Process Improvement Training

SECTION 3.6

The Business Process Innovation (BPI) training program involves focused management workshops designed to encompass the best methods and strategies in Total Quality Management (TQM) and business process re-engineering. The workshops provide a basis for innovation efforts aimed at streamlining business processes and improving administrative efficiency, while countering bureaucratic tendencies toward continually adding more systems, policies, and layers of complexity. BPI training aims to embody the best from both TQM and business process "re-engineering," biased toward re-engineering-like, aggressive redesign at the "front end," with a transition into the sustained quality improvement methods characteristic of TQM in the later stages of improvement.

Participants are drawn from a cross-section of campus middle and upper management. The program is designed to teach tangible management strategies, methods, and techniques. It is analytical in its approach to decision-making and includes insights on the behavioral problems of changing business/administrative practices, based on proven results from similar organizations.

To date, over 240 individuals have completed the one-and-one-half-day BPI Workshop, including employees within Administrative and Business Services, BPI team members, and staff from academic units. All A&BS employees involved in supervision and/or process streamlining projects are required to attend the BPI workshops. New A&BS employees attend the workshops at an early date to ensure that they are provided with an overview of the BPI program and are given the tools with which to contribute to process streamlining and process innovation efforts.

Workshops cover:

A. Need and Motivation for BPI

  1. The compelling need to improve administrative effectiveness
  2. Linkage between BPI and organizational goals
  3. Role of BPI/process improvement training within the larger context of A Model for Sustaining Administrative Improvement

B. BPI Concepts and Definitions

  1. General concepts and strategies for BPI
  2. Definition of BPI -- what it is and isn't
  3. Definition of a business process
  4. Criteria and methodology for selecting business processes for innovation

C. Tools Training

  1. Analytical tools
    1. Benchmarking
    2. Process Flowcharts
    3. Brainstorming
    4. Multivoting
    5. Cause-and-Effect Diagram
    6. Force Field analysis
    7. Check sheets
    8. Pareto charts
    9. Histograms
    10. Run charts/control charts
  2. Normative tools
    1. Teamwork principles
    2. Simplification principles
    3. Effectiveness principles

D. High-Performance Teams

  1. Team definition
  2. Stages of team growth
  3. Contrast between dysfunctional committees and functional teams
  4. Behavioral dynamics
    1. Harnessing conflict for constructive advantage
    2. Employing neutral process facilitators
    3. Decoupling personal dynamics from problem-solving
    4. Embracing teamwork principles
    5. Balancing process and product
    6. Questioning common assumptions
    7. Stopping to appreciate accomplishments
  5. Process dynamics
    1. Determining criteria for decision-making
    2. Developing team ground rules
    3. Establishing team meeting roles
    4. Adopting general meeting guidelines
    5. Maintaining team records and minutes

E. Techniques and Strategies for Process Innovation

  1. Introduction to BPI methodology using Digital Equipment "six-step model"
    1. Create a re-engineering framework
    2. Identify customers and determine needs
    3. Map the existing process
    4. Measure process performance
    5. Redesign the existing process
    6. Implement the redesign
  2. Key concepts and specific techniques for each of the six steps
  3. Key focus areas
  4. Critical organizational roles
  5. Methods and techniques
  6. Summary of potential obstacles

F. Resources

  1. Suggested reading materials
  2. Availability of reading materials within A&BS BPI library

In addition to the above BPI workshops, advanced BPI training is offered in specific areas: Team Facilitation and BPI Six-Step Process methodology.

Team Facilitation

External facilitators work with BPI cross-functional teams to assist the team in freeing itself from internal obstacles so that it may more effectively pursue its objectives. The facilitator acts as a catalyst, precipitating effective group actions independent of its specific work-product. Individuals attend the training prior to assuming their roles as team facilitators. Ongoing opportunities for interaction among facilitators are offered so that facilitators can further refine their skills by sharing experiences with each other.

Team facilitator training includes:

A. Role of Team Facilitator

B. A Model for High-Performance Teams

  1. Teamwork principles
  2. Behavioral dynamics
  3. Process dynamics

C. Stages of Team Development

  1. Forming
  2. Storming
  3. Norming
  4. Performing

D. Facilitator Tools

  1. Active listening
  2. Verbal behavior
  3. Constructive feedback
  4. Neutrality
  5. Observation
  6. Conflict management
  7. Initiating action (minimum and maximum interventionist strategies)

E. Role Playing

  1. Entrenched team leader
  2. Unquestioned acceptance of data
  3. Criticism
  4. Domination
  5. Splinter groups
  6. Lack of participation
  7. Imbalance of process and product
  8. Breaking team norms
  9. "Analysis paralysis"
  10. People focus (versus process focus)

F. References

BPI Six-Step Methodology

An advanced training workshop in the BPI Six-Step Model is provided to individuals appointed to cross-functional BPI teams. This workshop provides team members with an opportunity to learn about one another, developing an understanding of each other's communication styles, backgrounds, skills, and experiences. The team works with the workshop leader in applying the Six-Step Model to their specific team charge. The workshop includes a videotape outlining the Six-Step Model in detail, with discussion of each of the steps as it specifically relates to the process selected for innovation.