1. Organizational Transformation: Leveraging Your Team for Operational Efficiencies and Success

    May 29, 2015 by ahmed



    Originally posted on Efficient Gov by Tommy Gonzalez

    When it comes to government efficiency, there are multitudes of skeptics and naysayers. However, streamlining operations, achieving cost savings and improving service are all within reach for any public-sector agency.

    There already is a clear roadmap to operational efficiency and organizational transformation in government. It is the private-sector concept of continuous improvement, or performance excellence. Multiple tools exist to help guide organizations in their efforts to “raise the bar” in service delivery and accountability, including precepts from the Lean Six Sigma model and the seven key criteria measured by the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award program.

    Performance excellence is a journey for organizations and companies looking to improve processes, services, and products; it is not a destination. The origins of performance excellence can be found in the manufacturing sector, where even seemingly small improvements in efficiency can produce bottom-line improvements quickly.

    Harnessing and leveraging the human capital we have within each of our organizations is the key to building a culture of continuous improvement that can yield substantial returns. There are three essential components in this process:

    1. Investing in employees
    2. Empowering them as agents of change
    3. Recognizing successes

    The continuous improvement journey is well underway in the City of El Paso, Texas, which has embraced Lean Six Sigma methodology to take a hard look at how we do business – and deliver services – to our 675,000 residents and thousands of businesses.

    Before we got started in analyzing our systems and processes, our City Council made the commitment to invest in our people by authorizing funds to train employees and ensure they have the necessary tools and resources to be successful.

    To date, the city has provided values training for all of the department heads and the second layer of management. We have also launched Organizational Management Examiner training and Lean Six Sigma training, which provides a framework for evaluating and improving upon performance. More than 60 staff representing all departments participated in these efforts.

    Next, we wanted to ensure that all of our employees were empowered to serve as agents of change. Some of the greatest innovations and improvements come not from the top down, but from the bottom up. Our city has challenged each department to look within and identify areas for enhancing performance or streamlining operations, giving them the opportunity to put their new tools and skills to the test, work as a team, and truly own the process and resulting outcomes.

    This past week, our Parks and Recreation (P&R) Department and Public Works Department presented significant process improvement case studies. The P&R Department set a goal of reducing time and costs required to process outdoor space permits, which on average took 16 days at a cost of $214 per permit. Through careful analysis of the various touch points and data required throughout the process, the team identified opportunities for streamlining, ultimately reducing the permit-processing down to 30 minutes, cutting the costs to just over $13, reducing the number of customer interactions (and thus, the chances for mistakes to happen) from 14 to 1, and achieving an annual savings of more than $32,000. Anecdotally, the department has already received praise from customers that participated in the pilot indicating that the process has significantly improved their experiences with the city.

    Public Works examined the process of making asphalt repairs. With the goals of improving service to the public, saving money, and reducing pothole repair time, the team analyzed the times involved in getting materials and traveling to jobs, the internal data processing requirements, and overall utilization of employees. By setting up consistent processes and developing overall operating procedures, the team has increased the number of repairs completed each week by 40 percent (from 200 to 280), reduced the program costs by 14 percent, increased overall production by 24 percent, and reduced employee data management by 50 percent, while at the same time improving data accuracy. Ultimately, the department is on track to achieve $200,000 in annual savings.

    These are just two examples of the power of Lean Six Sigma – and teamwork – in effecting change. An essential part of this model is staff recognition. Our goal has been to ensure that the teams responsible receive credit where credit is due. As each department completes its Lean Six Sigma project, the team has had the opportunity to present its successful outcomes directly to City Council. This is a very simple, but public, way to recognize the efforts of the team.

    Understanding and capitalizing on the notion that your solutions are within reach – and within your organization – can be transformative in making positive change, in enhancing employee morale, in improving service to your customers and in achieving savings in human and financial resources.

  2. The Top 5 Reasons Why You Need to Adopt ISO 9001:2015 Now

    May 28, 2015 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Cavendish Scott

    By way of introduction, it must be said that the recent vote on whether to accept the DIS version of the ISO 9001:2015 standard included a rejection from the United States. While they publish and justify their reasoning, this is not made widely available and more than likely includes much political positioning as it does technical concerns. It remains to be seen if the overall vote (the US does not have any more voting power than other countries) is approved or rejected. If there is rejection it will cause delay to the publication of the new standard by at least 6 months as the rejection reasons are quantified and a new draft attempts to account for them. We shall see in the coming weeks.
    However, irrespective of what happens next or even finally with the standard, the content in the current DIS give us some great direction which we should all adopt anyway.

    Leadership and Full Integration

    It was always intended that ISO should be adopted and integrated into an organization. It was never envisaged as something that would cause a manual to be written and have someone maintain it with the main emphasis being that it does not interfere too much with the operation of the company. Sadly many organizations ended up with this approach. Management perhaps did not believe in or understand the principles of a QMS or that ISO is only that – a model for a QMS.
    Without the integration you don’t get the deliberate success out of your ISO that a QMS intends. No/limited management commitment, no/limited fact based management, maybe financial metrics (maybe not) but not/limited quality related, leading indicators of success.

    Any major change in a standard would be an opportunity to change things with an established system but this new standard goes out of its way to press for true leadership, and full integration of the system into the workings of the organization. The pressure to assure certification may make management more committed and supportive of integration. A lowly and abused management representative now has some more teeth to implement a more effective system. Obviously you don’t get management commitment and supportive leadership just because a standard asks for it. However, it’s a start to open discussion and an opportunity to develop a more appreciative understanding. Once started, the need for certification should drive management to the right place with the appropriate coaxing. Integration of the system is a different manner. If the system is not currently being truly used in the organization then it is likely to need some resources to get there. These will need to be quantified in order to justify the resources to management but there are also cost reductions and tangible benefits which should support the case.
    To be really successful, you need to manage your organization deliberately. Full integration will bring that. You also need real leadership from top management. ISO now provides a supporting hand to get you there.

    Process Approach

    The process approach was always advocated by ISO. Officially it first showed up in the 2000 standard but even earlier standards explained they did not advocate any particular approach. Many organizations needed ISO for a customer or contract and somebody was told “go get us ISO”. They got the task because they weren’t particularly doing much and they weren’t doing much because they weren’t very good. Management didn’t understand what it was; they just knew they needed it so it was a simple task allocation. Our new ISO guy read the standard and decided the easiest way to get ISO was to basically address each section of the standard in a procedure. Further, the procedure would use basically the same language. That way, how could it be wrong? It was wrong because although it reflected the requirements of the standard very well, it did not reflect what was going on in the organization. Hence the new “system” was not integrated; most people did what it said they had to and went back to what they were doing to run their department. Management quickly saw no value in this, labelled it as unhelpful and basically ignored it. They didn’t challenge it because they didn’t know any better.

    ISO is about a QMS which is about being successful by design and not accident. A QMS is the activities (combined into processes) that start with a customer order and progress to delivery of product or service and ultimately the satisfaction of the customer. Any procedures should have defined the processes in the organization and not been based around a standard. Based around a standard, they need to be changed every time the standard changes. If they adopt the standard requirements numbering, they tend to adopt the structure and content of the standard. Obviously this helps to get ISO but it doesn’t help assure the running of the organization.
    The new standard pushes quite hard for a process based approach. The current requirements are not totally mandating or explicit but it pushes a lot further than it has in the past. This provides significant motivation to convince other personnel in your organization to change the system to make it more integrated and more process based (it is almost impossible to have an integrated system without a processed based approach). Not only that, it will be useful, meaningful, drive improvement and be easier to maintain.

    Annex SL

    Less of a direct reason for you to adopt the 2015 version of ISO 9001 but certainly a good idea, is the inclusion of what is known as Annex SL in the 2015 standard. What ISO decided is that management system standards, like ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, that apply to the operations of an organization, have a lot of common processes. They decided to define a common structure, terminology and content for all standards that relate to organizations’ operations. Whether you are trying to achieve environmental superiority, information security or superb quality, you need management commitment, competency, documentation and records to do it. Consequently for every common activity, process or overlapping element ISO wrote the requirements for those areas in Annex SL. All the management requirements, resources, planning, support processes, measurement and improvement are all independent of the varied operations goals of different standards. This leaves the ISO 9000 committees to focus on quality and not have to worry about how to control documents. In practice the committees are allowed to change the Annex SL language if they have a compelling case. But the changes tend to be small. The net effect for you, the user, is that your standard is less and less likely to change (after this time when it is adopted) for the 70-80% of the standard that Annex SL addresses. Greater consistency, simpler changes, more common understanding and if you have more than one standard to adopt, even easier to combine multiple standards.


    The new standard has abandoned preventive action. The wording in the old standard was not completely clear but it did ask organizations to proactively look for opportunities for preventive action. Unfortunately in most cases organizations just adopted a system that was the same as their corrective action system which is designed to be reactive. It’s easier to design a system for reaction because you are reacting to something that happened or exists. A proactive system requires stopping your very profitable activity to try to come up with something that doesn’t exist or hasn’t happened….yet. So most people didn’t. They simply waited for their ISO audit and then they filled in some preventive action forms with the actions that they took during the year, in a way that appeared proactive. Really what ISO 9001:2008 was asking for (and the 87, 94 and 2000 versions) was some risk assessment and management.
    The new standard makes it clear. You will do risk assessment and management. While this will be “new” for most ISO systems, risk is a tremendous tool. It is common in most best practices and business models and is designed to avoid and mitigate problems before they occur. It does require some effort and there is no guarantee that the problem will actually occur but management will be in a much better position to make decisions, allocate resources and, it will make them accountable. Small organizations will take a “smaller” approach to it. Simple short reviews, quick updates, limited documentation. Larger enterprises might have individuals permanently assigned. The foresight it will bring to organizations will be tangibly beneficial.

    …and Opportunity

    ISO 9001 has always required continual improvement and this standard is no different. However, in addition to having improvement built into the processes (by taking a PDCA cycle for your process based approach) this standard takes advantage of the fact that you are going to be looking for potential problems (in a structured manner) because of the need to address risk, and it “suggests” you use that process or occasion (or define a completely separate process) to look for opportunities for improving performance. While it could be a completely separate process, it is likely to be more successful to have a similar process structure, but perhaps different content, and focus on where things are not bad, probably won’t get worse, but might be better. For instance, if your risk process was a team meeting where each process activity is reviewed for potential failures, the opportunity process might be a meeting where each important metric is reviewed for how its performance might be enhanced. This is a tangible improvement focus that 2015 will bring to organizations.


    There are a lot of good things in the new version of ISO 9001:2015 and you don’t have to wait. It’s all too easy to moan about the difficult terminology or the weakening of the requirements. So don’t! Adopt all of the good things about the new standard now.

  3. The Problem With Satisfied Patients

    May 27, 2015 by ahmed

    Originally posted on the Aatlantic by Alexandra Robbins

    When healthcare is at its best, hospitals are four-star hotels, and nurses, personal butlers at the ready—at least, that’s how many hospitals seem to interpret a government mandate.

    When Department of Health and Human Services administrators decided to base 30 percent of hospitals’ Medicare reimbursement on patient satisfaction survey scores, they likely figured that transparency and accountability would improve healthcare. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) officials wrote, rather reasonably, “Delivery of high-quality, patient-centered care requires us to carefully consider the patient’s experience in the hospital inpatient setting.” They probably had no idea that their methods could end up indirectly harming patients.

    Beginning in October 2012, the Affordable Care Act implemented a policy withholding 1 percent of total Medicare reimbursements—approximately $850 million—from hospitals (that percentage will double in 2017). Each year, only hospitals with high patient-satisfaction scores and a measure of certain basic care standards will earn that money back, and the top performers will receive bonus money from the pool.

    Patient-satisfaction surveys have their place. But the potential cost of the subjective scores are leading hospitals to steer focus away from patient health, messing with the highest stakes possible: people’s lives.

    The vast majority of the thirty-two-question survey, known as HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) addresses nursing care. For example, in a section about nurses, the survey asks, “During this hospital stay, after you pressed the call button, how often did you get help as soon as you wanted it?”

    This question is misleading because it doesn’t specify whether the help was medically necessary. Patients have complained on the survey, which in previous incarnations included comments sections, about everything from “My roommate was dying all night and his breathing was very noisy” to “The hospital doesn’t have Splenda.” A nurse at the New Jersey hospital lacking Splenda said, “This somehow became the fault of the nurse and ended up being placed in her personnel file.” An Oregon critical-care nurse had to argue with a patient who believed he was being mistreated because he didn’t get enough pastrami on his sandwich (he had recently had quadruple-bypass surgery). “Many patients have unrealistic expectations for their care and their outcomes,” the nurse said.

    In fact, a national study revealed that patients who reported being most satisfied with their doctors actually had higher healthcare and prescription costs and were more likely to be hospitalized than patients who were not as satisfied. Worse, the most satisfied patients were significantly more likely to die in the next four years.

    Joshua Fenton, a University of California, Davis, professor who conducted the study, said these results could reflect that doctors who are reimbursed according to patient satisfaction scores may be less inclined to talk patients out of treatments they request or to raise concerns about smoking, substance abuse, or mental-health issues. By attempting to satisfy patients, healthcare providers unintentionally might not be looking out for their best interests. New York Times columnist Theresa Brown observed, “Focusing on what patients want—a certain test, a specific drug—may mean they get less of what they actually need. In other words, evaluating hospital care in terms of its ability to offer positive experiences could easily put pressure on the system to do things it can’t, at the expense of what it should.”

    As a Missouri clinical instructor told me, “Patients can be very satisfied and dead an hour later. Sometimes hearing bad news is not going to result in a satisfied patient, yet the patient could be a well-informed, prepared patient.”

    * * *

    How far will a hospital go to satisfy a patient? Recently, some have rushed to purchase extra amenities such as valet parking, live music, custom-order room-service meals, and flat-screen televisions. Some are offering VIP lounges to patients in their “loyalty programs.”

    And because almost every question on the survey involves nurses, some hospitals are forcing them to undergo unnecessary nonmedical training and spend extra time on superfluous steps. Perhaps hospitals’ most egregious way of skewing care to the survey is the widespread practice of scripting nurses’ patient interactions. Some administrators are ordering nurses to use particular phrases and to gush effusively to patients about both their hospital and their fellow nurses, and then evaluating them on how well they comply. An entire industry has sprouted, encouraging hospitals to waste precious dollars on expensive consultants claiming to provide scripts or other resources that boost satisfaction scores. Some institutions have even hired actors to rehearse the scripts with nurses.

    In Massachusetts, a medical/surgical nurse told The Boston Globe that the scripting made her feel like a “Stepford nurse,” and wondered whether patients would notice that their nurses used identical phrasing. She’s right to be concerned. Great nurses are warm, funny, personal, or genuine—and requiring memorized scripts places a needless obstacle in their path.

    The concept of “patient experience” has mischaracterized patients as customers and nurses as automatons. Some hospital job postings advertise that they are looking for nurses with “good customer-service skills” as their first qualification. University of Toledo Medical Center evaluates staff members on “customer satisfaction.”

    By treating patients like customers, as the nurse Amy Bozeman pointed out in a Scrubs magazine article, hospitals succumb to the ingrained cultural notion that the customer is always right. “Now we are told as nurses that our patients are customers, and that we need to provide excellent service so they will maintain loyalty to our hospitals,” Bozeman wrote. “The patient is NOT always right. They just don’t have the knowledge and training.” Some hospitals have hired “customer-service representatives,” but empowering these nonmedical employees to pander to patients’ whims can backfire. Comfort is not always the same thing as healthcare. As Bozeman suggested, when representatives give warm blankets to feverish patients or complimentary milkshakes to patients who are not supposed to eat, and nurses take them away, patients are not going to give high marks to the nurses.

    More disturbing, several health systems are now using patient satisfaction scores (likely from hospitals’ individual surveys) as a factor in calculating nurses’ and doctors’ pay or annual bonuses. These health systems are ignoring the possibility that health providers, like hospitals, could have fantastic patient satisfaction scores yet higher numbers of dead patients, or the opposite.

    * * *

    On the nursing blog Emergiblog, one nurse reported that at a hospital that switched its meal service to microwaved meals, food-service administrators openly attributed low patient scores to nurses’ failure to present and describe the food adequately. It is both noteworthy and unsurprising that the hospital’s response was to tell the nurses to “make the food sound better” rather than to actually make the food better.

    This applies to scripting, too: It does not improve healthcare, but makes it sound better. The University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC) launched an entire program based on patient satisfaction, iCARE University, which mandated patient satisfaction course work and training for every university student and employee. “Service Excellence Officer” Ioan Duca told a publication sponsored by Press Ganey, a company that administers the surveys for hospitals, “I am really focused on creating a church-like environment here. We want a total cultural transformation. I want that Disney-like experience, the Ritz Carlton experience.”

    But hospitals, too, can offer poor care and still get high patient-satisfaction ratings, and an alarming number of them do. I examined Medicare’s provider data for thousands of hospitals—the data on every hospital in the country that the agency makes publicly available. I found the hospitals that perform worse than the national average in three or more categories measuring patient outcome. These are hospitals, in other words, where a higher number of patients than average will die, be unexpectedly readmitted to the hospital, or suffer serious complications. And yet two-thirds of those poorly performing hospitals scored higher than the national average on the key HCAHPS question; their patients reported that “YES, [they] would definitely recommend the hospital.”

    UTMC is a good example of how an emphasis on patient satisfaction does not make for better care. At the time of this writing, according to government data on hospitals’ rates of readmissions, complications, and deaths, UTMC appeared to be among the worst performers in the state, if not the country. UTMC has higher than average rates of serious blood clots after surgery, accidental cuts and tears from medical treatment, collapsed lungs due to medical treatment, complications for hip/knee replacement patients, and, more generally, “serious complications.” In addition, UTMC made headlines in 2013 when, during a transplant operation, hospital staff threw away a perfect-match kidney that a patient was donating to his sister.

    Many hospitals seem to be highly focused on pixie-dusted sleight of hand because they believe they can trick patients into thinking they got better care. The emphasis on these trappings can ultimately cost hospitals money and patients their health, because the smoke and mirrors serve to distract from the real problem, which CMS does not address: Patient surveys won’t drastically and directly improve healthcare.

    But research has shown that hiring more nurses, and treating them well, can accomplish just that. It turns out that nurses are the key to patient satisfaction after all—but not in the way that hospitals have interpreted.

    A Health Affairs study comparing patient-satisfaction scores with HCAHPS surveys of almost 100,000 nurses showed that a better nurse work environment was associated with higher scores on every patient-satisfaction survey question. And University of Pennsylvania professor Linda Aiken found that higher staffing of registered nurses has been linked to fewer patient deaths and improved quality of health. Failure-to-rescue rates drop. Patients are less likely to die or to get readmitted to the hospital. Their hospital stay is shorter and their likelihood of being the victim of a fatigue-related error is lower. When hospitals improve nurse working conditions, rather than tricking patients into believing they’re getting better care, the quality of care really does get better.

    Instead, hospitals are responding to the current surveys and weighting system by focusing on smiles over substance, hiring actors instead of nurses, and catering to patients’ wishes rather than their needs. Then again, perhaps it’s no wonder that companies are airbrushing healthcare with a “Disney-like experience,” a glossy veneer. One of the leading consulting companies now advising hospitals on “building a culture of healthcare excellence” is, oddly enough, the Walt Disney Company.

  4. Best practice report: Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs)

    May 25, 2015 by ahmed



    The Definition

    Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) are policies and practices designed to strengthen the work-life balance of employees and to maximise their productivity.

    The Stage

    People are increasingly looking for a work environment that offers them flexibility. Finding a good balance between work and other life commitments-such as family responsibilities, studies or outside interests-enables employees to flourish inside and away from the workplace. For employers, flexible work arrangements provide greater freedom in terms of business operating hours; importantly, they also increase retention of experienced staff who might otherwise have been lost to the organisation.

    You are reading a Best Practice Report in html-format. Become a member of the BPIR to receive a new report in PDF-format every month (see examples: Benchmarking & Business Excellence). PDF-format can be saved on your hard drive, emailed to work colleagues, and are much easier to read and print out!.. For BPIR updates and best practices sign up to our FREE newsletter.

  5. Why Boeing Focused on Behaviors, Not Tools, When Building Its KM Strategy

    May 24, 2015 by ahmed


    Originally posted on APQP blog by Lauren Trees

    APQC recently spoke to Jyoti Patel, knowledge management strategist at Boeing, about how Boeing merged two organizations and developed common processes, knowledge management capabilities, and data system architectures while also designing a knowledge management strategy that emphasizes behaviors over tools.

    APQC: In 2010 Boeing Test Evaluation (BT&E) tasked a team with developing a consistent enterprise strategy for process management, knowledge management, and systems engineering. Why did the organization feel this was important?

    Jyoti: BT&E was a new organization that brought together teams that were previously split between Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Boeing Defense Systems, and its challenge was to integrate these teams into a cohesive, high-performing organization to implement a common approach to testing Boeing Products including airplanes, fighter jets, and rotorcraft. Fourteen core capability organizations were defined, the largest of which was ours: Instrumentation and Data Systems. My team, the technical excellence team, was charged to lead the way for BT&E and the other capabilities to integrate by developing a common language, process architecture, and KM approach. We needed specialists that understood the organization from the inside to be dedicated to this full-time, which sent a message about how important this work is.

    APQC: You began developing a strategy by gathering feedback through nationwide site visits. What was something that surprised the team that employees mentioned over and over?

    Jyoti: We found six high-level themes that were repeated across our sites in some form or another. The two that were the most surprising were (1) the desire for rotational programs within BT&E and (2) big-picture education and visibility. In retrospect, it makes sense that within a large organization like ours, where becoming compartmentalized is a natural state, people are hungry to obtain a systems level perspective. We found this to be especially true of our teams who interface with other teams a lot, and not so true of our smaller independent teams and labs.

    APQC: At Boeing you tried to avoid pitfalls that other KM programs have fallen into, such as focusing too much on tools rather than behaviors. What was the biggest struggle you had to overcome?

    Jyoti: The biggest struggle we had to overcome was shifting the learning culture to match both our current dynamic business environment and the evolving expectations of our incoming employees. Specifically, we knew we had to shift the perception that knowledge sharing, in all of its forms, is secondary to the primary work. We built a multi-channel knowledge strategy at a high level but in order to execute it, we had to meet people where they were and with what they were already doing. Informal knowledge sharing happens all around us, so part of our challenge was shining a light on the existing pockets of goodness and working with teams to enhance the effectiveness of what they were already doing, highlight how it fit into the strategy, and grow their efforts from there.

    APQC: One goal of your KM program is to facilitate knowledge transfer between new hires, future experts, and late-career employees. What approaches are you using for this?

    Jyoti: After identifying the target audiences for our knowledge transfer approaches, we combined the best of the programs that were being used both in the larger Boeing system and within our own groups. Our design build organization had a homegrown, tiered mentoring program for new hires that stood out for two reasons. First, it made new hires eligible to mentor other new hires after a year, which saved the time of our experts and leads while also fostering a teaching mindset in our early-career employees. It also recognized the need to free up the time of our most senior employees to dedicate to mentoring activities instead of strictly working projects. For future experts, we leveraged an existing enterprise approach called Enterprise Engineering Technical Mentoring (EETM) which nurtures the concept of building strategic partnerships based on critical skills between our experts and mid-career employees. Finally, for employees leaving the organization for any reason, especially retirement, we leveraged an enterprise framework called the Knowledge Transfer Toolkit. One of the underlying drivers of our team’s mission was to support the development of knowledge transfer plans for our retiring baby boomers who, in many cases, possess a lifetime of specialized knowledge. Part of our role is to consult and coach exiting employees. We customize and execute the approach based on their particular needs.

    APQC: What are the pros and cons of capturing knowledge through a wiki?

    Jyoti: Our wiki, e-Book, has over 550 pages of content and 955 users; it has been built over 6 years as an entirely grassroots effort. I’ll speak to the cons first. It’s difficult to maintain a navigational structure that works for a diverse range of users, which happens when new groups join. We want to grow the user base to drive more participation, which leads to a higher standard of content. I think striking the balance between the right number of users while maintaining relevance to your core users is key. We have a lot of content consumers, but only a subset of those are content creators/editors, which means that there is a critical mass of users for a wiki to maintain efficacy. Another con is that our engineering population values content approved by experts, so it has been a hurdle for those folks to accept an open source model. Also, it’s slow to build content momentum within an organization where the demographics are so polarized and the level of comfort using a wiki is very inconsistent among employees. This is a long-term resource with long-term gains and had to be approached accordingly.

    One of the main pros is that the wiki represents an ideal of how we should be capturing knowledge. Within our organization, the 70/20/10 rule is well known and espoused, but when the majority of people think about capturing knowledge, they use traditional methods like creating training material for a class or writing an informal document to be distributed locally. The formal training is still widely accepted as the standard despite an awareness that the world today provides better methods for on-demand access to information, and the wiki is a great example of that. Many people in our organization not only recognize this but practice it, and these people form the majority of our active users. The fact that this was a resource created for the people, by the people, without the cost of bringing in the IT organization fosters a big sense of pride for what we have created here (a community of learners connecting not just knowledge, but more importantly, people). Finally, the on-demand attribute is a huge advantage, especially in the fast-paced dynamic world of flight test. People need answers and they need them fast, 24/7, and from anywhere in the world. Our folks don’t have time to dig through servers or training material, and the wiki supports that.

    APQC: Boeing’s KM program makes serving people first a priority. What are the keys to doing that?

    Jyoti: I think that ultimately you have to place relationships and connecting people with one another above all else. People can and will use those relationships and resources for a myriad of reasons, a subset of which might be related to your organization’s core mission. For instance, InSite (Boeing’s social network) has all kinds of interest groups, some of which seem to be outside the scope of what we do. Not all of them provide a tangible ROI, but the power of the community, as well as the massive potential of connecting great ideas with people who can help make them happen, is enough to sustain their existence and promote innovation. I also believe a key to serving people first in KM is: Don’t be afraid to “design tight, run loose”. Our targets and environments are constantly changing. This means our plans, projects, and our own beliefs are all subject to change depending on the latest environmental scan. If you listen to your customers throughout your project lifecycle and use that data and your relationships to co-create a better product, you will surely succeed. For me this translates to a solid operating structure and rhythm that connects the right people to perform course corrections and ensure progress to goals as needed.