Professor David Deeks talked to us this afternoon about an analysis technique called Process Improvement for Strategic Objectives (PISO), which apparently rose accidentally from his teaching structured analysis techniques to financial and business students. This is definitely the first presentation that I have ever seen, anywhere, that quotes Winnie the Pooh, and gives an example of strategic objectives as illustrated by Christopher Robin and Edward Bear. By the time he got to his main case study, which was the hospital administration process around having a vasectomy, I was wishing that he had been my prof at university.
The key features of PISO can be stated as:
Area requiring improvement
is identified by
who take ownership and, by consensus, design the improvement through
engaging with detailed analysis which is undertaken using
Physical and Logical data flow diagrams
He readily admits that DFDs might seem a bit old-fashioned, but feels that they’ve found new life in PISO.
He pointed out repeatedly that the stakeholders are taught to use the method directly, he doesn’t go into an organization and do PISO for them. That’s the advantage of being a professor rather than a consultant: you can just do the thing that works rather than have to create a mystique around it that requires you to be there for future maintenance. Even better, the money earned from licensing PISO is used to fund graduate students and other related projects.
It’s a bit reminiscent of old-style business process reengineering, but in sort of a good way. I’m still wrapping my head around the DFDs, and it seems like it might be more difficult to train business users on this sort of IT-like notation than, say, BPMN.