Case management, particularly adaptive case management, enables knowledge worker collaboration to reach evolving goals as a team. This is needed because work, cases in particular, have become more complex and perfect knowledge is not available in one job role or person to handle a case. There are five kinds of collaboration that I have observed in my work life and are enumerated below:
Most collaboration happens in things like social media, email and through texts. While this gets the job done, sometimes, it doesn't get captured for reuse and future leverage. If we are working together to reach today's goals and really don't intend to help others downstream, this is a great approach. However, in the interest of capturing gems of wisdom, there are additional approaches.
Quite often one to one communications, captured or not, are not up to the task of solving complex and complicated cases. This often requires "brain storming" in a group fashion to "noodle through" difficult, event patterns, decisions and appropriate actions in a speedy fashion. This may require "in person", audio and video conferencing where content (images, voice, image and video) can be shared in a cooperative understanding session. This helps understanding the semantics, semiotics and dimensions of complex work, agree on actions and glean cooperative commitment to the solution.
While independent activity such as communication and conferencing can solve complex cases, the process is quite haphazard in attaining goals. If this goals are coordinated and driven to in a milestone fashion with proper recording of activity and history, there can be value carried forward for future cases and patterns of success. This is especially true when the milestones are not carved in stone and they can flex as cases progress. This where adaptive case management leverages a technical assist.
Often organizations are only focused on the resources that they directly control with salary and employment contracts. While there is some sense in this practice, sometimes cases need to tap into worlds that the organizations do not have the knowledge or skill. Even if the organization has all the knowledge and resources, they may not have the bandwidth to handle the work. This where stringers, communities and public cognitive surplus can be leveraged to the advantage of case resolution and positive organizational outcomes. This approach usually interjects a new level of security and responsibility, however.
Better Practice Guidance:
Often knowledge workers are left to their own experience and judgement as to how to approach a case that may be growing in complexity over time. While it is good to have experienced resources, there are assists that work for both the uninitiated, the normal knowledge worker and the expert. Identifying better practice patterns should be the goal of organizations where the work varies greatly and the kind of cases are still emerging. By analyzing better practices and rating them in the light of goal attainment can give your knowledge workers several alternative paths for success. This could be at a large grained level or as fine grained as to identify great collaborative patterns between resources.
Organizations will need to practice all five of these collaboration approaches. The wisest organizations will define when and where each have their greatest leverage. As work gets more complex and as processes aim for larger "end to end" scopes there will be a mixture of knowledge work and routine process actions, so get ready now for guiding these practices.