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What Is a Swimlane in Project Management

When it comes to managing complex projects, it can be helpful to visualize the tasks each person or group is responsible for. That’s why you need to know what a swimlane is in project management. A swimlane in project management is a flowchart that is divided into lanes by group, individual, or even sub-process.

Swim lanes in project management typically depict a business process from start to finish. However, a project swimlane differs from a typical flowchart in that it separates the process information into individual or group tasks. Each person or group is designated a lane, and the tasks they are responsible for are listed in that lane, from first to last. 

Swimlanes can show how different departments are responsible for various tasks in a flowchart by delineating a different lane for each department. This can help give department members an understanding of how delays in their lane can affect the entire business process, delivery dates, and deadlines. 

Swimlanes differ from gantt charts because gantt charts only show tasks and their dependencies in flowchart format. However, swimlanes in project management can show accountability for each task within lanes. 

Swimlane examples in project management

Further reading
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