Begin with a Milestone Model

One way to construct a superior work process model is to start from a general milestone model that defines the major phases of the project. These major phases can then be subdivided into smaller, more manageable phases with their own milestones until it is a relatively simple matter to detail the process of getting from one milestone to the next. TeamFlow fully supports this solid, top-down approach to work process modeling.

Jim Phelps and his core team are assembled at the meeting where they discuss the Charge from The Secretary and develop their mission statement. They begin by listing the milestones that must be achieved to accomplish the goals set forth in the charge. The IMF team starts from its one known milestone, as expressed in the mission statement: to get a well-known political figure out of the country where he is imprisoned. The one milestone you always know is the achievement of the goal of the program as expressed in the charge and mission statement.

A milestone must have a team member who is responsible for declaring that the milestone has been reached. This person, sometimes called the milestone's gate-keeper, is the team member who owns the milestone. In this case, that responsibility falls to Jim Phelps.

Enter a milestone with Jim as its gate-keeper below the existing milestone. Label it "Out of Country with Prisoner." The process of adding a process element to the worksheet is described in Lesson 1.

Someone on the team points out that before they can get the prisoner out of the country they have to get him out of the prison in which he is being held. That is another milestone!

To enter a process element between two existing process elements, you have to be a bit more careful where you point the mouse. Position the mouse in the small blank space in Jim's column between the two existing milestone diamonds. When you press the mouse button, a small rectangular area defining this space will turn black.

This says you are in the right place. Release the mouse button and proceed as before to add a milestone labeled "Prisoner out of Prison." TeamFlow moves the lower milestone farther down the page to make room for the new one.

How are they going to get the prisoner out of prison? After much discussion, they decide to give the prisoner a serum that will produce a deep deathlike coma, fool the prison authorities into believing the prisoner is dead, and then get the authorities to release the body to his family.

A plan begins to take shape. Rollin will pose as a Doctor who is visiting the prison to test some particularly evil new truth serum. Jim and Willie will show up as a gullible TV crew interested in filming a documentary on how this country has done away with inhumane treatment of political prisoners. Cinnamon will pose as the prisoner's sister and plead with the warden to be allowed to see her brother. Barney, of course, will come up with the fake-death serum and whatever other gadgetry they need to pull off their masquerade.

Several other milestones are suggested. An early key event is having all their assets in place inside the country. Another is having done the preliminary work and being ready to begin the final phase of their mission.

Enter these milestones in the model you are building. For now, assume Jim Phelps is the gate keeper of each milestone. If this turns out not to be the case, the gate keeper can be changed at any time by simply dragging the "gate" diamond symbol horizontally to the column of the new gate keeper.

Continue with Lesson 2.

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Last Update: October 24, 2005