Understanding IMSMA Workflows and Business Rules
Rather than establishing one workflow that all programmes must use, IMSMANG allows information managers to establish their own programme-appropriate workflows and business rules to better support their specific needs. To document their programme-specific workflows, information managers describe the processes undertaken on each object in IMSMANG and the outputs or products from the processes. Typically, these workflows relate to the various categories of hazards and hazard reductions, but they can also be applied to other IMSMANG items as appropriate.
During this step, information managers map the process that each hazard goes through as it is cleared or its impact is otherwise reduced. Using a combination of the relevant hazard types, status values and relationships, information managers design an information workflow that will be implemented as standard operating procedures (SOPs) for data entry and analysis. Some programmes may have only one process for all categories of hazards while other programmes may have three or more processes.
Mapping the Workflow
The first element of mapping the hazard reduction workflow is to build a map of the relationship between the objects and processes involved in the hazard reduction process. Starting with the first representation of the hazard, the workflow map should describe the processes done to the hazard and the output of the process. The workflow map should trace the entire process from hazard identification through clearance and release of the land according to the operational process in use in the programme. In the example below, a confirmed hazardous area (CHA) is linked to a technical survey that was conducted on the hazard. The survey resulted in a minefield on which a clearance was done, and the clearance resulted in a cleared hazard. Finally, a completion survey was logged to close the hazard.
Mapping the Workflow
This workflow map identifies the hazard reduction process that is used within the programme and can be mapped in IMSMANG to track the clearance of hazards. Because IMSMANG supports customisable workflows, it can be used to track different workflows for different objects. For example, a programme may have a separate abbreviated workflow for spot UXO tasks that involve only the identification of the UXO hazard (object) and a clearance of the hazard (process) without additional surveys or steps. This process should also be mapped for implementing in IMSMANG.
Business Rules Updating Structure
Along with a workflow map that describes the relationship between the various types of objects and processes in a workflow, the status changes or outputs from the process are critical in adequately mapping the hazard clearance process. IMSMANG uses the status value of items to track where the object or process is in its workflow. Objects and processes in IMSMANG can have different status values. For example, hazards can be defined as "Active", "Worked On," or "Closed," while hazard reduction activities that are more process-oriented can be "Planned," "Ongoing," "Completed," "Suspended," or "Aborted." Defining a set of status values for each item provides the capability to:
- manage workflows according to status
- search and report on items based on a particular status
- display items on the map with different symbols based on their status
Some IMSMANG items may have many status values. For example, process-oriented items such as hazard reductions and quality management likely have many status values, but hazards and other object- or output-oriented items typically have only the three status values listed above. Some items like victims and accidents may not need status values depending on how information is used. Defining the possible status values for each object in the workflow as outputs of the processes conducted on them provides a set of business rules for information management that govern how information should be entered and analysed.
Example Workflows with Status Changes
The following figures show how each programme can tailor the system to support a specific hazard clearance/reduction workflow process for each type of hazard, from a traditional process for minefield clearance with multiple steps including a technical survey, clearance and completion survey to a simplified process for UXO clearance that includes only a clearance. Each example involves a single hazard on which one or more hazard reduction activities are conducted. At each step, information about the hazard’s status and type is updated as a result of the hazard reduction process.
In the figure below, a CHA is created and its status is set to "Active." A technical survey process is then conducted on the hazard which results in changing the subcategory of the hazard from "CHA" to "Minefield" and defining the hazard’s perimeter. Next, a clearance process is conducted on the minefield that results in updating the status of the hazard to "Worked On." Finally, a completion survey is submitted that updates the status of the hazard to "Closed."
Example of a Traditional Workflow
Simpler processes can be defined for other types of hazards. For example, a spot UXO task would likely not go through this complete workflow and instead start with a subcategory of "UXO" and a status of "Open." A clearance could then be conducted and the UXO spot status updated to "Closed," without requiring a completion survey.
Example of a Spot UXO Workflow
By documenting the entire process conducted on each type of hazard, including the changes in status and type that result from the hazard reduction activities, information managers create a complete map of the hazard/hazard reduction workflow that informs how linking and reconciliation decisions should be made and provide a guide to data entry personnel.
Progress Reporting Structure
Once the hazard and hazard reduction relationships and workflow are defined and documented for each type of hazard, the next step is to define how progress data for the hazard clearance processes is collected. Traditionally, incremental progress data is collected using progress reports. These reports are typically linked to the overall clearance operation and are used to collect the incremental progress for a reporting period, usually, the number of mines/UXO cleared, area cleared and hours worked. In IMSMANG, each progress report is stored as a new hazard reduction activity and linked to the clearance. As a result, individual progress reports can be queried to determine how much progress was made during a given reporting period. In addition, aggregate progress information can be queried for each clearance (for example, the total mines that have been reported cleared for a given clearance operation).
An alternative approach to storing progress information is to collect incremental progress reports and reconcile them as updates to the clearance using the combine option during reconciliation. Using this method, progress reports do not create independent hazard reduction items; rather, their information is combined with, and added to, the clearance information collected to that point. This approach simplifies the reconciliation step for progress reports as well as provides a simple summary of clearance data on each hazard in the current view. It may, however, become slightly more complicated to determine progress during individual reporting periods. Information managers should assess which approach better meets the needs of their programs when selecting an approach to tracking progress.
In the example below, progress reports were collected for three separate reporting periods during a clearance operation. Collecting and linking information in this way makes it easy to determine that in Period 2 (PR-2), 4,500 sqm were cleared and 25 AP mines were found and that, overall, 15,000 sqm were cleared and 61 AP mines were found. A defined, standardized approach to collecting and storing progress information simplifies querying and reporting of statistical information and is a critical element to supporting operational mine action information management needs.
Progress Report Workflow