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A universal way to describe any kind of work done by organizations is that inputs (I) are gathered, put through some kind of process (P), and result in outputs (O). This simple IPO model describes the machining and assembly of parts to make a jet engine, the treatment given to patients in a hospital, the education of students in a school, or any other kind of organizational work. The key to creating the outputs is the workflow, an organizational process that is designed to result in a specific kind of output. Workflow analysis is a technology for both describing an existing workflow and for evaluating it to allow change and improvement.

Workflow analysis is like building a jigsaw puzzle. Individuals may go about assembling a jigsaw ...

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