Friday, August 15, 2008

Intro to Process Innovation Management (PIM)

By Valinda Rose

What is PIM? It’s another acronym–just what we need. It’s a life cycle for managing processes. Huh? Why do we need that? Are you trying to tell me we have a process to manage processes? Yup! Now before your eyes roll to the back of your head, give it a chance. How can we formalize processes in OIT unless we have guidelines for standardization? How can we ensure processes don’t get documented and then put on the shelf to gather dust—often before they’re even communicated or made available to the broader organization? How can we ensure a common readability and understanding of processes throughout OIT? Well, I suppose we can’t ensure anything by simply introducing a new process, but we can certainly provide a mechanism, sanctioned by OIT Leadership Council, by which processes can be documented, trained, communicated, made available to all OIT employees, and continually improved.

PIM, or Process Innovation Management, includes the following life cycle phases: Evaluate, Analyze, Design, Implement, and Manage. The first four phases are used when a process needs some significant level of attention resulting in changes to the process. The final phase, Manage, is ongoing work delineated by the acronym MITAR. MITAR breaks down the component steps of the “Manage” process as follows: Monitor, Investigate, Take Action, and Report.A few of the deliverables of the PIM process include:
  • OIT Process Roadmap – An inventory of all processes that need to be Formally Managed along with timing and prioritization. Not unlike a technology roadmap or a product/service roadmap, this document contains a list of OIT processes and when they are slated for standardization, formalization, and/or innovation. OIT Leadership provides guidance to the process by validating which processes will be focused on when.
  • Published PIM Process – A collection of process documents for Process Innovation Management that describe such things as the goal of the process, policies, expectations, process flow, stakeholders, key process steps, critical success factors, key performance indicators, roles and responsibilities. Once published, this process is available for use throughout the organization to guide process innovation activities.
  • Process Package Templates – A collection of templates that support the PIM process. Representative templates include:
    • Process Overview
    • Policy
    • Roles and Responsibilities
    • High level process map
    • Detail process map
    • Detail process steps
As you follow the PIM process you will find a clear path to make sure your process is documented, communicated and understood organizationally. Whether a process is running well or whether it needs serious work, the PIM process has tools, templates and guidelines to help you achieve vibrancy and the appropriate level of management with your processes.

Leadership Council Message

By Ernie Nielsen

“We succeed individually. We prosper as a community.”1 This simple statement, penned by the CEO of Miller Freeman Company, was in grateful response to the Salt Lake community’s overwhelming support after an employee was killed in downtown’s freak tornado of August 1999.

Prosperity, “a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition,”2 moves forward our OIT community, and the greater BYU community, when there is appropriate attention to all four aspects of an organization’s culture; namely, attention to our customers (collaboration), our employees (cultivation), the quality of our services (competence), and the way we get things done (controls).
The Reengineering Alternative, Richard Schneider

Our ability to continue on the road of prosperity – not in the financial sense, but rather in the sense of progress – is guided by our leader’s view of the interaction of these four cultural aspects. Kelly Flanagan took the reins of OIT following the consolidation of IT services here on campus. In the first meeting we had with Kelly as managers of this new “OIT,” he gave us direction and focus by asking us to be closer to our customers (collaboration), which he expressed in his desire to be more “customer responsive.” He wisely cautioned us to not lose sight of the importance of quality, controls, and employee development as we focused on meeting the needs of our customers. He asked us to focus our quality efforts, our employee development, and our process development towards being more responsive to our customers. Here is his view:
The Leadership Council supports Kelly’s view and seeks to follow his guidance. One tangible evidence of this support is the representation of the Executive Account Management team on the Leadership Council.

Under the direction of the OIT Leadership Council, the Navigator Team has been tasked with facilitating the finalization of the development of integrated processes. We are consciously dedicating significant employee time and attention to this effort. As we do so, there could be a false perception created that “process” has become our OIT focus. In fact, the attention we are giving to process development and integration is in an effort to mature our processes to the appropriate level, with a focused eye on providing world class customer service in the higher education arena. Process becomes a contributor to our collaboration focus–the means to the end.

Some examples of processes supporting excellence in customer service:
  • Stakeholder Reviews – in the Development Lifecycle – ensure that all stakeholders, including the customer, have frequent and formal inspection of the output of development. Starting with requirements review, continuing through design review and user acceptance, the customer is invited into the development process frequently to ensure that we are on the right track, and to capture their changing needs, in a timely manner, as their environment changes.
  • Requirements Management – in the Product and Service Management Process – ensures that there is a customer-focused means for gathering and understanding requirements, with an eye towards managing all requirements through the development, project, and support processes.
  • Project Team Development – in the Project Planning and Management Process – ensures customer participation in all projects by first asking the question, “Which functions are most affected by the success of this project?” when developing the Project Team.
  • Release Readiness – in the Production Services Process – ensures that we incorporate the customer acceptance and support requirements before we place a service into production.
It is true that the process work we do and the processes we follow add steps to our ultimate goal of meeting our customers’ needs appropriately. More importantly, it is true that following the processes helps us to be predictable in our delivery, consistent in our quality, and reliable in our support of our customers. And these qualities of being predictable, consistent, and reliable keep us on the road of community prosperity, “a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition.”

1Deseret News, August 15 1999 unabridged v1.1

Process—Not a Magic Wand

And even if it were, you would still need to learn how to work it!
By Sorrel Jakins

When Harry Potter went to Diagon Alley to get his wand, he was first measured and fitted for the right wand by Mr. Ollivander. Mr. Ollivander had many good wands available, but not just any wand would do. Once Harry was matched with his wand, he still wasn’t done. Harry now faced years of schooling, practice and hard work to learn how to use his wand properly and how to get the most out of it. Process work is similar.

Process takes time, and not all problems can be solved by a new or improved process. People, Process, and Technology can be considered three legs of the same milking stool, all equally important. A balanced approach is necessary to avoid a wobble or a crash. For a good process to work well, there are certain pre- and post-requisites.

The benefit of having a common process model lies in the ability to adopt complex and commodity systems using a lingua franca for IT services. Even though we may all be speaking the same language, it is not a replacement for experience. The quality of a system is highly influenced by the quality of the process used to acquire, develop, and maintain it. Process improvement will increase product and service quality as we apply it to achieve business objectives. This, like repentance, is a continuously improving process and not a point-in-time event. As we grow towards a unity of process, we will move to a unity of purpose and a closer alignment of our objectives with BYU and OIT business objectives.

So an improved process model can “help eliminate confusion in terminology and provide a foundation for understanding”—how cool is that? Isn’t that what OIT and BYU needs? So why isn’t process management ubiquitous within OIT? Standards are difficult to implement, people fear that process brings bureaucracy and red tape, and inertia—we believe strongly in doing things the way we always have.

Formal processes provide a foundation for predictable and reliable IT service design and delivery. Just as Harry Potter and his friends learned to put their wands to use for their benefit and the benefit of others, so will we learn to do the same with our processes as we continuously work to improve them.

Back to the three-legged milking stool—do you know why it has only three legs? Because the cow has the udder. 

It's All About the Customer

By Elaine Lauritzen

What do our customers say about us? What do we think they are saying about us? What is the value of OIT to the business? How is that measured? I have an experience I remember every time I think about these questions.

My journey into IT was indirect. I first started working for the Financial Controller of an Aerospace manufacturing company in Park City many years ago. The company was in the process of bringing a new plant online in Utah. I was the third non-management employee hired and I was assigned to process job applications as they came in and to handle any other HR or Payroll paperwork that needed to be done. Up to that point in my life, I had some limited exposure to an early model PC we had at home – yes the screen was only one color and there were two floppy drives and no hard drive—but we’re not going to talk about how old I am, now are we?!

Part of my job required that I do some data entry work to input data from the timecards of the shop employees. When I sat down to learn how to do this, I was facing an old IBM terminal. You know, the kind with the really clacky keyboard and the monster monitor. I remember the first time I tried to get into the timecard entry program by myself. As I looked at that giganto monitor and waited for the screen to turn from black to flickering green, I felt as if I were staring into a huge, unknown black-hole. I had no idea how the technology worked and I was terrified that somehow I would mess up and push the wrong button which would then result in the entire main-frame melting down! I had no idea that sort of thing could not happen.

Once I got logged into the program and entered my data, I would always anxiously wait for the screen to come back and confirm the data was accepted. Every time it came back with an error that forced me to start over, I grumbled and moaned about the stupid ‘system’ and I nearly always included disparaging thoughts about the IT department in my complaining. Little did I know that one day, I would be one of “THEM!”

I guess my point is that within OIT, we need to always be aware of our customers and their experience. We need to be especially cognizant of the fact that many of our customers feel like I did that first day—at the very least, frustrated and at the worst, terrified of technology. Sometimes, we who are so comfortable with technology that a blue-screen-of-death is simply an opportunity to re-image and try out the latest, greatest OS, forget that not everybody is as comfortable with technology as we are. Sometimes we think that the sophistication or ‘coolness’ of the technology we deliver is all that is needed for our customers to be totally satisfied with us.

When the Savior said, “Come follow me,” he could do that because he first walked where we walk. He gave us the ultimate example of customer service. His love and compassion for the least among us should be the model for us to use as we work to meet our customers’ needs.

The process work that we are doing is important work and we need to make sure that we are always keeping our customer foremost in our minds as we mature our processes. It isn’t good enough for us to simply say we are thinking about them, we really need to be engaged with them and working to understand their point of view in everything we do. If we create our processes properly, this focus will be built in and we will ensure that customer needs are being met.

We Want to Hear From You!

By Jared Harward
You too can have your thoughts heard and published as part of the process work we’re doing. You can use any of the following ways to be heard:
  1. Email us –
  2. “Navigate” to our blog –

      • Add comments by clicking on the comments link below the article you want to address.

      • Enter your comment in the box and then select the radio button that says “Name/URL” (see the picture below!).

      • You don’t need to worry about entering anything in the URL field, but we do want to know by whom the comments are being made. Please add your name to your comments.

  3. Directly contact any of the team members
    • Elaine Lauritzen 422-1232
    • Jared Harward 422-8852
    • Valinda Rose 422-1494
    • Sorrel Jakins 422-7128
    • Vince Rackliffe 420-1746
    We will take selected comments and place them in future newsletters as comments to the editor. Everyone has the opportunity to voice his or her opinion. Your input is important to us. If your comments are selected to be placed in a newsletter, you will be rewarded!! How cool is that? 