Standardizing Delivery to Ensure Operational Excellence
In early 2018, IPS embarked on a journey to standardize the way we deliver our services to our clients. As a company that emphasizes performance improvement with our clients, we like to practice what we preach and take time to improve our internal processes and optimize ourselves. The objective was to craft a process that would keep our projects on track, on budget, and delivering great value to our clients. To be successful, the outcome of the effort had to improve upon three key aspects of our current state process:
We developed materials and templates that guide our project teams and allow them to hit the ground running at every step, from beginning to end.
We leveraged work we have done in the past to carry the value forward in benefit of everyone that works on similar projects in the future.
Standardizing our process ensures we are all doing the same thing and speaking the same language, so we can more easily help each other and measure our performance.
Our output, depicted below, is the IPS Service Delivery Process (SDP). It consists of a process, a set of templates (complete with instructions and examples), defined roles and responsibilities for everyone on a project team, a storage plan, and an audit procedure.
Development – A Team Effort
A set of 7 workgroups, each assigned to a specific phase of the SDP, met weekly from April – June to outline template content, draft a template and instructions, and complete an example. By the end of June each workgroup had created the templates and materials that would define their phase. In all, approximately 20 people from across IPS participated. When looking through the materials, one might notice it is largely in line with the well-established and widely accepted Project Management Institute’s Project Management Body of Knowledge which is designed to help organizations achieve professional excellence. This was intentional. We didn’t reinvent the wheel; we took an existing standard and organized it to support IPS and the work we do.
Implementation – Version 1.0 and Beyond
To implement the SDP we held a launch and training sessions. On an ongoing basis, an SDP Coach meets regularly with each project team to provide oversight and advice. This is a great way to gather critical user feedback and generate a roadmap for future versions of the SDP. In fact, this allowed us to release a slew of improvements in Version 2.0 only three months after the initial launch. Having greater consistency with how we approach project work gave us a basis for continuous improvement and a benchmark from which we can measure progress.
All materials are available to anyone, not just project teams, via SharePoint and an overview providing basic training is available on our intranet. This general availability is important because several of our team members have found uses for these materials outside of our normal project work. This creates an opportunity to discover ‘off label’ uses and brings consistency to areas outside of project work, including internal initiatives.
Efficiency, Repeatability, and Consistency are the cornerstones of the SDP, but the people are what make it work and IPS has the best. Want to learn more about the SDP or how it can benefit you? Contact us!
About the Author
Jeff Vandenboom is a Solution Delivery Manager at Improvement Path Systems with experience leading process improvement projects in both private and public sector hospitals. He holds a Lean Six Sigma Green belt as well as both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in Industrial Engineering. Jeff has over a decade of management consulting and advanced analytics experience. His previous roles include being a Principal Healthcare Analyst, working as the Director of Performance Analytics at Henry Ford Health System, and serving as the President of the Board of Directors for the Greater Detroit Chapter of the Institute of Industrial Engineers.