On the Case

Michael Moore contributed to this blog.

The more you learn about case management, the more you see it in everyday life.

Consider the job of a police detective (like Joe Friday of Dragnet, pictured above), who takes on an unsolved crime and pursues it until the case is closed. Literally!

The detective assembles a list of suspects, speaks to witnesses, collects evidence, and tries to piece together what happened. He consults criminal data records, and sends forensic samples of fingerprints, blood, and saliva to labs for analysis.

Much of that work is standard procedure. But he also performs ad hoc work. He follows hunches and intuition in deciding who he interviews, what he asks, and in what order he chases leads. There are many possible ways to solve the crime and flexibility is important for this aspect of the work.

At all times, however, the detective must obey laws and regulations for permissible search and seizure, for filing evidence, and for interviewing suspects and witnesses. Improperly obtained evidence will not stand up in court.

Feel like you’ve seen this show before? Police, legal, and hospital television dramas are all examples of case management – the combination of standard and ad hoc work, orchestrated to achieve an optimal outcome, usually in about 42 minutes.

Like police work, most jobs we do contain a mix of standard and ad hoc action, aimed at particular goals and done within the constraints of rules and regulations. For routine work, we simply follow existing procedures to get things done. But other parts of our work aren’t standard at all: there’s no particular order or defined set of steps, and it takes a combination of judgment, experience and contributions from different people to get it done properly.

For decades, managing these different types of work has been difficult and confusing because it generally involved two different management approaches. Traditional control methods, such as workflow and business process management (BPM), have supported predictable work. Meanwhile, people have used case management to address less predictable types of work.

Today, however, you can use a single approach—dynamic case management (DCM)—to manage all the work in your organization. DCM allows you to define work in terms of a resolution and then manage a collection of tasks to achieve the desired outcomes. It empowers people and systems to respond to events and make faster and better decisions.

Look around, and you, too, will start seeing case management everywhere! Let me know what you’re seeing, you can reach me at @pegakens, via email or share your comment down below.


Dynamic Case Management (DCM) brings together people and information to get work done. Download Dynamic Case Management For Dummies now to discover how DCM can digitally transform your business.