Lazy Evaluation is a very useful and innovative method in Computational Science. It involves delaying computing certain things till you are absolutely sure you need the value of that computation to proceed further. Programming Languages, applications and even system software like screen display painting algorithms in User Interfaces have used this method to speed things up!
This principle seems applicable in Business Process Improvement. In many countries, when applying for a passport they ask for Police Verification of the identity of the applicant. This introduces delays in the process for everyone. Using the 80/20 rule, 80% of these applicants can either be approved automatically or automatically denied a passport since no bad information exists or the bad information is so overwhelming that no further thought is needed. In a sensitive application like passport approval, even if this step is not skipped, it can at least be delayed and made contingent upon some bad information showing up. You can be automatically be approved for a passport and if something bad comes up, it can be revoked. In an age when most countries store all information about passport, arrivals and depatures in a computers this should be a no-brainer!
The principle of delaying even the execution of a process step and avoiding it completely under certain conditions, can help improve many business processes immensely. Whether it is a credit card, mortgage or loan you are applying for, it pays to think about delaying certain process steps or avoiding them altogether, This may effect an impressive degree of process improvement.
While attempting process improvement it easy to think about whether you can parallelize process steps that are currently sequential and make some parallel steps optional only under certain conditions. This is the lesson you can borrow from Lazy Evaluation!
God Delays, But Doesn’t Forget – Spanish Proverb