Monday, September 16, 2013

Jury Duty - Part 2

By Pascal Dennis

In an earlier blog, I described my experience as part of Ontario's jury selection process -- (which is similar used in the US, UK etc.)

Delay, over-processing, anxiety & plenty of fog. Discussions with friends & colleagues suggest my experience was not unusual.

Yet, our trial by jury process is precious & we need to support it.

So, how might we improve? In this & future blogs, I'll provide some suggestions.

We might start by doing a SIPOC analysis: Supplier - Inputs - Process - Outputs - Customer.

Here's how our SIPOC might unfold. Let's start, as ever, with the customer.

Who is the customer? Why, the public.

What does the customer expect? Here are a few thoughts:

  • Justice for both the victim and the accused,
  • Reasonable speed -- we might set a lead time or throughput target
  • No bad guys should get off because of court delays,
  • No unreasonable hardship for jury members

What's the process? At the highest level, process seems to be:

1. Jury Panel Selection --> 2. Jury Selection --> 3. Court Case

What can muck up the process? Here are some possibilities, based on my experience

  • Poor information flow at step 1 -- (as a result you show up when you're not needed, sit for days with nothing to do & no info etc.)
    • How many jury panel members and jurors do we need?
    • When, and for how long, do we need them?
    • How many do we currently have? Is this above or below our standard?
    • What do we need to do get back to standard?

Without this info, we're likely to call too many jury panel members, for too many days, thereby generating delay, over-processing, defects & other forms of waste.

So, information flow seems an important direct cause.

Don't know enough about the process to surmise root causes, but the countermeasure seems obvious:

  • Better use of information technology to provide jury panel members with answers to questions posed above.
    • For example, can we not communicate with jury panel members by cell phone and e-mail?
      • "We won't need you tomorrow..."

Again, don't want to be misunderstood.

The problem, in my view, is in the jury selection process, not the people, who I found to be courteous, competent and cheerful.

(I'd welcome their comments & insights.)

More to come.



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