Historian or Visionary… Which are you?

Anyone who has ever bought their own home can testify that it can be exciting, often frustrating, more than a little scary but, ultimately, immensely satisfying. Of course, that assumes everything goes according to plan. In simple terms, it’s something of an emotional rollercoaster.

The Retail sector is raising customer expectations of Housebuilders

If you’re in the business of selling new homes, you will be acutely aware of how changes in consumer expectations within the retail sector, are now reflected in the expectations of homebuyers. Consumers are no longer willing to ‘hope’ for a good experience, it is expected – whether the purchase is a mobile phone or a new build home. And if we don’t get it, there are plenty of communication channels, such as social media, where our displeasure with your brand can, and will, be amplified many times over!

When you consider these facts, it amazes me that sales teams still rely on backward looking metrics to measure their success, or lack thereof. By that, I mean focusing on things that have already happened, or gone wrong!

Number of completions, revenue and profit are all important measures, but they can only be measured AFTER the event.

At the other end of the sales process is the opportunity pipeline. The part where potential buyers that have shown a real interest and ‘qualify’ as your company’s definition of an opportunity. Some of those will drop out and some you’ll win. There’s probably a percentage calculation based on historical sales data that is used to set your sales targets.

Reflect on the past but FIX the future

What neither of these actually do, is measure anything which might predict if something is about to go wrong during the sales cycle. The first indication is typically when the buyer raises an objection, or it becomes clear the build won’t be delivered on time. You are now in a position where the damage has been done, it’s too late to mitigate the issue and your only option is to try and appease your buyer.

Revolutionise your processes to transform your customer experience

So how can you move from Historian to Visionary and identify measures that will tell you when something might go wrong before it does? How can your organisation sense and respond to potential issues, address them early and provide a better customer experience throughout the process?

The build process is complex and, typically, out of control of the sales team. However, having an integrated, end-to-end view of the whole process allows everyone, including your sales team, to see the key stages along the way. The Skore approach enables your organisation to build such an integrated model in a way that is easy for everyone to follow and understand.

By bringing different, but related teams together, the Skore approach clarifies who does what, and when key handovers of responsibility occur. The whole process becomes transparent and teams can identify points of critical, mutual communication. These are the points where potential issues in the build process should be communicated to the sales team early enough for them to do something about it, before the customer experience fails.

Measure what matters

Another unique feature of the Skore approach is in the way it makes you focus on the value added by each step of a process. These are the steps which often make great performance measurement points as they occur throughout the process, not just at the end.

Identifying and measuring indicators of success throughout the process means that you look to the future outcomes much sooner.

Using this approach, when certain parts of the process aren’t delivering as expected, these measures will act as an early warning of a potential problem that can be investigated and resolved and gives the sales team a heads up to communicate with the customer and manage their expectations.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can use Skore to build a sense and respond organisation and deliver a better customer experience, get in touch.

Are communications with Head Office causing problems for your business?

Have you ever heard someone say, “We know this doesn’t work well for us / our customers but Head Office make the rules and don’t listen to us”?

For example, in a shop where the stock levels are inconsistent. Or by a service provider where the member of staff isn’t empowered to make the changes that would improve customer experiences? How do you resolve a problem like a breakdown in communication between head office and remote sites?

In fact, communication breakdowns aren’t restricted to multi-site businesses. The problem can just as easily happen between teams on the same site. Or between the business and its suppliers and/or customers.

In our line of work, we hear this problem cited all too often. It’s especially common in multi-site businesses where teams simply don’t get the chance to interact on a day-to-day basis. However, it’s also a frequent factor in other businesses too, companies that are growing rapidly, where each team is focused on a specific objective or companies that haven’t changed in a long time even though the environment around them has.

When communication breaks down, or is perceived to have broken down, the result is a duplication of effort, rework, mistakes and a general lack of trust. All in all, not a recipe for a high performing business.

Before you jump ahead and start looking at which of the many available solutions you are going to use to improve collaboration, and therefore communication, STOP!

It is critical that you understand the root cause of the problem first. Once you have done this, the solution may be far simpler, and therefore less expensive to implement, than it initially appears.

A recent project saw the Skore team working with a client where two teams were doing the work that really belonged to one. Team A was the rightful owner of the work yet nearly 50% of it was being done by Team B.

Team B weren’t properly trained in the task and didn’t really have the time to do it. When things went wrong, Team A often got the blame. On top of that, many individual tasks were, unwittingly, being duplicated by both teams.

By the time we were engaged to help, trust was at a dangerously low level between the two teams and was adversely impacting their effectiveness. We started by mapping out the end to end work that both teams were doing. By using a simple approach, that enabled everyone to take part, the teams described the key activities, who owned them and the value each activity brought to the process.

These sessions were immensely powerful in stripping out any emotion attached to the inter-team relationships and allowed everyone to describe the work as it should be done. As we mapped out the steps and interactions, ownership was clarified as was, more importantly, the key interfaces and what was expected of each team.

It turned out that a member of Team A had moved to Team B over three years before. During a busy period, that employee was asked to lend their experience, temporarily, to Team A. However, that situation went on much longer than expected. When the employee eventually moved on to other things, they trained their replacement and included the additional work ‘temporarily’ being done on behalf of Team A.

Over time Team B had absorbed this work without question. Team B thought they were doing it because Team A weren’t capable. Team A thought Team B were deliberately taking their work because they didn’t trust Team A to do it properly!

The client had engaged us to help them capture requirements for an upgrade to one of their systems. A change that would alter the way aspects of their business processes worked. During the workshop we captured the necessary requirements, realigned the teams’ processes, roles and responsibilities and, as a result, dramatically improved trust and communication.

Using the Skore approach it is common to identify hidden problems in a business. And once a problem is identified you’re halfway to a solution. But when people are unable to articulate the problem, can’t see the root cause clearly, or aren’t empowered to challenge, problems will often be put down to communication and trust issues. In turn this can lead to accusations of poor workmanship when in fact it’s simply a broken process.

Don’t let a lack of trust or good communication damage your business.

Contact the team today and arrange a FREE, no obligation call to find out how the Skore approach can ensure trust, teamwork and communication is alive and well within your business.

Asking WHY can save your business a fortune!

As a consultant, one of the most powerful questions in my ‘toolbox’ is “why”?

Why do you do that? What’s the value?

It forces you to think beyond the superficial and dig into the real meaning of a piece of work. To understand what it ultimately adds to your business or customer.

It’s easy for me, to turn up at a new client’s premises and ask those questions. But why don’t businesses ask it enough of themselves?

What do you do to ensure you constantly challenge yourself and every person in your organisation, to consider the value in all that they do?

Asking ‘WHY’ is a great example of how the Skore approach consistently helps businesses using it, stay at the top of their game. It challenges team members at all levels within a business, to think about what they do and why. To always challenge the status quo and ask;

  • What value is this process adding to the customer?
  • How does each step contribute to that value?

When I am training clients teams on using the Skore approach, I often find the following anecdote highlights the importance of asking WHY.

Several years ago, I was working with a large construction and services company helping them define a standard process for a back-office function. A mundane but necessary step in their wider improvement programme.

In one session we started by capturing all the key steps in the process. These were displayed, in the order that they happened, on the screen for everyone to see. The room was full of heads nodding in agreement. A great start!

I then started to walk the team through each step, asking “why does this step happen?” or “what value does this step bring?”. As we moved through the steps it generated some great discussion and opened up a whole bunch of improvement ideas for the future. Ideas I duly captured and shared with the client team later.

Eventually we arrived at this innocuous step “produce weekly reports”. Again, I asked the question, “why do we do this?”. The team turned to look at the person who had described the step. “So that the weekly reports are produced?” was the response.

Hearing the past tense used to describe why something is done often rings alarm bells to me as it usually suggests that there’s little, or worse, no value in the activity. It’s hard to articulate, and isn’t always the case, but is a pretty good indicator that we need to try a little harder to uncover the value. I tried again, this time “OK, what do you do with the report once you’ve produced it?”

“Print it out and file it in the cabinet at the end of the office” came the reply. At this point the colleagues all looked at each other. My next question, “does anyone use that report?” was met with a sea of blank faces.

After investigation it transpired that this person was spending three hours every week producing these reports. The reports were filed away and never looked at. What’s more, we found no compliance reason for them to exist.

It turns out that when the colleague had joined the organisation 18 months before, their predecessor had included this activity as part of their job handover.

In that time over 210 hours had been wasted and if we hadn’t caught it, many more would have followed!

Through the application of the Skore approach, the identification of these types, and levels, of waste are commonplace.

Traditional methods of process improvement require a high level of discipline to apply it correctly, or alternatively, for a consultant to come in and do it. The more commonly used approaches to capturing and visualising ways of working don’t generally ask “why” at each step and therefore improvement opportunities, such as those described above, are easily missed.

It is for this reason that we built the “why” questions directly into the Skore platform.

When Skore is used to define and describe work processes it routinely asks;

  • What happens?
  • Who does it? and
  • Why?

If the questions are not answered, they remain visible until the are completed, acting as a reminder to investigate and understand them fully at some later point during the process.

Want to learn more about Skore? Request a Demo today!

Don’t let hidden costs damage your profits

When a business is embarking on a project, that will fundamentally change the way the organisation works, there are a number of steps to go through in order to properly identify the business aspirations and to understand exactly how change will impact the business. But these projects don’t tend to focus on finding hidden costs.

Typically, when the Skore team are called in to support this type of transformation project, our client will already have a specific goal, such as implementing a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application.

As a client you will have acknowledged that you have recurring problems, often including; the duplication of effort, repeatedly making the same mistakes, or simply not being able to keep on top of things with your existing working practices. But what other hidden costs might be lurking in the business?

Perhaps the system being implemented promises a new feature that will allow you to exploit a new process – for example, a client recently benefited from the introduction of an online chat widget, meaning that customers were able to interact directly with the support staff through the website.

In 2017, we published this article How we saved 80 days of waste during a system implementation. This project saw our client, a tier 1 engineering company, implementing a training administration system to manage the multitude of internal and external training courses they offer.

With well defined goals for the system implementation, Skore was selected for gathering the requirements. During the early project stages of the initial requirements workshops, we quickly identified the aforementioned extra 80 days of hidden cost!

Using that article as the catalyst, we decided to review other projects we’ve been involved in and see what additional benefits we helped our clients achieve.

Another client engaged Skore to support the definition of business processes in preparation for the implementation of a new order processing system. During the definition phase, we once again identified a number of improvement opportunities outside the scope of the core project, including time savings in the processes for ordering, stock management and returns.

The Skore approach also helped the team identify areas where data duplication was taking place. By addressing these instances, further time efficiencies were achieved through the reduction of duplicated effort and rework.

In our third example, the project looked at the clients’ product development process. A key factor in using the Skore approach is the detailed understanding of the interactions between all interfacing processes, people and technology. It was within these interfaces our client identified additional pain points that were adversely impacting their customer experience. The additional value added by Skore was being able to assist with resolving these problems outside of the core project.

This is just a small sample of our projects. However, our ongoing review process found one common theme – that additional benefits are consistently being identified outside of the defined scope of our projects.

What is most surprising, is that in virtually all cases, these unexpected benefits represent a significant cost saving to the client despite never having previously been identified. In fact, the teams were often not even aware they had a problem until the Skore approach was applied.

This is why the use of Skore tends to grow within organisations. After its initial introduction as a tool to support the delivery of a specific project, its value in identifying additional, or unexpected, benefits soon becomes clear. Skore can easily be applied to other parts of the business in order to optimise working practices, reduce costs, identify new opportunities and, in turn, increase profits.

To find out more about how Skore is helping organisations transform their performance and customer satisfaction, take a look at our case studies.

Or, to discuss how Skore could be applied to your own business, leave your details for one of our transformation specialists to arrange a call.

Case Study: How Skore Helps Mental Health Services for Children and Young People

Improving Placements for Local Children and Young People in South London

In 2017, a partnership of three NHS Trusts in South London embarked on a New Models of Care pilot in order to improve the experience of children and young people requiring inpatient placements in Mental Health Services. The partnership sought to reduce the distance that many children and young people, and their families, have to travel to these placements. The further from home a placement the greater the impact on the wellbeing of the patient and their family.

Change Platform Consulting led a series of workshops to understand the current state situation, develop a vision and then design future state processes. The workshops were facilitated using whiteboards and sticky notes along with Skore for the process capture and design. The team found the Skore approach both challenging and hugely valuable. The simple structure of the Skore approach challenges a team to not only describe WHAT happens but also WHY it happens. Furthermore, with it’s advanced RACI modelling, it asks WHO DOES the work, WHO OWNS the work and WHO ELSE needs to be involved.

“The team found the Skore approach both challenging and hugely valuable.”

These simple questions drive the discussion to the heart of the challenge a team is dealing with. It helps uncover problems within a process, it highlights misunderstanding, duplication and rework. All things we are looking to resolve or reduce in order to deliver a better service.

The Result of Skore Led Collaboration

In this phase of the programme the Skore approach helped the team model out different scenarios and make informed decisions about the best design moving forward. But more importantly it helped them address challenges in their existing ways of working and make immediate improvements even before they started implementing a solution.

As a result of these initial workshops the partnership saw a 75% reduction in the number of children and young people, from South London, staying outside the area. Across the partnership’s inpatient wards the total capacity used by local children and young people increased from 52% to 90%. The improved ways of working in this area also contributed to a 12% underspend against budget. All in the first 9 months.

These results demonstrate how the Skore approach and platform continually delivers value above and beyond the original project goals. It brings teams together and breaks down barriers in understanding very quickly. It delivers process discovery and analysis quicker than the competition. It forms the perfect basis for educating the workforce on the impact of changes to their ways of working. And helps you identify unexpected improvements.

Find Out More

To learn more about Skore and how it can deliver better outcomes for your organisation speak to one of our transformation experts here.

Change Platform Consulting is a specialist consultancy supporting clients to successfully understand and deliver strategic impact in the most complex of change initiatives. With significant experience in multi-organisation health and social care service change and transformation, they provide a range of services that support clients in people orientated change linked to strategic initiatives. Download the full case study here.

IDEFlite

Why do we need IDEFlite?

IDEFlite is the perfect way to communicate how a business process, and any underlying automation, is going to work between technical and non-technical audiences. This makes it an ideal point of reference throughout a project.

Audiences can use it to describe ideas, changes and potential issues in a way that reduces misunderstanding.

Unlike the typical flowchart modelling techniques, found in technical developments, IDEFlite is ideal for creating a high level view of a business process. It does so in a way that is easy to understand for anyone who needs to look at and comment on the model.

 

What is IDEFlite?

Based on IDEF0, IDEFlite is a simple, yet powerful, way to model activities, workflows and activities. It’s simple in that it uses a very limited notation which makes it easy to read for anyone.

While being very simple it can be used to describe extremely complex scenarios using decomposition. That is, every single activity can be described in more detail whenever required. Without the need for a complex library of descriptors.

When compared with IDEF0 one can see the primary difference is that IDEFlite does not make use of Controls and Mechanisms. Instead it focuses on Inputs and Outputs while including a human role.

How does it work?

The Building Blocks

 

Work is described as activities.

Every activity should have at least one input and output to set the scope of the work. All work should be owned by someone in the form of a supporting resource.

Activities are Linked Together

Work activities are linked together to form flow diagrams (processes).

Activities are Deconstructed to Form Hierarchy

Work activities can be deconstructed thereby creating a new detailed view of that activity. This forms a hierarchy of detail linking high level activities with low level tasks.

This is done when it is necessary to describe an activity in more detail. For example during a conversation about how something works. If the current flow does not adequately describe a particular interaction the user can take that step and create a detailed view.

Each level of detail is a new diagram, together this collection of hierarchically linked diagrams is a map.

Skore natively supports the use of IDEFlite, why not request a demo to see how.

How we keep Skore at the cutting edge

We’ve never wanted to sit still and we’re always looking for ways to improve our company, our services and our products. Earlier this year we released the latest version of our Skore web application. This included an almost complete rebuild of the whole app from ground up.

It’s no small undertaking to start from scratch but we felt the time was right. As you develop a product there’s lots of trial and error, some things work well others, not so much. Feedback from users is essential but so is our own experience using the product. And this is something we pride ourselves on, we use our product on a daily basis.

But it’s not just user experience and usability changes that are important. As we develop the software we learn what works and what doesn’t. We realise that some choices, that seemed right at the time, have challenged us later on. This is why it’s important to take the opportunities to rebuild when they arise. To apply, from the beginning, all the lessons we’ve learnt since the last time.

For those that have followed us since 2014 they’ll know that this isn’t the first time we’ve rebuilt the product, or redesigned the user interface. Here are some of our previous user interfaces that some users will remember, some more fondly than others!

Skore Prototype

While not the very first prototype you can see one of the first uses of the what and why boxes. The product was then called Score with a C. All the main controls are there which allowed us to start testing with real users before we officially released.

Skore Version 1

Our first official release of Skore was for the desktop only. The interface was simple, there was no way to apply styles to the content. The editor tool bar was along the top of the application rather than the left bar we use now. By this time we had added the sticky note feature that allowed the user to annotate process models.

All the key features were here by this point, rapid modelling, shortcuts, multi-layers and attachments on each box. Although in version 1.0 you could only share processes by PDF or with other users of Skore desktop.

Skore Version 2

Following a business review with the Happy Startup School we underwent a rebrand, new logo and website. Then we decided to follow up with a redesign of the Skore user interface.

We worked with Mike C from Think.gg to design a new interface with darker colours contrasted with the green we had adopted in our logo and website.

We implemented a bright fun backdrop to the app which proved controversial. Some users loved the playful background and others immediately asked us to remove it. We quickly implemented a configuration item for those that weren’t fans.

By this time the app had implemented stylesheets that let users change the look and feel of the visualisations, add images or choose from the library of icons.

It was shortly after the release of this version that we started working on our first web app. To get up to speed as quickly as possible we build a separate backend web application and graphted the new Skore editor on top of it.

One of the biggest challenges for us is that we used different teams, and different designs, for the main web interface and the editor interface. These were completely different apps that had been integrated. It soon became clear that we’d need a complete rebuild to resolve the increasing technical debt that had built up.

Skore Version 3

Back in late January we released our Unity interface, or Skore version 3, which brings all parts of the application into a single design. This version of the interface has undergone the most extensive user testing to date. This led to a standardisation of common functions such as Search, New, Edit and Save across each type of content in the workspace.

The interface also came in time for our new branding which was easily implemented into the system.

This is a great step forward for us, it demonstrates our commitment to continually improving the product. It’s not just the interface but the rebuild ensures we also constantly update and improve the architecture, security and performance of the application.

If you would like to learn more about Skore why not request a demo.

Process governance and agile

Do you need processes at team level?

At the heart of an agile organization is a deep understanding of how we work together. In an agile team, the constant collaboration between the members help doing so. Retrospective meetings are the institutionalised forum for talking about “how we work”. In reality, every time people talk together there is a little bit of “how” in the conversation. How many conversations end with “you do this, then I do that”.

There is little need to formalise processes in too much details at a team level. This is compensated by clear and open communication between the members.

Do you need processes at an organisation level?

This gets more complicated when several teams are working together (team = sharing coffee machine). Such as procurement and production; or sales and accounting. Or Head office – regional offices.

At this level, the interactions are less regular, and, we do not systematically voice concerns or “just” change  how things work. Processes change are often heavy and it’s easier to not do it.

This is where process definition gets critical to understand how things work. And this is where you need some sort of governance to make it right, especially around change.

What is process governance in an agile organization?

This post finishes with a list of open questions / thoughts because I don’t have a definitive answer (yet).

  • Create a system that allows continuous improvement (CI) of processes (willingness to do so, and an approach to make it) at cross-functional level
  • Create the incentive to do CI across several teams (incentive = people will find the time to do it)
  • Have a common language to describe the work so that everyone can prepare in the best way (Hello, Skore)
  • Process owner is key role to make that happen
  • Middle management is a key role to make that happen
  • Good understanding of outcomes of the process vs. outputs to be in the right context

The key seems to be to create “space” in the organisation for continuous improvement activities…

To be continued.

10 Steps to the Perfect Process

I’m often asked how much of what we do is down to the software and how much is down to our experience. It’s a hard question to answer. I’ve been doing this work for a long time and I’m always learning new things. Undoubtedly I see things that less experienced people might not but I had to start somewhere.

I’ve always found simple structures and approaches to be the most effective. The most effective for getting started, guiding you, learning from and building experience. That’s why we built Skore based on a simple, yet powerfully flexible, framework for describing processes, people, systems and data.

Skore has the framework built in to it, it makes it quick and easy to apply. But there is still an approach that underpins the application of the framework. After hundreds of training sessions I’ve put together the following 10 simple steps to creating the perfect process.

Do I follow these perfectly every time? No, but if you do follow them, along with Skore, you will create good quality and insightful process models of your organisation in 10 simple steps.

10 Steps to the Perfect Process

1. SCOPE
What is the scope for this process? Capture the Title, initial input and final output

2. ACTIVITIES
What is the work to be done? Verb and Noun, no need to worry about sequence

3. OUTPUTS
For each activity, add the output, trying to avoid just putting the past tense of the activity

4. FLOW
Only once all the activities have an output, hook them up. What does this output trigger next? This checks you’ve got the right activities

5. WHO
A process is not complete until the ‘Who does it?’ is filled in for EVERY activity. For higher levels, who is responsible? For lower levels, who does it?

6. ENRICH
Add in things like systems, data, document links, requirements, etc… depending on the reason you’re process mapping

7. TIDY
Align the tops, space apart… a neat process is a happy process

8. SHARE
Don’t keep the process to yourself, make sure the access rights are set up correctly and share the link to a wider audience. Switch on Comments if you want feedback directly through Skore

9. REFINE
Take the feedback and improve the process

10. PUBLISH
Decide who should approve the process (usually the Process Owner!) and Publish. Remember, this is just a line in the sand, it will change and need to be re-published. You can always roll back to an earlier version if needs be.

Download 10 Steps to a Perfect Process as a PDF.

The Magic of Hierarchy

The importance of hierarchy

Probably my favourite tool in the arsenal of analyst techniques has to be decomposition. Whether it’s functional or process decomposition there is nothing like it for arranging problems into the big picture. Then breaking that picture down into its component parts so that you can start to make sense of it.

And yet hierarchy, in recent years, has got a pretty bad reputation. As Stanford professor Bob Sutton wrote this weekend in this LinkedIn article. He was brought up to believe that hierarchy was bad and led to inefficiency, yet research for his new book showed that hierarchy is unavoidable.

Hierarchy is nature’s gift to us in helping us understand the World around us. Citing research by his colleagues Deb Gruenfeld and Lara Tiedens he describes how hierarchy is found in every single group of animals found in nature. To quote Gruenfeld and Tiedens directly:

“When scholars attempt to find an organization that is not characterized by hierarchy, they cannot.”

Hierarchy structures the relationships between people and things into parent, child and peer relationships. This makes it easier for us to remember those relationships, it provides an organising principle that is standardised across everything. We simply have to know how hierarchy works in order to understand something that is new to us.

This is what makes decomposition so powerful. It comes naturally to us human beings so is not really something that needs much in the way of education. When we apply it, it’s often to an area that seems chaotic and complex. By decomposing we overlay a hierarchy that allows us to understand what was previously incomprehensible. It allows us to break problems down into component parts in order to tackle them effectively and even start to predict what will happen when we make changes.

It doesn’t just aid understanding, it also helps us to remember. Instead of having to remember every single discreet component of an organisation you simply need to remember a small subset. You can then use this along with the hierarchical organising principle and you will be able to fairly accurately calculate the missing pieces.

Skore and decomposition

This is what makes decomposition one of the first things I do when introduced to a new problem and this is why we made decomposition one of the central parts of Skore. It surprises me how few products there are out there that help you do this easily, one of our favourites is Workflowy.

Right from the beginning we wanted to give people the ability to decompose as thought it was second nature. With Skore you simply capture a few high level actions that describe the ‘big picture’ then use the details button on each What Box to decompose to the next level creating a hierarchy as you go. This means it is really important that you complete the Why Box for each step. The Why Box is used to determine the outcome of each step, what’s expected once the action is complete. By doing this consistently you are setting your scope for the next level of detail and making it easier to focus on that detail.

Detail button on a What Box in Skore

When looking at any new problem Skore is one of the first tools I reach for, sketch out the big picture and then explore the details of any relevant parts.

3 things to remember

Hierarchy is all around us – it is an organising principle built into nature and helps us understand otherwise complex situations.

Use decomposition to organise and understand problems – start at the ‘big picture’ and break it down into component parts in order to understand what it is and what to do next.

Use the Details button in Skore to decompose a step – each What Box has a details button, clicking this will give you a clean canvas with the context of the parent step including the descriptions of the What and Why boxes. You can break individual steps into detail views as often as you need until you reach the right level of detail.

This is an extended version of an article from Human Automation.