Using the AdaPro Workstream      Platform for improving         Knowledge Work  Frank Michael Kraft, AdaPro GmbH, GermanyM...
USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKtones (or sprints) that are defined to manage the timeline. A...
USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKIf Leona logs in, she can see that she is part of the AdaCom ...
USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORK          Figure 5: Search Results from different Workstreams...
USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKexactly remember in which workstream you had the entry you ar...
USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORK              Figure 9: Maintaining Sub-Workitems            ...
USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKLeona has always estimated the effort for the detailed workit...
USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKcompared to project planning solutions—for example the templa...
USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKOf course it is necessary to assign clear responsibilities. S...
USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKsor relationships, after the research project has been finish...
USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORK          Figure 20: Aggregating Remaining Effort for Sprints...
USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKThe burndown diagram shows the remaining effort history. So w...
USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORK      Figure 24: Overall Sprint Burndown of Leonas Workstream...
USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKthat contains the checks she has in mind, copies the part tha...
USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORK            Figure 27: Use Template in new Workitem          ...
USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORK                   Figure 29: Edit resulting WorkitemBy the w...
USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKscribed here because of brevity. However the AdaPro workstrea...
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Using AdaPro Workstream Platform for Knowledge Work

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The well-known management expert Peter F. Drucker said that knowledge worker productivity is the most important value of companies of the 21st Century. More and more companies are realizing that better support for knowledge work is the key factor to create unique value.

Adaptive case management as method and technology to manage unpredictable knowledge worker processes is challenging the status quo to fill this gap. Traditional process management does not fit for knowledge workers, because it is too inflexible. It is like a virtual assembly line. Adaptive Case Management, however, opens the world of ad-hoc workflows and autonomous decisions to process management and thus achieve productivity of knowledge work.

Details: http://www.semigator.de/schulungen/Adaptive-Case-Management-On-Demand-Videos-1403025-0

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Transcript of "Using AdaPro Workstream Platform for Knowledge Work"

  1. 1. Using the AdaPro Workstream Platform for improving Knowledge Work Frank Michael Kraft, AdaPro GmbH, GermanyMy chapter Improving Knowledge Work in the book Mastering the Unpredict-able (Kraft 2010) describes how adaptive case management (ACM) can leve-rage the abilities of individual knowledge workers. It describes a case studyof Leona, who works in the engineering department in a company of aboutone hundred and fifty employees and how she uses ACM to manage custom-er service and subsequent development planning and coordination for thephone systems that her company offers. That chapter was without any refer-ence to an individual tool, but described the holistic approach and how indi-vidual knowledge workers can draw immediate benefit from it.This chapter now completes the narrative, by showing how the case can beperformed by a tool, the AdaPro Workstream Platform.As you know from (Kraft 2010) Leona’s regular job is to design new functio-nality for the telephone system they sell. This includes requirements forhardware components ordered from a supplier and software componentsdeveloped by their software development team. This week, its her turn toprovide second-level support: she takes customer calls that cannot be solvedby first-level support to ensure that the more difficult cases are solved.In (Kraft 2010) it is described, how Leona performs some steps with the helpof the ACM system. These steps are now shown in this chapter together withsome additional functionality. • Creating a Case in a Workstream • Using past Knowledge Work Results • Detailed Process Planning • Managing Responsibilities • Sprints and Burndown • Working with TemplatesCREATING A CASE IN A WORKSTREAMWhen the telephone rings and a customer is on the line describing a problemwith dropped calls under certain conditions, Leona asks some questionsabout when the problem occurs, what the circumstances are, and whether itis reproducible. Her knowledge of the design of the system guides this line ofquestioning.Leona has the AdaPro Workstream Platform system available and she wantsto create a case—or as it is named in the AdaPro Workstream Platform aworkitem.A workitem is always part of a workstream. What is a workstream? Aworkstream is a group of knowledge workers that work towards a commonpurpose, the workitems and documents, that are needed for it, and miles- 1
  2. 2. USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKtones (or sprints) that are defined to manage the timeline. Also it is a searchunit and a unit for analytics.One workstream can have many members (user accounts) and one know-ledge worker having one user account can be member of many workstreams.Workstream members can be added and removed from workstreams asneeded, also while the workstream is ongoing. Figure 1: Assignments of Knowledge Workers to a WorkstreamIn Figure 1 we can see the workstream for AdaCom Telephone System Sup-port Cases and the assigned members, which are Leona,Steve and one user account for the hardware supplierAdaPhone. AdaCom is Leona’s company that offers thephone systems, while AdaPhone is the hardware suppli-er. AdaPhone has only one user account in this exam-ple. Of course each individual knowledge worker of Ada-Phone could have an account.Here we also can see why it is important, that the Ada-Pro Workstream Platform is software in the cloud.Workstreams can be cross company or cross organiza-tion in general. They may include some knowledgeworkers from the own organization and some from oth-ers. However they work together in a network—depending on the actual workstream. Which organiza-tion will host the workstream platform in this case? Thisis not always clear. However hosting the workstreamplatform in the cloud makes it possible to participate inmany workstreams across many organizations and stillhave one central place to manage knowledge work in- Figure 2: Work-cluding search over all own workstreams (which will be streams of Leonaexplained later). 2
  3. 3. USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKIf Leona logs in, she can see that she is part of the AdaCom Telephone Sys-tem Support Cases Workstream and that she has a personal workstream forher own workitems. Her personal workstream content is not visible to any-body except herself. All content of other workstreams is visible to thosemembers of the other workstream—depending on the knowledge worker as-signments. It is an advantage of the AdaPro Workstream Platform that Leonahas all workstreams at one glance with only one user account. She does nothave to log out and log in again to a different workstream, if she wants to seedifferent content. Still the visibility of the individual workstream content toothers is different.Now Leona chooses the menu item workitems under the menu section Ada-Com Telephone System Support Cases Workstream. By this she makes surethat she enters the new workitem into the right workstream. She wouldcreate a Workitem, take notes about the symptoms, and try to estimate forthe customer how long it will take to close the case. Figure 3: Creating the Workitem Figure 4: Editing Workitem DetailsUSING PAST KNOWLEDGE WORK RESULTSLeona remembers that some weeks ago there was another similar case whereshe attached some documentation. So she searches the AdaPro WorkstreamPlatform for that past case and she gets the link to the documentation. 3
  4. 4. USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORK Figure 5: Search Results from different Workstreams Figure 6: Search Results from personal Workstream Figure 7: Attached Documentation in old WorkstreamA search in the AdaPro Workstream Platform is a global search in allworkstreams of the user account. In this case, Leona finds three entries inthe workstream for telephone support, that she shares with other co-workers(see Figure 5) and one entry in her personal workstream (see figure Figure 6).Her colleague, Steve, would find three entries as well in the workstream fortelephone support but probably none in his personal workstream. The globalsearch is an advantage, because in this case it is not necessary to log in todifferent user accounts to search. It is easier to find the entry, if you do not 4
  5. 5. USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKexactly remember in which workstream you had the entry you are lookingfor.After reading the documentation, Leona decides, that it is a different problemthat must be analyzed in more detail. This will take much longer because theproblem cause must be analyzed and mitigated. In the next step Leona pre-pares a plan—she defines a process for this.DETAILED PROCESS PLANNINGTo plan the details of the problem analysis and mitigation Leona needs toinvolve different parties. Because of the nature of the problem, she is quitesure that some software checks and hardware checks are needed. The soft-ware check can be done by own personnel, but the hardware check needs tobe done by the supplier of the module. So, as next steps, Leona creates allthese sub-workitems she can tell for now—drawing from her knowledge andexperience. Figure 8 shows the diagram from (Kraft 2010), Figure 9 and Fig-ure 10 show some of the steps that Leona performs in the AdaProWorkstream Platform. In Figure 11 we can see how the resulting structurelooks like in the workstream platform. This is a tree where Leona can dragand drop sub-trees—if necessary.Of course, she cannot be sure at this point in time, that the goal Find theProblem Cause is reached, if all sub-workitems including all planned checkshave been executed. Therefore she describes the goal of the workitem Findthe Problem Cause as text in the detailed description as well. This is impor-tant, because this is a difference to classical process modeling and also clas-sical project management. In classical process modeling a super-task iscompleted, if the sub-tasks are completed—or if the defined sub-process hasreached a defined end—and only then. In adaptive case management thisdoes not fit. The super-workitem may be completed earlier than planned—ifthe problem cause is found earlier than planned. It may also not be com-pleted, even if all sub-workitems have successfully been finished. Even then,maybe, the problem cause has not been found yet. Figure 8: The plan that Leona has in her mind 5
  6. 6. USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORK Figure 9: Maintaining Sub-Workitems Figure 10: Maintaining detailed Checks Figure 11: Resulting Structure of Workitems 6
  7. 7. USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKLeona has always estimated the effort for the detailed workitems. This effortcan be aggregated by pressing the button Aggregate for one level aggregationand Aggregate All for aggregation of all levels below, so that the resultingoverall effort can be seen (see Figure 12). Figure 12: Aggregating the Remaining EffortThere is no definite sequence in the planned activities, only one she canthink of: The problem can only be mitigated if the problem cause has beenfound. Often, in process modeling and project planning many dependenciesare modeled. This makes processes and plans inflexible. Sometimes it makessense, as sequencing the problem analysis and the problem mitigation. Veryoften too many dependencies are modeled. We can even discuss what theadvantages to model this dependency are. Most knowledge workers of thecase know the dependency anyway. They would not prematurely start tosolve the problem. They even do not know what to do. If they want to startproblem mitigation, even before problem analysis is completely finished, thenit often has a reason. For example there may be two problems, while one isalready analyzed and the other ones analysis is still in progress. So it is fineto start mitigation of the first problem already, even if the problem analysisis not yet fully completed. I do not speak absolutely against sequencing con-straints. The workstream platform will offer them as well later, after the re-search about them has finished. But I want to emphasize, that oftentimesthey are less decisive than people tend to think. Sometimes they are evenpart of the problem, not of the solution, because they create inflexibility. Ihave met many people who have started to manage their knowledge workwith project plans and they have given up, because it just was annoying.This has a reason: Too many dependencies. So—if dependencies are used—then they should be different than in the past. Thats why there is an ongo-ing research project about them.However the AdaPro Workstream Platform offers a hierarchical structure ofthe workitems—which is already a dependency—and which is more than aflat worklist. We know this also from project planning solutions. But the typ-ical project planning solution is not a multi-user online application for day-to-day knowledge work. In the following sections we will see more advantages 7
  8. 8. USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKcompared to project planning solutions—for example the template library oranalytics to mention two.In my opinion the most important ingredients of a knowledge worker processis a clear definition of the goals and sub-goals (workitems), a clear status, aclear responsibility, priorities and analytics about remaining effort versusthe timeline.Later, as it turns out for Leona, the problem was not identified after all stepshave been completed. The status is updated and a new Workitem is planned,a conference between the supplier AdaPhone, the customer and some Ada-Com employees. Therefore Leona creates a new workitem as described in(Kraft 2010). You can imagine how this looks like in the workstream plat-form. However it is important to mention, that the status of the workitemscan not only be Open, Started, Completed or Error—as in many workflowapplications—but also other statuses are possible like Postponed, With-drawn, In Approval, Approved, Rejected. The status values in classicalworkflow applications are very technical. The status values in the AdaProWorkstream Platform have more meaning for the knowledge worker.MANAGING RESPONSIBILITIESDuring the conference call, Leona and the team determined that it is a com-bined hardware-software problem. This allows the problem mitigation to beplanned.In this example, it turned out that the hardware must be changed, whichbreaks down as shown in Figure 13. Figure 13: Plan for Problem MitigationIt is necessary to negotiate with the supplier, create a specification for thenew functionality, and test the new device that the supplier delivers. Thesoftware problem must be fixed by her development team. Since it is Leonasarea of expertise, she takes over the software problem but she delegatesmanagement of the hardware problem to Steve—however, she remains theoverall case manager. Steve will detail the hardware part of the case, whileshe details the software part of the case. 8
  9. 9. USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKOf course it is necessary to assign clear responsibilities. So workitems on alllevels can be assigned to the members of the workstream (Figure 14). Eachuser can see his own workitems (see Figure 15 till Figure 17). It is possible tofilter by status, for example, exclude finished workitems. Figure 14: Assigning Responsibilities Figure 15: Worklist of Leona Figure 16: Worklist of SteveWorkflow engines additionally filter by tasks that are not yet active, becausetheir predecessors are not completed. This makes sense, if there areworkflows that are executed very many times. In knowledge work it is ques-tionable if this makes sense. It is often good to know, what the pipeline ofwork is. This helps to prepare or even start already, to plan the effort, even ifit only starts later and to actively make sure, that preconditions will be ful-filled in time. Again I am not completely condemning predecessor relation-ships. I only want to say, that they also cause problems—especially in know-ledge work. As soon as the AdaPro Workstream Platform will offer predeces- 9
  10. 10. USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKsor relationships, after the research project has been finished, it will alsosupport filtering workitems by that. Figure 17: Worklist of AdaPhone Hardware SupplierSPRINTS AND BURNDOWNLeona has to manage the remaining effort versus the timeline. For this shecreates some milestones or sprints (see Figure 18). Now individual workitemscan be assigned to sprints (see Figure 19) by Leona. After that it is possibleto aggregate the remaining effort for the sprints (see Figure 20). It is alsopossible to see all workitems that have been assigned to each sprint (seeFigure 21). Figure 18: Defining Sprints Figure 19: Assigning Workitems to Sprints 10
  11. 11. USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORK Figure 20: Aggregating Remaining Effort for Sprints Figure 21: Listing Workitems that have been assigned to a SprintIf Leona regularly performs the sprint aggregation, she can take advantage ofthe burndown diagram. Figure 22: Sprint Burndown of Telephone Service Workstream 11
  12. 12. USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKThe burndown diagram shows the remaining effort history. So when Leonalooks at the burndown diagram for the telephone support workstream(Figure 22) she can see that the effort in the beginning was relatively low.That was, when she thought, the problem is relatively easy to solve. Then,after the problem analysis and after the full planning for the problem mitiga-tion the remaining effort was much higher. However it was not yet assignedto individual sprints. One day later Leona had assigned the remaining effortto individual sprints. That is visible by the different colors in the curves. Thesprint dates are marked as vertical lines in the diagram. By this it is alwayspossible to see, if the remaining efforts decrease is fast enough to reach zeroat the sprint in question. If not, some countermeasures can be taken aheadof time – re-planning, delegating work, postponing work, and withdrawingwork. This helps Leona to keep the timeline under control. Figure 23: Sprint Burndown of Leonas personal WorkstreamEach individual workstream has an individual burndown diagram. Leona’spersonal burndown diagram can be seen in Figure 23. In the personalworkstream Leona has different sprints; here she has planned to completesome problem with her company car until her vacation starts; which she didnot completely achieve—as the diagram shows.However having different workstreams, it is important to have an overalloverview. Figure 24 shows a combined burndown diagram for all of Leona’sworkstreams. It contains the combined efforts as well as the combinedsprints. Here she can see that she might have a problem with her vacationand the remaining work. She has to make sure to delegate the work beforeher vacation starts. Of course the overall burndown diagram would look dif-ferent for Steve, even if the burndown of his telephone service workstream isthe same as for Leona. But he also has other workstreams. 12
  13. 13. USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORK Figure 24: Overall Sprint Burndown of Leonas WorkstreamsWORKING WITH TEMPLATESAs I have written in (Kraft 2010) in adaptive case management case in-stances emerge as they are necessary. This means the knowledge worker canstart the work without any templates: just with the empty ACM system. Aknowledge worker enters the first case, just as the working day requires fromthem. If they want, they can work in that way forever adding case by case. Inthe beginning, one case looks different than all the others. As work becomesrepeated, the individual knowledge worker identifies snippets of cases thathe might want to convert into a template and reuse. Figure 25: Creating a Template from existing WorkitemsIn our example, after having several similar cases, Leona recognizes thatsome checks for the software appear regularly, so it would be best to includethem in a template. She thinks that if she can make the template availableto John, a new colleague, she might ask him once in a while to perform thechecks for her so that she saves some time. Therefore, she looks for the case 13
  14. 14. USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKthat contains the checks she has in mind, copies the part that she wantsinto a new template, and edits the template with instructions so that Johnwill be able to follow them (see Figure 25).In the AdaPro Workstream Platform each Workstream has its own templatelibrary. Therefore Leona can create personal templates as well as templatesfor the telephone support. The template creation works with simple drag-and-drop. Leona drags a part of one workitem tree and drops it into the tem-plate library (see Figure 26); it then becomes a template. The template itemsdo not have a status (see Figure 27). This then can be dragged and droppedinto a new workitem. By this, all status values of the process snippet will beset to Open (see Figure 28). Now Leona can navigate to the workitem and editthe sub-workitems—independently from the template (see Figure 29). Figure 26: Create TemplateSo from now on, the work for Leona has become even easier. She has createda template in the template library for telephone service. John can now accessthe template. If John is on duty and he has a similar case, then he can copythe template into his case. And if Leona is on duty and has a similar case,she quickly copies her template into her case but assigns John to performthe checks. So in effect, Leona has saved some time for herself, while stillgiving guidance and instruction to John. 14
  15. 15. USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORK Figure 27: Use Template in new Workitem Figure 28: Resulting Workitems 15
  16. 16. USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORK Figure 29: Edit resulting WorkitemBy the way—the drag-and-drop functionality can also be used between oneworkitem tree and another one like it is needed in the example in Figure 30. Figure 30: Using synergy by concentrating some Sub-Workitems into a new oneLeona had different customer cases that required documentation updates.Instead of doing each update separately and starting the review of the docu-mentation change separately, Leona found it more practical to cluster thechanges into a user documentation release and review it collectively. Shecould reassign these user documentation update work items into the case forthe user documentation update. By clustering work, overhead for eachchange of the documentation is minimized, and again, time is saved that canbe used for more important things.You can easily imagine how the drag-and-drop will work in the AdaProWorkstream Platform. This is only one example for the so-called patterns ofknowledge work that AdaPro has researched. These patterns describe how aknowledge worker typically manages his workstreams and processes. Thereare about 20-30 patterns of knowledge work known today, that cannot de- 16
  17. 17. USING ADAPRO WORKSTREAM PLATFORM FOR IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE WORKscribed here because of brevity. However the AdaPro workstream platformhas been built to support these patterns in an optimized way—with specialfocus on user interaction. This makes the use of the AdaPro workstreamplatform feel natural—it is a natural flow of work.SUMMARY AND FUTUREFirst users especially appreciate that the workstream platform is a centralstorage for their knowledge work, accessible everywhere at every time. If theyare at the site of their customers, for example, then they need not to installanything, they just can use any browser to access their knowledge work in-formation needed for the project situation. It is easier for them to managethe workload including the regular interruptions of the work by phone callsand emails. It helps to create a workitem or some, give it a clear status andgoal. Also it is helpful that there is always a clear status of all the knowledgework in question. This is especially helpful, if the manager calls and wants toknow about a certain project situation. Also it is found helpful to see theprogress of a workstream and to be able to guide less experienced workers inhow to do certain things by creating workitems for them or using templates.This is the feedback by the first users. However also additional predecessor-successor relationships for workitems have been requested which is—as Isaid—part of a research project. Two other research projects are • graphical display with simulation and • process/workstream analytics.There are great ideas, but they have not yet been finished. This is, becausethe solutions to these challenges must be different than in standard processmodeling, if they are to be useful for knowledge work. Find out more athttp://www.AdaPro.eu/REFERENCES(Kraft 2010) F. M. Kraft, Mastering the Unpredictable (Editor: Keith D. Swen- son). Meghan-Kiffer Press, 2010, ch. 9: Improving Knowledge Work, p. 181 ff. See http://goo.gl/KxOPl 17

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