By Elizabeth Spain at September 17 2018 13:13:53
The key to process improvement is to clearly communicate process definitions (the way in which the company wants the processes to be carried out) to the people in charge of their execution (through training, process descriptions publication, etc...). The better process participants understand the process definition, the higher the probability that the process is carried out according to it. They are better implemented through obtaining buy-in than through imposing directives.
In medicine, programs have been developed that analyze the disease symptoms, medical history, and laboratory test results of a patient, and then suggest a diagnosis to the physician. The diagnostic program is an example of so-called expert systems-programs designed to perform tasks in specialized areas as a human would. Expert systems take computers a step beyond straightforward programming, being based on a technique called rule-based inference, in which preestablished rule systems are used to process the data. Despite their sophistication, systems still do not approach the complexity of true intelligent thought.
Knowledge workers carry out these processes by taking into account multiple inputs (generally a wide set of unstructured data and information) to perform difficult tasks and make complex decisions among multiple possible ways of doing the work, each one implying different levels of risk and possible benefits. They are dependent on individuals and it is not possible to automate them. One example of a knowledge process is "Marketing a new product". The same steps are followed each time a new product is launched (benchmarking competitors, deciding pricing strategy, planning promotion, etc...), but it is the experience, knowledge and intuition of the people that drive the process to success.
It is usual that knowledge processes take the form of projects to manage their execution. If the output of the process is a unique product, managing work as a project will result in obvious advantages. There are certain guidelines that can help an organization willing to improve their knowledge processes: Provide process description on how to approach work Try to figure out the best way to carry out a knowledge process, by making the best practices existing in your organization (or in your industry) explicit. Publish process definitions in a format that is easy to consult and understand. Provide tools that facilitate and standardize work Decide which tools are best to help knowledge workers carry out their work. Involving all affected knowledge workers in the process of deciding which tools will be used is very convenient, in order to obtain user buy in.