The decision, Service Flow, is one of the more challenging decisions within the service concept branch of the Decision Driven® Services decision pattern. The decision is framed as “What series of steps will deliver this service? How will the engagement flow?”
Here’s the criteria pattern that is recommend when evaluating alternative service flow designs.
I’m certain that most folks use a Design-by-PowerPoint approach for this type of decision. They pop up a blank slide or copy an old slide with boxes and arrows and proceed to draw up their service flowchart one box at a time. Maybe I’m being too kind – many folks will just create a bullet list of steps. They may think about some of the criteria above as they add or rearrange steps, but they never formally define more than a single alternative. Design-by-PowerPoint is a recipe for tunnel vision. It confuses the ability to decompose a service into steps with the real thinking challenge of DESIGN. This error is then compounded by failing to evaluate their single alternative against any criteria; they assume it will work and work well enough to launch it without further analysis.
I’m not naive enough to think that I can kill off Design-by-PowerPoint. There’s nothing wrong with drawing flowcharts to describe alternatives; but it’s always wise to create at least 3 alternatives that differ significantly to stretch your thinking. By doing so, you’re asking “How else might we meet the objectives of this decision?” This opens the door for a flood of new service innovation.
The Service Flow decision is very similar to the Functional Model decision within the design of a typical hardware/software product. The decision is challenging for just that reason – the alternatives are abstract pictures with lots of abstract components (steps, interfaces, work products), not something tangible. If the alternative flowcharts have more than 5 steps, it becomes very difficult to compare them at a glance. This is where a proven set of criteria is very helpful; the criteria help you think about the overall or end-to-end effectiveness of each alternative flowchart one factor at a time. They force you to ask the right questions.
A typical Service Flow decision will only take an hour or two to complete if you start with a proven criteria pattern. That’s quite a small investment with very high payback compared with Design-by-PowerPoint then trial-and-error delivery
Drive service innovation with the service design decision pattern within the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF). Begin today by contacting the Decision Driven® Solutions team at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to start your free trial of DDSF.