A methodology to measure coordination of business processes

Alba Nydia Nunez, Florida International University


Coordination of business processes is the management of dependencies where dependencies constrain how the tasks are performed. It has been traditionally done in an intuitive fashion, without paying much attention to the coordination load. Coordination load is being defined as the ratio between the time spent on coordination activities and the total task time. Previous efforts to understand and analyze coordination have resulted in mostly qualitative approaches to categorize and recommend coordination strategies. This research seeks to answer two questions: (1) How can we analyze process coordination problems to improve overall performance? (2) What guidance can we provide to reduce the coordination load of the process and consequently improve the organization's performance? Thus, this effort developed a quantitative measure for coordination load of business processes and a methodology to apply such measure. This effort used a management simulation game to have a controlled laboratory environment enabling the manipulation of the task factors variability, analyzability, and interdependence to measure their impact on coordination load. The hypothesis was that the more variable, non-analyzable, and interdependent a process, the higher the coordination load, and that a higher coordination load would have a negative impact on performance. Coordination load was measured via the surrogate coordination time, and performance via profit. A 22 x 31 full factorial design, with two replicates, was run to observe the impact on the variables coordination time and profit. Properly validated spreadsheets and questionnaires were used as data collection instruments for each scenario. The experimental results indicate that lower task analyzability (ρ=0.036) and higher task interdependence (ρ=0.000) lead to higher coordination load, and higher levels of task variability (ρ=0.049) lead to lower performance. However, contrary to the hypotheses postulated by this work, coordination load did not prove to be strong predictor of performance (correlation of -0.086). These findings from the laboratory experiment and other lessons learned were incorporated to develop a quantitative measure, a tool (survey) to use to gather data for the variables in the measures, and a methodology to quantify coordination load of production business processes. The practicality of the methodology is demonstrated with an example.

Subject Area

Industrial engineering|Management

Recommended Citation

Nunez, Alba Nydia, "A methodology to measure coordination of business processes" (2006). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3235613.