Anyone remember the British sitcom “Are you being served” broadcast between 1972 and 1985 on BBC1?
No one needs to ask this in respect of BPM workflow steps because rules ensure that soon as one structured step is committed, the ‘next-in-line” steps immediate post to the InTrays of staff with the skill sets required to perform these steps.
Clearly, we don’t want steps with imposed delays to post immediately, nor do we want steps under the control of behind-the-scenes “gatekeeper” steps being released willy-nilly, but, otherwise, immediately means immediately.
What about ad hoc interventions at Cases?
Since the system doesn’t know what the next ad hoc intervention is going to be at a Case, management needs to rely on analytics at Cases for decision support e.g. when 30% of the man-hours have been spent, we should be no less the 20% complete on Case objectives. Senior management also needs analytics relating to overall corporate KPI (Key Performance Indicator) trending e.g. if a trended KPI is more than 4% off target, management needs to investigate.
Thirty pct/twenty pct metrics are interesting for work where advancement follows “S” curves.
I recall “early risers”, “slow risers”, “fast risers”, etc. models in construction work but you don’t need to have worked in construction to discover that progress is typically slow at the start of most initiatives, followed by rapid advancement, only to get to where it seems you are at 90% complete but only 50% done along the timeline.
I also recall how staff tried to work project management systems to their advantage – each time a project started to look bad and management complained, staff would re-wire their flow graphs to include shortcuts and compress the durations of downstream work such that in the absence of good rule sets and vigilant PMO staff, project float would immediately go from -10 weeks to +12 weeks, only to catch up with reality when it became too late to do anything about cost/time/performance overruns.
Our project management team quickly learned that we could trend such that project re-sets could be dampened (same way moving averages are used in the commodity markets) to anticipate “real” expected time/cost overruns. Needless to say, we did not enjoy a high level of popularity.
Bottom line here, nothing is changed expanding once-through projects to handle b2b – Case Managers need to manage their Cases and the toolsets required are easily described:
- A Case History for making decisions.
- Some non-subjective means of assessing/projecting progress toward Case objectives (e.g. Figure of Merit Matrices)
- A run-time environment that supports R.A.L.B. (resource allocation, leveling, balancing) because users in some areas will be working on 20 0r m0re Cases on any given day.
As for the right time to close a Case? Yogi Berra summed it up nicely – “It ain’t over till it’s over”.
For Cases, what this translates to is “Cases are closed by Case Managers”.