step or event along your process. The nice thing about activity diagrams is that are not solely based on chronological events, so if you want to add more steps along the way or change things, that’s always possible.

What should I include in my activity diagram?

Here are the types of events and symbols that your activity diagram should include:

  • Start node: This is a small dot that denotes where your project begins.
  • Activity node: These are the rectangles throughout your activity diagram that show different activities or actions.
  • Action node: This stadium shaped symbol shows an action that you need to take.
  • Control flow: Arrows that show the transition or movement from one activity to another activity.
  • Object flow: A dashed arrow that is located before or after an action to show that an object needs to be created before or in the aftermath of the activity.
  • Fork and join node: Thick horizontal lines that split or join actions together.
  • Time event: Hourglass symbol that shows time as part of an activity.
  • End node: A small dot inside a circle that shows the end of the activity or project.

The importance of activity diagrams in effective project management

The importance of activity diagrams has to do with remaining organized in your project management. By getting the steps of your project down on paper, you’ll get a clearer vision of the various steps involved in any project or assignment, what needs to happen in order for next steps to occur, which steps are concurrent, and what you need to do in order to get to the finish line.

Using technology to build and support activity diagrams

With the advance of online project management tools and software, the ways of visualizing workflows and project steps have changed.

For example, you can use things such as dynamic tables, timelines, Kanban boards, or Gantt charts to create a new type of activity diagram, that looks a bit different but is just, or even more, effective. The advantage of using a flexible project management tool, such as, is that you have the chance to create an activity diagram in a new, dynamic, and adjustable manner.

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Project management software makes activity diagrams easy gives you the opportunity to take your project to the next level, by creating dynamic project workflows and activity diagrams that look amazing and are enjoyable to use.

With, you’ll have access to over 11 views, a wide range of colors (who doesn’t love a colorful workflow?), workdocs, and dashboards and widgets. With these options, you can create a project management workflow that will replace your traditional activity diagram and help you stay on top of any project, no matter how complex it may be.

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Frequently asked questions

What is an activity diagram?

An activity diagram is a tool in project management to visually show the flow of actions or activities as part of any project. Activity diagrams can also be used to show different steps in a use case. Activity diagrams are made up of different shapes and arrows connecting each shape.

How to create an activity diagram?

You can create an activity diagram on paper or using special software that allows you to integrate the various shapes and steps needed. Today, project management software allows you to replace traditional activity diagrams and replace them with advanced tools to support any type of project, no matter its size.

What is an activity diagram in project management? 

An activity diagram is a way of organizing a project, allowing users to see the flow and connection between different steps of a project.

Manage your projects, and activity diagrams, with

Activity diagrams had their time and place in the project management sphere, but those days are long gone. If you’re looking for a technological way to stay on top of your business needs, you need professional project management software.

A work OS such as allows you to organize all of your projects, communication, and processes together in one system. It’s like taking a traditional activity diagram and making it way, way better.

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