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How Low Can You Go – Part III – Case Management Essentials

Blog: KWKeirstead's Blog


This article explores the contribution of three methodologies to the effectiveness of work.

The three methodologies are ACM (Adaptive Case Management),  RALB (Resource Leveling, Leveling and Balancing),  and FOMM (Figure of Merit Matrices).

ACM (Adaptive Case Management)

ACM takes over from BPM in the area of work performance by providing a run-time platform for work.

Here, the logical strategy is to have background BPM provide orchestration for the performance of process steps or tasks with the added ability for various actors to deviate from what might otherwise end up being a rigid sequence of tasks.

“Must have’s” for ACM include giving uses a workspace or platform that consists of nothing more at the primary user interface than a split screen with a user “InTray” on one side and a traditional calendar on the other.

The calendar hosts fixed-time tasks.

The InTray hosts floating time tasks that post as and when process steps become “current” along BPM process pathways. InTray tasks post automatically due to encoding of user skill attribute tags at process steps, plan-side.

Context/situation-appropriate data information display/data collection forms similarly post automatically as a result of plan-side encoding of forms at process steps.

Run-time efficiency starts with posting of each “current” step to the attention of all users with the right skill classification. The first to “take” a task causes the task to lock down (the user becomes the exclusive owner of that tasks for editing purposes/other users with the same skill classification have read-access only).

Clearly, most users likely to be working on several projects (i.e. Cases) at any given time, accordingly the run-time platform must be capable of accommodating multi-tier scheduling which leads us to a discussion of a 3rd methodology called RALB (Resource Allocation Leveling and Balancing).

Bottom line, re ACM, it removes task performance rigidity and accommodates minor master management of tasks versus RALB.

ACM is nothing more than a workspace. Technically it is a cursor position at an RDBMS (relational database management system)  which means an organization can have as many Cases at needed (i.e. 100; 1,000; mor than 1,000).

Case is the place where users practice ACM. Unlike BPM, ACM only has a run-time side. There is no plan side to Case in that whereas a Case can be set up as a clone of another Case, for all intents and purposes, each Case is likely to end up as unique at the time it is closed by its Case Manager.

“Must-haves” for Case/ACM include a workspace per user plus a Case Log where each intervention captures data, as it was, at the time it was recorded, on the form versions that were in service at the time, with a system applied data/timestamp and user “signature”.

ACM requires the ability at a Case to export data to local and remote systems and applications and to import data from these.

ACM handles who, what, how, where plus when.

RALB (Resource Allocation, Leveling and Balancing).

RALB impacts efficiency at Cases both at the individual user level as well as efficiency across users.

You may be surprised to learn that all of us basically work the same way – we come into our places of work and immediately take note of fixed-time commitments (e.g. meetings, etc.). We take note of time intervals between commitments and make decisions regarding tasks to initiate, advance or complete.

If the time between one meeting and the next is long, a user is likely a focus on advancing the state of one large task. Otherwise, the user may try to complete several small tasks.

For these reasons, users need to be able to micro-schedule tasks. There are, of course, exceptions, one being “breakfast meds” in healthcare that reasonably cannot be deferred from their usual schedule.

Bottom line, users want/need to be able to adjust the timing of tasks, including re-scheduling of certain tasks to another day.

Supervisors also need to be able to adjust the timing of user and their own tasks on the basis of changing customer priorities, sometimes removing tasks from one user and assigning these to other users.

FOMM (Figure of Merit Matrices)

FOMM impacts the effectiveness of work at Cases.

FOMM was invented, it seems, by the Rand Corporation – I recall an article dealing with non-subjective decision-making relating to the range, accuracy and payload of ballistic missiles.

Our adaptation of FOMM has been to provide a means of non-subjective assessment of progress toward meeting Case-level objectives/goals.

The value of FOMM at Cases is easily explained – most Cases have multiple objectives. Some objectives are more important then others. The essential contribution of FOMM is to “weight” objectives and calculate progress toward Case completion.

Progress assessments at Cases are subject to “S” curve behavior where progress is characteristically slow at the onset, followed by rapid progress, only to slow down typically at the 90% complete stage.

Anyone who works with once-through projects using CPM is familiar with “S” curves. The usual project control strategy is to calculate the critical path every few days and shift to a “punch list” once the project is at the 90% complete stage.

Must-haves for FOMM are a means of structuring objectives/goals, assigning weights to objectives and making available facilities for recording incremental progress.

All of this can be provided by common spreadsheets and since Cases can accommodate any type of data, FOMM spreadsheets are easily accommodated at Cases themselves, making them easy to access.


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