Immigration Clearance on My Way to Seattle

Last Year, I was on my way to Seattle, Washington waiting in the queue for the Clearance. It was a long queue and is taking 30 minutes by the officer to do the clearance for 10 people. There are 25 people left in front of me and I was expecting another 75 minutes for my turn.

At its best, life is completely unpredictable, Same is the case here as well:

Suddenly I can see another 30 people were rushing into the counter as their flight landed 45 minutes late and unfortunately, these passengers don’t have enough time to wait in the queue as they might lose their connection flights. So the security officers shared the Priority Passes allowing them to get into the front of the queue.

Alright!, Now this has added another 90 minutes of waiting time to complete my clearance unless the airport authorities add couple more officers for verification. This has created a discomfort on a few of my fellow passengers in the queue, however, this was fine by me as I have enough time to catch my connecting flight.

After these Priority Passengers have completed their clearance. There are some elderly people / Parents with newborn start appearing randomly. Sometimes one by one, sometimes in groups. They also have priority to be served before anyone else. This actually reminds me of the IT service delivery help-desk that we set up for plenty of projects/programs known as Classes of Service OR A typical Agile Team’s Backlog.

Class of Service (CoS):

Class of Service in Kanban Method is a policy or set of policies around the order in which work items are pulled through a given process once those items are committed to. In other words, You include some items in a Group or Bucket or Category and treat differently once they are in your process. Probably due to their Business Value, Impact of risk etc., or item types or any other reason specific to that Project / Program / Portfolio.

The idea behind Class of Service (CoS):

The idea behind CoS is that you should give privilege to certain items due to their Business Value or Impact of Risk etc.. For example, In software development, Let us take Banking or Financial Services or Insurance (BFSI) domain where we delay the other work items to give space to any of the Late Regulatory Items or any other Priority-1 Issues causes huge Impact in running the business operations. This can raise Expected Lead Time of the Existing Items in Queue and the Due Date can Go for a Toss.

The Reason for using Class of Service (CoS):

We should ask ourselves the reason why we use CoS in the first place. We discussed a little bit about Business Value and Risk Profiles. Yet, most of the times, the reason for using CoS is one of the following two:

  1. Either thing are taking too long to go through your process
  2. Their Lead Time is too unpredictable and the business needs predictability. For some items, at least.

Difference Between CoS & Prioritization:

Please don’t confuse CoS with PrioritizationPrioritization happens after the item enters the process.

When you pull work item into your process, Always remember to pull the most valuable piece based on your prioritization criteria. But, once it’s in, it’s in. Later in the process, your best approach to predictability should be to treat all items in a First in / First Served (FIFS) order.

Return to Immigration Clearance & Relate it with Some of the Metrics:

In the Immigration Clarence, there were 4 different CoS (Late, Elderly, Parents with newborn and Standard Passengers).

Explore Some of the Useful Metrics:

Lead Time. The total time it takes to deliver an item. This can be well represented using Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD), would be a good topic to discuss in Part-II

Cycle Time. The time required to process an Item. This is also called Predictability Measures. I am not calculating the Cycle Time for Immigration Clarence at the moment because of the passengers’ arrival rate with departure rate impacts cycle time & predictability.

Lead Time Vs. Cycle Time. Lead Time is useful to understand the Cycle Time. This can be well represented using a Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD), would be a good topic to discuss in Part-II

Reaction Time. It is also good to measure the reaction time, Your Kanban board will help you to measure this by calculating the time from ready to the first column, to see how long it takes them-on average-to respond to the new request.

Throughput. The number of work items exiting a System or Sub System per unit of time whether completed or discarded.

System is a complex and dynamic construct or community of parts through which people, materials, information, and energy flows, changing and being changed. The behavior of both the whole and the parts of the system is relevant, but it is the holistic nature of the system that is of paramount concern in“Systems Thinking”. In the context of this book, we are concerned primarily with social and organizational systems.

Reducing Cycle Times increases Throughput, Your CFD will always help you to monitor this. Let us discuss more Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD) in Part-II with Immigration Clearance with Data Points.

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