Day-to-Day Uses for Adaptive Case Management

By Jacob Ukelson  |  Posted 2010-10-07 Print this article Print

Day-to-day uses for adaptive case management

Operational risk management issues created by unstructured human processes exist in every industry and run the range from tactical process risk through strategic process risk. The audit process itself is a classic example of an unstructured human process.

Audit processes consist of a number of subtasks such as defining an audit plan, gathering information and defining findings, creating the recommendations based on those findings, and finally, the follow-up and tracking of recommendation implementation. Each subprocess is a negotiation and collaboration between the involved parties (done via e-mail and documents in many cases).

For illustration purposes, let's focus on the recommendation-tracking and follow-up subprocess. Let's say an audit finds a safety issue in a plant that needs corrective action. An auditor e-mails a plant manager, alerting him to the safety issue and making recommendations for addressing it. The plant manager then delegates the task (also via e-mail) to an employee and explains the corrective actions. They will most likely engage in e-mail conversation about the specifics of the safety issue: What is the problem? What needs review? What are the next steps?

In discussing the answers to these questions, the parties will likely go back and forth a few times. Depending upon the specifics, they may involve more team members to correct the issue. These exchanges are not unusual in the auditing process, but because they are ad hoc and unstructured, the auditor and management have no real visibility into the problem-solving activities, let alone an ability to manage and track the overall process life cycle.

Jacob Ukelson is Chief Technology Officer at ActionBase. Jacob has a proven track record in discovering and developing innovative solutions to real-world customer problems and then developing them into products. Jacob is published in many technical journals and has spoken at conferences worldwide. In 1997, he received the Alexander C. Williams Ergonomics and Human Factors Award from the Human Factors Society. He can be reached at

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