Filling in the Phase Detail

Once the team has most of its key milestones in place, they begin filling in the detail between milestones. In TeamFlow, two adjacent milestones define a phase.

The IMF team decides to begin by detailing the phase of the process bounded by the milestones "Ready to begin Mission" and "Assets in place in country." This is familiar ground to them - almost every mission they undertake begins with a similar set of activities involving getting all the necessary equipment together and into the country where they are going to operate. It is always best to begin with the parts of the process with which your team is the most familiar, and then proceed to the riskier new-ground phases. This helps build the team's confidence in their problem-solving powers and gives them a better understanding of the less familiar parts of the process.

The plan for this phase comes together quickly. Jim, as always, will make their travel plans and arrange for the in-country facilities. Add a task for Jim labeled "Arrange travel" and draw an arrow to it from the "Ready to begin Mission" milestone that begins the phase.

Add another task for Jim below the first and label it "Find in-country facilities." Draw an arrow connecting the two tasks.

Barney, of course, will develop the serum that will allow the Prisoner to fake death. Represent this with a task titled "Develop Fake Death Serum" and draw an arrow into it from the phase-start milestone. You may position Barney's task on the same row as the "Arrange travel" task since they will occur concurrently and since there is room on the diagram, or you may place them each in its own row, whichever you prefer.

Cinnamon and Rollin will learn what they can about the Prisoner's background. They share a task called "Research Prisoner's history." Add this task in a new row between Jim's two tasks. Place segments of the Task in both Cinnamon's and Rollins' columns. If you need to refresh the skill of adding segments to a process element, please return to that section of Lesson 1.

Add an arrow from the phase start milestone into Cinnamon's segment of the task. This clearly implies that she is the primary member of the team working on the task.

Willie is responsible for getting the Television equipment. Add this task in parallel with Jim's "Find in-country facilities" task or in its own row as you prefer, and draw an arrow to it from the phase start milestone.

The team decides they need a meeting just prior to departure to make sure they have not overlooked anything. Add this meeting just prior to the "Assets in place in Country" milestone. Include all five core team members in it. They will each bring to this meeting the results of their preparations. Show this by dropping arrows from the four tasks into the meeting. Cinnamon will report on the research she and Rollin conducted, so there need not be an arrow in Rollin's column.

Out of this meeting Jim will give the go-ahead for the team to travel to their destination. Show this with an arrow from Jim's segment of the meeting to the phase-end milestone.

The IMF team now moves their attention to the next phase of their mission, that of establishing their fictitious identities and getting set up for the actual release of the prisoner. They quickly identify four goals that must be met in this phase:

  1. The TV crew (Jim and Willie) have to convince the prison commandant to let them tape their documentary, so they will be on hand to pressure the commandant to release the dead prisoner's body to his family. Identify this step with a meeting titled "TV crew gets permission to film documentary."

  2. Cinnamon has to convince the prison commandant that she is the prisoner's sister. Identify this step with a meeting titled "Cinnamon establishes her identity with Commandant."

  3. Rollin has to get inside the prison posing as a Doctor so he can slip the fake death serum to the prisoner. Identify this step with a meeting titled "Dr. Rollin establishes his identity", followed by a task titled "Rollin delivers serum to Prisoner and briefs him on escape plans."

    That is quite a long title that would run off the right end of your TeamView window. TeamFlow allows you to fold such titles onto two or more lines. Force a new line while you are entering the title by striking the return key between the words "to" and "Prisoner".

  4. Jim insists on a final readiness meeting the night before they are to begin the final phase of the mission. Call this mission "Final readiness meeting". Have Jim and the four IMF members attend.
Fill in the next phase of your model with this detail. Draw the necessary arrows to represent the flow of information between the two milestones.

While this model of the preparatory phase has all the pieces in it, it is not complete. It just does not look "right." Several of the activities involve either the prison commandant or the prisoner himself, yet neither appears anywhere in the model. Because they have a role to play in the completion of the mission, even if it is an unwilling role as in the case of the commandant, they should be considered part of the team. The IMF team decides rightly these two should be added to the model.

Add "Prisoner" and "Prison Commandant" to the Org Chart and then drag them onto the Team Field. If you need a refresher in adding a new Team member, please return to Lesson 1.

Add a segment for the Prison Commandant to the first three meetings in this phase. Add a segment for the Prisoner to the task. Now the process model shows a more realistic picture of who is involved in this phase.

The IMF team is now ready to tackle the final phase of their mission. First, Willie has to get the real prison Doctor out of the way so "Dr." Rollin can be the one who pronounces the prisoner dead. Then the prisoner takes the fake death serum. Cinnamon pleads with the commandant for her brother's body while Jim films the whole thing, thus bringing pressure on the prison commandant to be humane. Barney shows up with an ambulance and they rush the prisoner away.

Add this detail to your model as shown in the figure below. Don't neglect to add the Prison Doctor to the team, even if his only involvement is passive.

At this point the conversation goes something like this:

Barney: "Then I give him the antidote to revive him."

Jim: "What antidote?"

Barney: "The antidote to the death serum."

Jim: "I don't see any antidote on the TeamFlow model."

Barney: "Oops!"

Barney goes back and revises one of the earlier tasks to include the antidote to the fake death serum.

This is not an unusual circumstance. One of the major benefits of doing process modeling with TeamFlow is that your team gets to identify and anticipate downstream effects of the process and adjust the upstream process model to deal with them. It is much preferred that Barney's "Oops!" takes place here than in the ambulance speeding away from the prison!

The IMF team quickly completes their process model by adding tasks to show them reviving the prisoner in the ambulance and leaving the country by the means Jim arranged earlier.

This is a good time to again save your model to disk.

The IMF team developed their process by beginning at the beginning and working almost sequentially down through the phases to the final objective milestone. While that is not an uncommon approach, it is by no means the only one that will work. Some teams work better starting from the final objective milestone and working backwards towards the beginning of the process. Others seem to work better by spotting in detail in an almost stream-of-consciousness fashion. How the team develops their process is a highly individual thing, and, like the process itself, is best left up to the team to decide.


Continue with Lesson 2.

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Last Update: October 24, 2005