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Specialist-generalist

Consider to deepen or broaden the skills of resources

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

Description

Resources may be turned from specialists into generalists or the other way round. A specialist resource can be trained for other qualifications; a generalist may be assigned to the same type of work for a longer period of time, so that his other qualifications become obsolete. When the redesign of a new process is considered, application of the pattern comes down to considering the specialist-generalist ratio of new hires.

A specialist builds up routine more quickly and may have a more profound knowledge than a generalist. As a result he or she works quicker and delivers higher quality. On the other hand, the availability of generalists adds more flexibility to the process and can lead to a better utilization of resources. Depending on the degree of specialism or generalism, either type of resource may be more costly.

Note that this heuristic differs from the Triage concept in the sense that the focus is not on the division of tasks.

Performance considerations

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