Work-to-rule, process engineering and user-friendly interface in administration

Work-to-rule action is possible only in places where the rules itself are bad. I already shared my opinion on how to improve the law in part "Law as a project written by use of the extreme programming methods”. Let focus here on work of administration.

First of all, when I hear about any „work-to-rule” action I get very annoyed by two things. The first reason for my irritation is the fact that the law is so bad that even the administration workers follow it only in these kind of actions. Second reason for my annoyance is that nobody use this work-to-rule experience to improve administration work.

Process engineering very often looks for critical path of any given process in order to improve it. To detect this critical path and part of the process, which slows everything, process engineers sometimes watch the movies of manufacturing process in fast forward or in slow motion. Work-to-rule actions are perfect opportunities to watch administration work in slow motion and to detect possible improvements to the process. All this knowledge is wasted just because the politicians still haven't fully understood XIX century work organization methods proposed by Frederic W. Taylor and implemented by Henry Ford. They just lag behind in XVIII century achievements of French revolution and American independence.

Let's try to explain how some new methods could be used to improve the process. Let's think for a moment about administration building as about user interface to administration’s world. If you are not a die-hard fan of command line, you like your user interface to be as user-friendly as possible. To achieve this you analyse if all the important menu functions are easily accessible, if the use of them is intuitive and if the descriptions are clear enough. Popular internet sites have whole teams whose only task is to analyse internet traffic to find out where people enter on the page and what they do next.

In Polish administration no one is analysing the path any citizen needs to follow in order to do its business. No one really cares that you need to go from one hall to another to buy a revenue stamp and then go back again. Nobody checks how many doors he needs to knock to, before he does what he needs to do. I must admit that lately I have seen at least some improvement in Polish administration, but there is still much work to be done.

Let's say it clearly – if your work is not turn based, every minute of your time in administration building is a minute lost for economy. You either need to ask for a day off (or at least few hours), or you you are your own boss, you cannot do anything else at the same time. It's time for everyone to realize that.