A fulfillment triage gap

The concept of triage is commonly used by OSS to ensure that the most urgent problems are assigned the highest attention by resolver groups in the assurance domain.

Less common is the concept of triage in fulfillment domains. Interestingly though, I believe that the concept holds great merit to improve overall OSS efficiency bet it may require a new, special type of tool.

In any given fulfillment process, Pareto’s 80:20 holds roughly true, with 80% of orders being fulfilled with standardised (Level 1) processes and 20% requiring more custom attention.

There is a tendency by some to try to design a more complicated process to also capture the remaining 20% but this can have the reverse effect, slowing down the 80%. Triage can allow the 80% to be handled by a streamlined process and the non-standard 20% can be kicked out to more experienced (level 2) resolver groups to handle. This L2 resolver group, after finding a non-standard solution to the problem, is then responsible for building decision support content that helps if the problem appears again in the future.

The third level (L3) of the triage process is when a problem is truly unique and requires deeper expertise to resolve. These cases are deemed unlikely to repeat so there is little point in creating a repeatable resolution process or content.

Typically, OSS groups try to fit L1 and L2 into standard processes, thus complicating things, mainly because we don’t tend to have adequate tools to cope with the specific needs of L2. They are the Decision Support System (DSS) tools (create and consume) that we’ve spoken of before here on PAOSS.

Have you come across any tools like this? There are some that I’m aware of that aren’t used in the OSS industry (yet).

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