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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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