If there’s one thing I know about product managers, it’s that they love flowcharts. Visual tools like diagrams and flowcharts are absolute necessities for the job. They make data more manageable and complex ideas clearer. There are tons of software options for diagram creation, but not all flowcharts are created equally (or easily). To help you out, here’s a roundup of the best flowcharting and diagramming tools available now.
Ways to use flowcharts
You can use flowcharting tools for all sorts of purposes in your role as a product manager. Firstly, they’re a great way to draw out the customer journey. It’s a simple way to identify and illustrate every point of contact your users have with your brand. Flowcharts help you outline strategy, direction, and vision for a product. You can create full product roadmaps with diagramming software. Additionally, it’s great for creating product flows, finding holes in design, eliminating redundancies and overall just iterating on your processes.
Top flowcharting/diagramming software in 2021
Here’s one of the world’s most popular diagramming tools. Lucidchart offers a flexible flowcharting experience that can be customized to all kinds of different situations and audiences. It’s great for team collaboration, as it allows for multiple users and comment threads on diagrams. Lucidchart integrates with a big family of your favorite platforms.
Price: Free trial, subscriptions start at $7.95/month/user.
Textografo takes a totally different approach to diagramming than the rest of the products on this list. Instead of manually dragging and dropping diagram components, all you have to do is type. Its text-based interface makes it super easy to create flowcharts fast, without tinkering with objects. This product screams efficiency.
Price: Starts at $4/month.
SmartDraw uses automation to make diagramming quicker and more intuitive. Components automatically snap together to keep diagrams clean. You can use keyboard shortcuts or SmartDraw’s predictions and suggestions to generate new elements. Its thousands of templates make it useful not only for flowcharts but all sorts of presentation-ready visuals.
Price: $297 one-time fee.
If you have Microsoft Office on your computer, then you already have Visio. Using Microsoft 365, you can turn Visio into a collaborative tool and use it with others. It also has a web app. One of Visio’s big perks is that you can set your flowcharts to update automatically when the data changes so your flowcharts stay current and relevant.
Price: Starts at $5/user/month.
If you own Apple devices and you’re constantly on the move, OmniGraffle might be the right platform for you. It can be used and updated simultaneously on Mac, iPad and iPhone. It has the familiar drag and drop functionality as well as shape recognition and text to shape features. You can also draw freehand or using a pen. This is a tool that moves with you.
Apache’s OpenOffice suite is completely free productivity software, a popular alternative to Microsoft Office. One of its programs, Draw, can be used to create diagrams. Draw achieves most of the same basic features as the other programs on this list, allowing you to drag, drop, snap, rotate, and otherwise manipulate objects to create flowcharts.
Diagrams.net (formerly draw.io) is a web-based drag-and-drop diagramming software owned by Atlassian. You can build your own, start from templates, or even import your own diagrams. Diagrams.net syncs with Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, GitHub, and more. Their library of shapes is enormous. No need to create an account, you can just open Diagrams.net and start flowcharting straightaway.
Gliffy one of the web’s most tried-and-true diagramming platforms. Gliffy’s interface is super simple to use. Just drag, drop, and click to type. It has a variety of diagram types, including colorful Venn diagrams. It can be used on Windows, Mac or the web. Collaborative work is also possible by using Confluence.
Cacoo is a web-based collaborative diagramming tool that can also be used on mobile devices, so you can make charts on the go. Use Cacoo for mockups, prototypes, wireframes, diagrams, flowcharts, and presentations. It’s got a simple drag and drop interface that’s easy to use, or you can import diagrams using the text to chart feature.
Price: Free trial, paid plans start at $5/month/user.