Free Investigative Process Review

Free Investigative Process Review

Investigative units have a workflow that starts when a referral is reviewed and assigned to an investigator and ends when the case is closed. What happens in the middle is the machine the investigations manager oversees.

Proper controls for an investigative unit should emphasize detailed tracking for each case. A sound tracking system also documents every step of the investigative process, from assignment to closure.

Of course, the proper management of an investigative team requires more than just case flow. There must be regular contact with each investigator to check in and see how they are doing with their cases.

If left unmanaged, workflow issues can result in bottlenecking, late, or even lost cases. You can think of each case as a drop of water. Together, all the cases form a stream that moves along with time. It is essential to have a method of monitoring this flow.

Bottlenecking occurs when cases move too fast in one part of the process and too slow in another. Bottlenecks create significant problems for case flow, so it is essential to know which components of your unit’s operations need to speed up or slow down.

Bottlenecking causes delays, which means cases will age while stuck in a blocked workflow. The importance of time is really up to your specific work area, but I have seen investigations delayed for months when a system gets stopped up, while some units are required to close their cases in a matter of weeks. These two metrics, case delays and short deadlines, do not mix well. Before you know it, you have a problem.

Unfortunately, most supervisors have the knee-jerk reaction to think that case flow problems are employee problems. So, instead of fixing the broken process, they assume they need to push the employees harder. While there are occasional bad apples in every workforce, most significant problems that involve more than a few people are not personnel issues. They are process problems, not the result of bad employees.

A manager can create a stressful work environment when they attempt to fix workflow issues by ignoring processes and focusing on the employees. Work becomes easy and even enjoyable once systems are in place to track, monitor, and prioritize daily tasks.

Modern technology offers many options for tracking and optimizing a unit’s workflow, but, unfortunately, these solutions are costly. If you work for a government agency, you know purchasing a new case management system costs millions of dollars and takes a few years before implementation is complete.

We have found an easy way to track and manage workflow using two tools that most places already have: email and a spreadsheet tool such as Microsoft Excel or Apple’s Numbers. Microsoft Teams can add additional functionality. You can use these tools to create a workflow that will handle most of your case management needs. It is quick, efficient, effective, and cheap. In short, it works.

We can help you set up this system using your existing tools. It works great for us, and I know it will work wonders for your investigative team. Send us an email at, and we’ll set up some time to show you this easy system.

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