You wouldn’t go on a trip to a place you’ve never been before without a map. Similarly, oranizational change requires a coherent, reasonable set of guidelines. The “Project Blueprint” outline below is one way to plan for improvements to existing processes, or to invent entirely new processes.
[Note: I authored a tailored, article-length version of the “project blueprint” for the Association of Legal Administrators’ online ALA Management Encyclopedia. The publication is for-pay only. If you’d like to see a copy, please contact me directly.]
1. Identify improvement opportunities
- Review requirements for successful change implementation
- Customer focus (internal and external)
- Total involvement (top-down leadership, bottom-up involvement, side-to-side integration)
- Measurement (that which is not measured cannot be improved)
- Systematic support (training, resources, rewards, recognition, policies, procedures)
- Continuous improvement (prevention and problem solving, participative management, rewards for initiative and risk-taking
- Align with company’s vision, values, strategy, goals
- Identify avoidable and necessary costs
- Quality grid (doing the right things, doing them right)
- 1-10-100 rule
- Identify key customers and suppliers
- Customer-supplier chain
- “Who is the ultimate consumer of this product/service?”
- “Who needs to be involved in order to meet customers’ needs?”
- Determine critical internal/external customers and suppliers
- Customer-supplier chain
3. Establish agreed-upon requirements
- Meet with all customers to determine requirements and corresponding measures. Ask, “What do you need from me?” and “What do you do with what I give you?”
- PRIDE model
- Product or service – What are we doing? What is the reason for this?
- Relationship – How do we communicate this function? How should we? What format? How often? What interpersonal requirements are necessary?
- Integrity – What follow-through is required? What are the consequences of not meeting requirements? How do we measure success?
- Delivery – Is the product/service going to the right person/people? Is it delivered in an efficient manner? Have we built flexibility into the delivery? What happens if delivery isn’t what is expected?
- Expense – Does this product/service provide value? Is it worth the cost/hassle?
4. Identify gaps
- Use PRIDE model
- What are the gaps between what “you” (customer) get, and what “I” (supplier) provide
5. Describe and analyze current process
- Identify all related processes; brainstorming
- Prioritize and select process for improvement; multivoting
- Describe current workflow and identity bottlenecks, gaps, rework and nonvalue-added steps; flowcharting for processes, trend-charting for results/measures
- Uncover root causes of problems in a process; “Why?” technique
6. Develop and execute solutions
- After analyzing current process, develop solutions to problems
- If current process cannot meet requirements, develop a new one
- Use contingency planning (failure planning w/ prevention checklist) to generate promising solutions
7. Measure and monitor
- Identify the measurements to be used
- Establish systems for tracking measures
- Ongoing, regular, reported trend-charting
- Review measures periodically with all customers/suppliers to make sure they are aligned with requirements and organizational priorities (which can/should change)
- Where does the next iteration of improvement lead?