A great presentation on the importance of process from Fred Bentsen (APQC Education), Mark Gabehart (CTO, RoundRock ISD), and Frankie Jackson (CTO, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD). These are my notes from the presentation given at the Texas CTO Clinic 2015 in Austin, Texas.

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While I have audio for this presentation, Fred Bentsen said, “What happens here, stays here.” So, no audio. Sigh.

My Notes

  1. Fred asked a few questions to start us off:
    1. Why do we use these cumbersome forms?
    2. Why do we have to have so many approvals for this?
    3. Why does only 1 person know how to do this job?
    4. Why do we do this like this?
  2. This presentation is about process and measurement.
  3. It’s time for a new approach. We have to consider Inputs, Processes, and Outcomes. For example:
    1. Inputs include Money, Instructional, Facilitator
    2. Processes include Practices, Hiring/Training, Managing Technology
    3. Outputs include Test results, achievement gap, AYP
  4. You can only change the outcome if you change the processes; you only change processes for whom the outcome is broken.
  5. You can’t change outcomes without changing the processes that lead to those outcomes.
  6. Everything you do is a process…writing down that process is the first step to transformative change.
  7. We can ask questions like:
    1. What suggestions do you have to make process(es) more efficient?
    2. Why would a person in question want to change process?
  8. Processes over time end up with redundant items, while others require delegation.
  9. The processes that need to change are the ones leading to broken outcomes.
  10. Cypress-Fairbank ISD’s story:
    1. The District needed improvement in various areas, such as Visioning, ALigning District Plan/CIP, Human Capital Assessment and Development, Energy Management, Conservation and Payroll process.
    2. Frankie shared a great slide showing Work History and characterized it as a “Performance Excellence Journey.”
    3. When we started we didn’t have a service level agreement.
    4. In discussing goals and evidence of completion, she developed several tiers of service.
      1. Tier 1 involved standard response time.
      2. Tier 2 involved when something didn’t get taken care of within 1-9 days; this resulted in a consequence of an email to the team leader.
      3. Tier 3 involved 10-19 days with an email to the manager
      4. Tier 4 involved 19 days or more without being dealt with. This resulted in the consequence of an email to the CTO and she had to come up with interventions and strategies for resolve this.
    5. It is difficult to document processes; until you write down the process, flow, designate responsibility and publish those, you won’t be able to fix them. “Mapping the process.”
  11. Round Rock ISD’s Story:
  12. view source
    1. Why APQC?
      1. Challenging economic times, 
      2. looking at efficiencies, 
      3. breaking down silos, 
      4. seeking continuous improvement; 
      5. linking initiatives, programs and projects; 
      6. using process and performance management tools.
    2. APQC involves systematic thinking about processes. You define real problems and identify pain points that you are having as a district.
    3. Some of the challenges include not having a service desk, enrollment registration, online registration, transportation, personnel alignment.
    4. APQC suggests ways of moving from “As Is” to “To Be,” or how to shift from current ineffective process to processes that will work in the future.
    5. This process involves crafting the following:
      1. Opportunity statement: This details the problem or current ineffective process.
      2. Goal: The solution or corrected process and the desired outcome
      3. Measures: How to assess success
      4. In Scope: The work that it will take to achieve the goal that is expected
      5. Out of Scope: The work or needs that will arise to achieve the goal that are unexpected or exceed budget.
    6. This process is known as DMAIC or Define–Measure–Analyze–Improve–Control
    7. Lessons Learned:
      1. Continuous improvement is good (growth mindset)
      2. Breaks down silos
      3. Improves efficiencies
      4. Using APQC tools is good.
    8. Now, team members who have participated in the process are asking when others bring them problems, “Did you process map that problem?”
  13. Since technology touches all silos, it’s important to break down dysfunctional silos.
  14. Without upper leadership support, nothing will happen.
  15. Model up.
  16. We work with people on a daily basis, so we don’t want to make people mad at us. So, one approach is to bring someone in from the outside to ask tough questions and put into place an external process (APQC) to facilitate tough conversations [Miguel’s note: this highlights the need for crucial conversations].
On a related note, I loved this EdNET Insight article, a part of which is excerpted below:


For too long, educators, foundations, and the state-federal governments have mistakenly focused only on the right-hand side of the diagram—Pathway 2: Performance Management—to get improvement. I call it the Achilles’ heel flaw of education. Education can never get improvement by an outcomes-only process. You cannot manage outcomes any more than you can manage a golf score to improve your golf game. Outcomes are determined by processes, and if you wish to improve, you must manage the processes that produce the outcomes.*

 Here’s a ten-step Quick Start Guide to begin:

  1. Get training and coaching in PPM.
  2. Appoint process improvement teams and process owners.
  3. Select three to five key processes.
  4. Map the current processes as is to reveal the flow and flaws.
  5. Train teams in process improvement and change management.
  6. Benchmark in your own district or with best practices districts.
  7. Collect and measure data; see gaps and waste in your performance.
  8. Do a root cause and process analysis.
  9. Draw a process map the way you think a process should be done.
  10. Create action plans and implement.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure