Matrix of Work Management

©1996 by Charles A. Plesums, Austin, Texas


Type or Categories

Over the last several years a number of people and organizations (including myself) have independently classified work management systems into three categories. The designations vary, but the definitions are very similar.

Components

In addition to the three types of work management, I like to further classify work management tools into four components, based on the function performed. Most work managers have all the components, but few are equally strong across all the parts.

Work Group Component

Individual (person or processor) Component

Select the item of work to be performed,

Task Component

Initially I thought this component wasn't required - if we are processing an application, the application processing program would be used. If we were processing an order, the order entry program would be invoked. And so forth. However, many components can be reused. The customer needs to be identified for both the application and the order, so perhaps a common identification routine can be used. And a common address formatter. And a common sales tax calculator. A work manager can pull those components together.

Enterprise Component

Most systems today are really departmental image and work management systems. If a system were built for the enterprise, there are several components that need to be performed at the enterprise level

Table

The three types of work manager become rows in the following table, while the four components become the columns. To use the table, determine the requirements for the work manager, and the relative importance of each feature. For example, in a very small organization, everything could be considered a single workgroup, with little value for the enterprise portion. Then identify the features in the table. When considering work manager products, consider their strengths and weaknesses. For example, one major vendor has a work manager that is very good at automatic assignment of tasks. That makes it strong in the upper right box. That same work manager is very weak in the selection of the person to perform that work. No credit in the work group column! Another highly rated work manager is excellent in negotiating how the work will be performed - great for ad-hoc or collaborative work, but it is not reasonable to expect the clerk in the mail room to negotiate the processing of thousands of production documents received each day.

Enterprise

Work Group

Personal

Task

Production

New Business

Customer Service

(Mail, Voice)
Identification

Status Tracking

Workplan from Templates

To Work Group

Balance Load (assignments)

To Person
direct
by Supervisor
from Queue

Select work
- Manual (pull)
- Automatic
(push)

Time Alarms

Run Programs

Update Status

Procedural

Administration

(Internal Forms)
Workplan from process maps (graphical)

To Work Group

Balance Load (Optional)

To Person

Select work

Time Alarms

Run Programs

Update Status

Collaboration

Office Automation,
ad Hoc
Create custom workplan for each case

To Work Group

Balance Load (Optional)

To Person

Select work

Time Alarms

Optional - Run Programs

Update Status


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©1996 by Charles A. Plesums, Austin, Texas USA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may license additional copies of this document through a nominal royalty payment as specified on www.plesums.com.