Make a change
Is there a “Loughborough way” to implement change?
Yes. The Change Team follows the method below, as outlined by the Chief Operating Officer, Richard Taylor.
Watch Richard's presentation for further information on this approach.
- DEFINE the process that we are seeking to improve and its purpose. But define from the end user’s perspective rather than from our own organisational structure. So, for example, it’s not “admissions”. It’s “make me a student”.
- Establish MEASURES by which to evaluate the success of the new process. These would normally include hand-offs, touch points and end-to-end process times. Additional process-specific measures may become apparent during CHECK and FOLLOW.
- CHECK – collect information and data on the current process from the perspective of the end user (i.e. the interactions end users have with our service). This could be email, phone calls or observing front line drop-ins.
- Do this by FOLLOWing the flow of the process around the organisation – literally. Speak to front-line staff – not just their managers. And most importantly gather information on their interactions with end users.
- CATEGORISE that data into “Value” and “Failure” demand. The former is where in responding to the request we are genuinely adding value (e.g. I’ve moved address, please update my address). The latter is where we are correcting something we should have ideally got right first time (e.g. I’ve not heard back about the application I made). Sub-group the demand into sets of demand.
- MAP the current flow of the process at a high level – again from the end user’s perspective.
- ANALYSE the demand patterns and current flow. Identify where we have waste, hand-offs and duplication.
- Establish high-level operating PRINCIPLES that underpin the DESIGN of a simpler flow.
- DESIGN a new, simpler flow at a high level.
- EXPERIMENT with a sub-set of end users by taking them through the new process. The reason for a sub-set is it allows you to test and refine process using manual methods – i.e. without a need at this stage for an IT solution.
- SCALE-UP the experiment by computerising the processes and rolling in additional work.
- Continually REVIEW the new process to ensure that it is working as intended. Do this by CHECKing and FOLLOWing the new process and gauging it against the measures.
What are the key roles and responsibilities for process change?
Below are definitions for roles used within the context of a process review:
Each project will have a sponsor who will usually be the individual who holds overall cross-university responsibility for the service in question.
The sponsor is there to help the project team effectively define the process in the first instance and to provide regular challenge to the group to ensure they are following the steps of the change method correctly and interpreting any results correctly. The sponsor will also play an important role in removing barriers to change encountered by the team as they make progress. The sponsor is not there to direct the work or contradict the findings of the team if they have reached conclusions legitimately through the application of the method.
The group should report progress on at least two occasions (proposal is first following check, and again following experiment) to a wider group of stakeholders. The wider group of stakeholders will be identified by the sponsor and will include the managers of the staff engaged on the project and any other appropriate individuals.
The person in this role should be sufficiently senior to provide matrix-style management support to the process operators; they should have in-depth knowledge of the operational processes in order to undertake the project, as well as perform continuous review once the improved process has been implemented.
The project facilitator is responsible for ensuring that the process improvement method is effectively applied throughout the change project. They will be required to work closely with the project sponsor and process owner, initially to identify a project team who will work on the project, and then to coordinate the actions of this team to ensure the project progresses in a timely manner.
The project team is composed of staff from across schools and professional services. These are the individuals who deliver the process and will often have direct contact with the end users. The project team will undertake the process review and be responsible for the implementation of resulting improvements.
The end user is the individual experiencing the service provided by the University.
What training is available to help me make a change?
The Change Team in conjunction with Staff Development offer a training course, Understanding Process Improvement.
For individuals and teams wishing to make process improvements in their area further information on this courses is available from Staff Development.
How do I get my change project started?
Many Change Projects come about as a result of a request to IT Services for a new piece of software, or IT development. The Loughborough approach to change means that before we invest time and resource into building IT systems, we want to understand exactly what it is that the end users need from us, and to ensure that we are providing this in an efficient and valuable way.
This allows us to move away from ways of working where a new IT system will be overlaid on an existing, and often sub-optimal process, and towards a way of working that spends time understanding the root causes of poor user experience and then fixing the underlying process issues, before implementing electronic systems.
For this reason, you may find that you are directed from IT Services to the Change Projects Team in order to get your change proposal off the ground.
Change Team can offer support for projects in two ways:
1) Change Team offer support as a ‘guide on the side’
The focus of the Change Team involvement will be to offer initial training on the process improvement method and to review project progression with you, at key points, to ensure that the method is being effectively applied.
Once the review and an experiment with a new clean process have been completed, the proposal will progress to IT Portfolio Board where it will be considered alongside other potential projects and a decision will be made on resource allocation.
2) Change Team provide support as a ‘project facilitator’
For large scale and complex projects that cut across multiple Schools and Professional Services the Change Team may act as a facilitator. If this is appropriate, the Change Team will work with you to develop a Project Initiation Document for consideration by the Process Change Portfolio Board (PCPB). The PCPB endorses and prioritises Change Projects and Change Team resource.
If approved by PCPB, the Change Team will adopt a more formal role in your change project, not only ensuring that the method is effectively applied, but also coordinating the project team to ensure that work is progressed in a timely manner. The Change Team will also contribute to the development of communication strategies for the project and ensure that the Process Change Portfolio Board and a wider stakeholder group is kept informed of progress.
Once the process improvement method has been completed, project proposals will be elevated to IT Portfolio Board.
Please contact Meg Stafford in the first instance to discuss your requirements in more detail.
How can I create a visual representation of our processes?
The Change Team make great use of Microsoft Office Visio (part of the standard Microsoft Office suite of applications available on the University Desktop Service). It's easy to use and here are some Visio tutorials to help get you started.
How can I learn more about process improvement theory?
We have set up a reading list containing some recommended reading on process improvement and Lean theory. All the books are available in the University Library.