How to go about making a change and process improvements in your area.

Is there a “Loughborough way” to implement process improvement?

The Change Team follows the 12 step method below, as outlined by the Chief Operating Officer, Richard Taylor:  

  1. 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”. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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. 
  6. MAP the current flow of the process at a high level – again from the end user’s perspective. 
  7. ANALYSE the demand patterns and current flow. Identify where we have waste, hand-offs and duplication. 
  8. Establish high-level operating PRINCIPLES that underpin the DESIGN of a simpler flow. 
  9. DESIGN a new, simpler flow at a high level. 
  10. 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. 
  11. SCALE-UP the experiment by computerising the processes and rolling in additional work. 
  12. 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. 

For further information on this approach,watch Richard Taylor's presentation (click the blue ‘Login via SSO here’ button and sign in using your University credentials). 

How do I get my process review and improvement project started?

At Loughborough we seek to understand the root causes of poor end user experience and what end users need from us before we invest time and resource into sourcing or developing IT solutions. This ensures we deliver services in an effective and efficient way.  

To facilitate a successful process review and improvement project firstly you need to identify key people who can help you to fully understand the end-to-end process, advocate your change proposals and approve resource for their implementation. You should establish a project team consisting of a project facilitator (which can be you), the process owner, representatives from the group of process operators and, depending on the complexity of the project, an IT Services representative identified by the IT Services Business Partnering Team. The project team should always seek the views of end users to inform decisions about process improvements. 

The project team should report progress to the Sponsor and a wider group of stakeholders on at least three occasions: 1) following ‘Check’ to establish whether a full review is required; 2) following ‘Experiment’ to decide whether to improve the process given available time and resources; and 3) following process improvement to report on outcomes in terms of the measures collected during the process review stage

Key people and their roles and responsibilities are described below: 

End Users
The End Userare the people experiencing the service provided by the University. 

The Facilitator is required to work closely with the Project Sponsor and Process Owner to form a project teamsupport the team to ensure that the process improvement method is applied throughout and that the project progresses effectively and in a timely manner.  

Process Owner(s)
A Process Owner has operational responsibility for the process and oversees its delivery using matrix-style management of stakeholders across the university where required. They have in-depth knowledge of the processes and will perform continuous review once the improved process has been implemented. 

Process Operators
Process operators include everyone who has responsibility for delivering any part of the process to the end user and can demonstrate how the process works in reality during the ‘follow’ step of the method.  

IT Services Business Partnering Team
If there is an expectation that, following the process review, an IT development or software solution will be a likely requirement, the IT Services Business Partnering Team should be contacted at the earliest possible stage: They can advise on the relative priorities and resource requirements of projects in the pipeline, which may help to inform decisions about implementation, or they may be able to suggest alternative options the project team have not considered. 

Project Sponsor
The Project Sponsor has overall responsibility for the service and should have input into the ‘Define’ step of the method. They should ensure that the steps of the change method are followed and that results are interpreted correctly; the sponsor should not direct the work or contradict the findings of the project team if they have reached conclusions legitimately through the application of the method. Sponsorshould seek to remove barriers to change encountered by the project team as they make progress.  

How can I create a visual representation of our processes?

The Change Team make great use of Microsoft Office Visio. If you require Visio to map out your processes, please request this by emailing (ask your Manager to approve your request with a follow up message). It's easy to use, here is a Visio tutorial to help you get started. 

What training and support is available to help me make a change?

Change Team can offer support for projects in two ways:

Bespoke support

The Change Team will provide initial training in the Loughborough Change Method and offer to review progress with you at key points. If an IT system is required for scaling up the process, the team will refer you to colleagues within IT Services to support you in taking forward a proposal to the IT Portfolio Board where it will be considered alongside other projects for resource allocation.

Change Team facilitated project

The Change Team can be deployed to facilitate complex projects that cut across multiple Schools and Professional Services. The Change Team Facilitator will assist with establishing the project team and ensure that the method is effectively applied throughout as well as securing resources from other areas, such as IT Services, when required. The Change Team Facilitator will also ensure that project progress and outcomes are reported to key stakeholders and appropriate governance groups.

To discuss your training and project support needs, contact Steve Harris in the first instance.