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  Heuristics


 
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Heuristics

Heuristics are defined as "a principle or method for discovering new knowledge", and these were defined by Mike Hammer in his work on BPR.

  • Organise work around the achievement of outcomes, not tasks.
  • Have those who use the output of the process, perform the process.
  • Put the decision point where the work is performed, and build control into the process
  • Subsume information processing work into the real work that produces the information
  • Treat geographically dispersed resources as though they were centralised
  • Link parallel activities instead of integrating their results
  • Capture information once and at the source

How we apply these is similar to goal analysis. Except here we are tabulating our re-engineering opportunities against these wide-ranging principles.

In effect we are interpreting the heuristics in the light of our current project, and trying to apply them to our thinking.

This example was from case study concerned with the need to re-engineer the administrative process supporting the current committee-based decision-making structure in the Council.

HEURISTIC EXAMPLE OF REDESIGN OPPORTUNITIES
Organise work around the achievement of outcomes, not tasks. Focus on improving the quality of information: i.e. the intelligibility of reports, their indexing, the documentation of decisions etc. Aim to improve enhance communication, consultation and decision making.
Have those who use the output of the process, perform the process.

An agenda management tool allowing Senior Officers to add items directly to electronic agendas, including reports. Chairs can access and review agendas directly too.

Better tools allowing members to search for relevant documentation.

Better tools to allow officers to access information without needing to make a special reference to committee administration

Put the decision point where the work is performed, and build control into the process Again, make the production and dissemination of agendas and reports the responsibility of directorates.

Require authors to index documents prior to their release.

Subsume information processing work into the real work that produces the information Chairs to directly manipulate electronic agendas (see above)
Treat geographically dispersed resources as though they were centralised Put all documentation on a Web Site
Link parallel activities instead of integrating their results Agenda management tool does this: products are linked as they are produced through the tool (see above)
Capture information once and at the source Eliminate all paper flows. All documentation to be put on Web site or use email.

What is clear from this example, is how we really are re-engineering a process, rather than simply computerising it.

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