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Apply triage

Consider the division of a general activity into two or more alternative activities

Create two (or more) variants of activities

Reijers, H., & Liman Mansar, S. (2005). Best practices in business process redesign: an overview and qualitative evaluation of successful redesign heuristics. Omega, 33(4)

category: Business Process Operation
class: Routing Rules
frameworkAspect: Operation view
redesignOperation: Compose; Unfold
perspective: functional


A special form of the triage heuristic is to divide a task into similar instead of alternative tasks for different subcategories of the case type. For example, a special cash desk may be set up for clients with an expected low processing time.

The triage heuristic is related to the task composition heuristic in the sense that it is concerned with the division and combination of tasks. Note that the heuristic differs from it in the sense that alternative tasks are considered.

Performance considerations

When applying the pattern in its main form, it is possible to design tasks that are better aligned with the capabilities of resources and the characteristics of the case. Both of these improve the quality of the workflow.

Distinguishing alternative tasks also facilitates a better utilization of resources, with obvious cost and time advantages. On the other hand, too much specialization can make processes become less flexible, less efficient, and cause monotonous work with repercussions for quality. This is lifted by the alternative interpretation of the triage heuristic.


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Foundational free Patterns

Deploy extra resources

If capacity is insufficient, consider increasing the available number of resources

Apply Integral technology

Elevate physical constraints by applying new technology

Establish standardized interfaces

Consider a standardized interface with customers and partners

Minimize numerical involvement

Too many cooks spoil the broth

Resequence activities

Move activities to more appropriate places

Offer temporal flexibility

Let customers interact with your organization whenever they want to.

Generalize your process

Explore whether a process can easily be used for additional products or services

Task delegation

Reassign tasks along the organisational hierarchy

Quality-based task assignment

Allocate task based on past feedback or quality metrics


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Connected to

Combine activities

Combine small activities into composite activities

Green Compensation

Start implementing actions that can offset or counterbalance the environmental effects generated by business processes that cannot be changed.

Distinguish case types

Determine whether activities are related to the same type of case and, if necessary, distinguish new business processes

Isolate exceptions

Design business processes for typical cases and isolate exceptional cases from the normal flow


Consider to deepen or broaden the skills of resources

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