For each piece of work, do you do the same tasks, in the same order? Do you create the same documents and data? Do you work so perfectly that there is no room for improvement?
Most people do not find it helpful to describe their work processes in terms of task sequences or concrete outputs, so lack a means to determine the true structure of their work, agree it with colleagues, then manage it to increase productivity, contribute more to organizational goals, and streamline their work with partners.
Time and motion studies on knowledge workers in the US show that that this problem is a very expensive one. They spend an average of 28% of their working day organizing their interactions with one another (rather than doing useful work). The cost of this wasted time to employers, and hence to the US economy, is estimated to be 650 billion dollars per annum - i.e., a cost to the worldwide economy of something like 2 trillion dollars.
However, even this figure is an underestimate. The true impact of poor human interactions is not just on efficiency, but also on effectiveness - on how well people align their work with the tactical and strategic goals of their employers. As an example, further research shows that although 82% of all organizations are undertaking some form of change initiative at any one time, 70% of change initiatives fail.
The underlying cause is that management science was not invented to deal with human collaboration - it was invented to deal with manufacturing. Current management thinking, and hence current software collaboration tools, are based on the "Scientific Management" of Frederick Taylor and Henry Ford. This task scheduling and approval approach fails to deal with the modern collaborative workplace. To manage knowledge worker interactions, we need a new management science: Human Interaction Management, or HIM.
HIM is based on 5 simple principles, which are also the basis for a software tool called a Human Interaction Management System, or HIMS. The reference implementation of a HIMS, HumanEdj, empowers people to take control of their own work, do it better, and work in a structured way with colleagues from other organizations.
HumanEdj does not compete with other workflow or collaboration tools. Rather, it unlocks the true value of such tools by providing a way to use them in higher-level, manageable Plans. HumanEdj is the missing link that organizations need to join up their collaborative work, to extend it to partners, and to improve it over time.
In the next post, I'll return to the details of how to model processes using HIM. In the meantime, if you would like to try HumanEdj, visit http://rolemodellers.com/get_started to register for an account on the demo Web instance.