Manish Mehta, a project manager at the government of the Region of Peel (which covers a huge chunk of the bedroom communities north and west of Toronto, about 1.2 million people in urban and rural areas), gave a presentation on implementing process management at Peel.
For them, process management was part of their quality management, which already included ISO and some other quality programs. They wanted to strengthen corporate thinking, reduce their silo departmental focus, increase alignment and connection, and measure employee and client satisfaction.
The steps in their process management project were as follows:
- Phase 1: develop standard terms, definitions and symbols
- Phase 2: provide process management training, and develop a process management framework
- Phase 3: develop their service improvement initiative (SII) to apply process management
As with the previous OPG talk, this was not about a BPM implementation, but about putting standard, optimized processes into place in an organization in order to not only improve service delivery, but measure it as well. Specifically, their three goals were to implement process management across the organization, to implement a consistent approach to client satisfaction measurement and management, and to develop and monitor a corporate client satisfaction rating.
They first applied this to their TransHelp program, which provides transportation for those who are unable to use public transportation, then to their waste management program; in both cases, they found that doing client satisfaction surveys identified factors that clients found important that had not been considered by the inside workers: definitely a good reason to get out there and talk to people rather than sitting in the ivory tower and deciding the best process to implement. They are seeing some measurable improvements: with TransHelp, their no-show/cancel rate has dropped in half, and with waste management, their number of complaints has dropped. For process improvement work that they did with children’s services within their financial assistance area, the time to complete an application and assess eligibility dropped dramatically with the new process. Once they’d done these three pilots, they found that other areas started to come to them to ask for help in process improvement: you really need to show some successes in order to get started in a diverse organization such as a regional government. Measuring client satisfaction for regional governments is still in an early stage, and Mehta said that they were working with other government organizations to develop methods for doing this. He also showed a great public sector reference model that linked resources, processes, services and programs and how they interact with providers and clients.
They used outside facilitation for process redesign, but mostly created their own methodology and guidelines and do have some capacity for the process redesign internally. They’ve developed a fairly structured project management approach in terms of defining scope and schedules. They have discovered, not surprisingly, is that pulling subject matter experts away from their regular jobs for several days in order to do the process redesign is much more effective than trying to have people add this on to their real jobs, in spite of the grumbling that will inevitably occur when you try to get a group of people to a multi-day offsite meeting.
Something I really like about what they’ve done is to split their SII approach into three stages, depending on the state and complexity of the original process: repair (quick fixes to smaller broken processes through understanding customer needs), improvement (considering root cause analysis and piloting a solution), and design/redesign (similar to improvement but with best practices and benchmarks). They see both improvement and redesign projects as requiring a trained facilitator.
Mehta showed some private sector studies that showed that employee satisfaction leads to client satisfaction, which in turn provides even greater employee satisfaction, and client satisfaction also leads to greater profitability. Applied to the public sector, you can replace the profitability part of the equation with trust and confidence: greater customer satisfaction results in more trust in the government body and their ability to execute works on behalf of the citizens.
Off to lunch, then I’m up at the front of the room after that.