Activity Diagram: The Ultimate Guide to Using Activity Diagrams

For any company or a large organization that requires large enterprise applications, there needs to be an architecture that allows the system and system developers to specify, visualize, construct, and document the artifacts of the software systems. Today, most organizations rely on the Unified Modeling Language, UML, to achieve this.

UML has an integrated set of diagrams that include both structural and behavioral diagrams. Under the behavioral diagrams, we have a use case diagram, and an activity diagram, which is our main focus for today.

What is an activity diagram?

As aforementioned, an activity diagram is a part of the greater UML, which is used to describe different dynamic aspects of the system. In most cases, an activity diagram comes as a flowchart, indicating the flow of activities from one to another. This can also be referred to as the operation of the system.

The main benefits of an activity diagram include:

  • It demonstrates the logic of an algorithm.
  • Vividly shows the steps taken when performing a UML use case.
  • It can be used to model the software architecture elements, including the method, operation, and function.
  • Simplifies and improves the majority of the UML processes by clarifying use cases that may be complicated.
  • It shows the progress of workflow amongst the users and the system.

How to make an activity diagram

What are the components of an activity diagram? You should be able to answer this question before trying to make an activity diagram. The most common components of an activity diagram include:

1. Action

Action refers to the process where a user or software undertakes a particular task. It is usually represented by round-edged rectangles in Lucidchart.

2. Control flows

These are the connectors between the different steps in an activity diagram.

3. Start node

The start nodes show where a particular activity begins and is always symbolized by a back circle.

4. Decision node

A decision node can include a single or more output depending on the activity. A diamond symbolizes the conditional branch.

5. End node

It shows the end of activity; its symbol is an outlined black circle.

Activity diagrams also depend on symbols such as dark circles, rounded rectangles, arrows, dark bars, etc. These symbols are used to signify various critical stages in an activity diagram.

After familiarizing yourself with the common components of an activity diagram, your next step is to understand the elements that you want to use. The activity itself is the main element of an activity diagram. However, it also constitutes other elements such as association, conditions, and constraints.

Once you have identified all the mentioned parameters, you must create a mental layout of how you want the activity diagram to flow. The final step is to transform the mental flow into an actual activity diagram by keying in the required details.

For a start, you can develop a simple activity diagram before diving into the more detailed ones. Plenty of activity diagram examples are available online.

Activity diagram software

If you own a company that has various departments undertaking different tasks, the activity diagram software can be handy. However, you need to find the best one because there are plenty of sub-standard software on the market at the moment. Our MindManager workflow diagram software is suitable for most businesses and guarantees results. Using it is simple, and its reliability is unquestionable.


An activity diagram is a part of a UML diagram responsible for describing different aspects of the system. It is efficient, time-saving, and can help companies to grow towards their financial goals quickly. Coming up with an activity requires that you remain conversant with both its components and elements.

Fortunately, many activity diagram tools are available, with plenty of activity diagram templates to pick from.

While it is true that you have plenty of activity diagram software to pick from, you must pick one that favors your needs. The MindManager activity diagram tool helps you bring clarity and structure to plans, projects, and processes. Try it for free today to join millions of users across thousands of global organizations.

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