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Work Design
Part 3 of 4

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The Choices

A number of processes were brought forward as candidates for redesign, from simple processes, such as telephone message delivery and submission of students' marks at the end of the term, to major complex processes, including preparation of the College calendar and the purchase of goods and services. The initial list of processes was solicited using any available means including memos to student organizations and all staff. We asked contributors to think in terms of outcomes or outputs from the system. It was left to the Steering Committee to assess which of the processes were potential candidates for redesign, recogniz­ing the importance of highly visible early successes and the risks associated with early disaster. The criteria for selection (not necessarily in order of importance) were:

• Willingness
• Ability to Proceed
• Urgency/Importance
• Complexity
• Time Frame
• Required Resources » Financial/Time/Support
• Potential Benefit
• Key Process
• Cost/Benefit

The strategy adopted was to take on two high profile processes. The first was textbook ordering, an inventory planning process, facilitated by a member of the School of Business faculty. The Steering Committee felt that this process was relatively straight forward, easily understood and had an excellent chance for success. In retrospect, the first two assumptions were not particularly accurate. The second, and by far the more complex, has been labeled "Attracting a Student—Contact to Commitment", and is essentially a forecasting and integrated resource manage­ment problem. This process also has an extremely high profile with stakeholders from 14 identified constituencies covering the entire spectrum of personnel and services as well as past, present and future students. Due to the potential political impact of this process the Steering Committee choose to hire an outside consultant to serve as co facilitator with a recently hired faculty member.

Forming the Teams

Once the candidate processes were identified and the facilitators chosen, the Project Leader formed an ad hoc committee for each to draft an initial mandate statement including the scope of the process to be redesigned and the responsibilities of the design team. In addition, they identified potential stakeholder groups and design team members. Members were selected based on the criteria outlined in Exhibit C. While this formed the initial basis for discussion, the design team members establish their own membership, mandate (within bounds established by the Steering Committee), scope and the resources neces­sary to complete their task.

Before the design teams actually begin the work of redesign we provide education on the Work Design Process as well as perform a number of team building exercises. The principle exercise is to get the fears, concerns and hopes of the individual team members documented. The first major task for the facilitator is to provide as much information as possible to address the concerns, not necessarily resolving them, and to help the team consolidate these into a set of team norms and ultimately a team vision statement. With the team norms in place and hopefully with some sense of kinship the teams began their actual work.

The Process

1. Identifying the Vision

• For a process, what would be the ideal output/ results/customer benefits? Are there other orga­nizations that perform this process in a better way; one for which we can strive? What bench­marks can we agree on to measure success? How do we reward the team and/or individuals that reach this vision?

2. Map Out and Analyze the Process
• All steps in the process are mapped out and the time frame measured. What does each activity cost?

3. Develop Preliminary Suggestions for Change/Rede­sign in Line With the Established Vision and Objec­tives

• Can the process be simplified? Are there non-value-added steps? Duplication of effort? Vari­ances which lead to negative results? Can we better meet the needs of our customer? Is there a better way?

Exhibit B. Work Design Project Leader, Half-Time Secondment
This position is a half-time secondment as facilitator for the Work
Design Project reporting directly to the President for the period October
1, 1993 to March 31, 1994.
Any employee who feels qualified and wishes to be considered must
submit a detailed application to the Human Resources Administrator,
McDonnel Street, up to and including September 15, 1993.

The responsibilities are to:

• facilitate the development of the Work Design process
• coordinate the training of the necessary human resources needed to effectively undertake the Work Design sessions
• act as a resource person to the Committee and its Chair
• Market Work Design concepts and process to the college depart­ments
• Work with department representatives to gain their understanding, develop realistic outcomes for the sessions, assist in session design and preparation and actively participate in the process
• design processes for initiating adjustments
• organize activity follow-up sessions for each Work Design session
• knowledge of Work Design process and principles
• knowledge of college operations and culture
• facilitation and consultation skills
• excellent interpersonal and communication skills
• ability to communicate effectively with all functions of the college
• demonstrated skills in planning, organizing, tracking, control, and follow-up associated with project management
• familiarity with the following concepts would be beneficial;
— nominal group techniques
— brainstorming
— group problem solving
— cause and effect analysis
— Pareto analysis
— flow-charting
— force field analysis

To Be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:

Lean Manufacturing Articles and go to Series 01


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