Subject: Re: Intro and question
From: Rich Bodo <rsb@ostel.com>
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2003 16:25:47 -0800 (PST)


> you said you like reading building-business-processes books.  Any
> suggestions?

Not really.  Most BPR books are collections of case studies in which
management consultants (BPR consultants) hired by [insert fortune 500
firm here] came in with a chainsaw and left with a fat payday.  The
company in question often got immense value for their dollar from the
BPR consultants, usually by eliminating beaurocracy, paperwork, and
large chunks of the workforce.  These studies are usually followed by
lots of advice on dealing with the existing management, scoping the
project, etc.  BPR is probably not a hot buzzword anymore, so
management consultants probably don't use it nowadays.  These aren't
BPR books, but for general interest I recommend "Business Engineering
with Object Technology", by David Taylor, and "Office Space", by Mike
Judge.

I read about a half dozen of the popular business process
re-engineering "BPR" books in the early to mid-90s.  I didn't really
get a lot out of them, although the case studies were interesting.  I
take that back, I got the idea of a business process out of them, and
I did sort of apply it once:

At the time I was working for a legal services firm that needed some
process improvement.  I tried to solve the problem with a spreadsheet
and failed miserably.  I ended up having to write a simulation of the
document processing division, from sales through delivery.  This was
just a big loop with semi-random sales calls appearing, resulting in
orders of semi-random size, and little people like (struct
dudici)sales[1] running around.  Each iteration of the loop was one
minute.  The goal was to determine whether the printers were
bottlenecks in the process.  They were.  That was my big BPR success,
ordering new printers.

I'm not even near that level of analysis.  I'm more on the level of
time management.  What I do is I write down how much time it takes to
do things.  Could be anything.  Like:

sales call, no quote, 1/2 hour.
sales call, follow up on john doe, sold 2 X at Y.  15 min.
paypal transfer, 5 min.
took pictures of foo for ebay, 20 min.
check shipment of 20 i into inventory, 10 min.

Then I can look at how much money a product brings in on a pricing
spreadsheet, and guess how much time was spent per dollar.

-Rich