Practical process patterns: Core Organisational Process (COP)

Formal consultations within an organisation is a very popular organisational process. And it looks very simple - just send a memo. This simplicity even confuses some technicians: in one organisation the IT Director has claimed that e-mail is enough to automate this process.

But, there are some complications.  Firstly, there are different consultations:
  • Downstream – from a manager to subordinates (to prepare a reply to an incoming issue)
  • Upstream – from a staff member to his/her manager (to obtain an official permission to do something)
  • Peer – from a somebody to his/her peers (to inform your partners)
Secondly, it is a recursive process: the President sends a memo to Directors and each of them re-sends it to Divisional Managers who ask some of their specialists to prepare a reply.

Thirdly, some combinations of different consultations are possible. A staff member sends a memo to his/her manager with copies to colleagues concerned (upstream ) and the manager asks somebody to validate this memo (downstream).

Let us try to express all this complexity is the following diagram. There are four roles: Boss (who receives the issue), Reviewers (who are assigned to prepare a reply), CCs (who are just informed about the issues and final reply) and Workers (who, sometimes, must do something before sending the final reply).

Of course, there are a few tricks:
  • Boss selects Reviewers, CCs and Workers dynamically.
  • One of Reviewers may be a lead of a temporary group of Reviewers.
  • There may be a decision process (should be another blogpost) among Reviewers.
  • Coordination between Boss and Reviewers may be more complex than depicted in the diagram (e.g. Boss receives all replies by him/her-self).
  • Reply (as a business object) life-cycle is not shown.
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