The Solar Eclipse across the US this week forced governments across the US to plan for doubled populations, overwhelmed services and traffic jams over 500 miles long.
Some areas created new response plans that were focused on the eclipse impacts only. Once the eclipse was over, they were left with a memory and a set of plans with titles like “Eclipse: Day -1” that will never be used again.
Other areas pulled out their existing event and disaster response plans and used the eclipse to drive an update. These locations have plans with titles like “Emergency medical response when the roads are blocked” and are in better shape for the next once-in-a-lifetime disaster, once-per-winter blizzard, or even once-per-week rock concerts.
Like the eclipse response planers, you have a choice to design workflows for rare events, or for common processes. You could create a hardcoded workflow that only supports the review of the “Monthly statistics report” by Marge N. O’Vera, or you could create a workflow that supports the review of any document by an author selected reviewer. The second option is going to be a lot more useful!
When you design your next workflow, look beyond a single issues and identify the underlying processes that can be shared with other parts of your organization.
- Try for reusable workflows that solve multiple similar problems.
- Settle for repurposable workflows that you can copy and edit.
- Create one-use workflows only when you absolutely have to.
Remember that eclipses are high profile, but they don’t have long term impact.