Process Reality Disconnection and it’s consequences

When a process is modeled in IT systems, it is normally designed with a large set of assumptions about the real world. The assumptions are just that – assumptions and sometimes wrong or incomplete. This leads to processes which do not “support” the full complexity of the real world. As a consequence, operational personal can spend a significant effort on “troubleshooting” the IT systems which are impacted by the process.

For instance – an order fulfillment process does not support the order to be cancelled after a certain point in the process, where in reality a customer can still exceptionally cancel his order through contacting the support staff and escalation. The IT system process will run to completion – requiring cleanup of the cancellation afterwards.

I call this the “Process Reality Disconnection”. It can make an organization incur significant running costs. It is worth specifying and implementing compensating / exceptional processes in IT systems with well defined pre and post conditions of each process outcome, because real world processes are always more complicated than initially assumed.

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