IDEAS' 4-Step Plan for School District BPI
The entire focus of IDEAS’ practice in business process improvement for school districts is this: to drive money from administration into the classroom. Our 4-step methodology is rooted in the iterative 4‑step quality assurance cycle of continuous improvement: Plan - Do - Check - Act, then start over again at Plan.
- Step 1. Plan
Perform an IPPA
- Our Independent Program and Project Analysis (IPPA) is a limited business process audit that follows a quality assurance audit protocol. We will analyze and map top-level administrative processes and selected critical procedures. Areas of special focus may be identified in collaboration with district leadership, based on known problems or critical needs. Through a structured process of information gathering and observation, we evaluate the effectiveness of a process and the quality of the output. We look for redundancies, re-work loops, manual processes that could be automated and any other inefficiencies that are consuming resources which could be redirected to the classroom. The findings and recommendations describe what was found and suggest changes that might improve effectiveness or productivity and save money and/or resources.
- Step 2. Do
Select Target Recommendations to Implement
our IPPA report is delivered, the findings and recommendations must be
reviewed by district leadership and an implementation plan prepared. A
typical IPPA identifies ways to recover 5 to 20 percent
of the operating budget of a district. However, some recommendations may
require an investment (such as purchasing new software) or may be
impractical to implement in the middle of the school or fiscal year, or
may be dependent on other recommendations being implemented first. The
district must select the targets, the sequence and the timetable for implementing
- Step 3. Check
Set Measurable Targets and Establish Monitoring Methods
- After selecting the recommendations to be implemented, an implementation plan is prepared that defines not only the steps to be taken, but the targeted improvements and how they will be measured. Measuring and verifying improvement is critical, because that is the only way that the district can identify the resources it will regain and immediately redeploy them into the classroom.
- Step 4. Act
Business Process Improvements and Implementation
- Process redesign should always begin and end with those who receive the output of the workflow, the “customers.” This is a different perspective for most school districts, and it may take some time for process owners to “get it.” While many districts have excellent technology plans for supporting curriculum, they often do not adequately understand office automation and management information systems and how those technologies can best be configured and integrated to support their own business processes. Process improvements are designed to reduce paperwork and bureaucracy, while strengthening fiscal accountability and ease of reporting. IDEAS can provide the expert assistance to identify and configure the most cost effective way to deliver the identified improvements. We use the principles of usability engineering to shape a new process that is measurably easier (and therefore faster and less costly) for process owners (users) to execute. Consistent application of quality assurance protocols ensures that the redesigned processes can meet the most rigorous scrutiny by outside auditors.