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    « Turkey Drop (Again) | Main | Bad Image »

    November 26, 2007

    Scar Tissue

    In a discussion about workflow and why employees perform certain tasks David Parkes, Director of Information Technology at Cushing, described certain processes as "scar tissue".  When you ask why somebody is performing a certain task or series of tasks the employee will often describe a problem they had in the past and how these tasks will avoid that problem in the future.  I have seen this first hand.  When talking with an employee who was preparing files to be imported into a plan room the employee described about 12 separate tasks that included renaming files, running files through different programs, and copying the files into multiple directories.  Many of these processes were put in place to allow an employee to "go back" to a previous "state".  If a customer complained about the quality of a file they could go back and find where in the process the problem occurred.  Although in isolation all of these processes made sense they were "scar tissue".  By mapping out the larger process flow and the problems that birthed these tasks a more streamlined workflow could be engineered with less steps and often a higher degree of accuracy.  This is often without implementing any new technology.  The key is digging into the root cause of why tasks are performed and then determining (1) if they need to be performed at all, or (2) if they should happen somewhere else in the workflow.

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