The Division of Business & Finance has adopted the work architecture methodology as its approach to process management. Developed by Ray Abner, a well-known consultant with extensive background in process redesign/reengineering, this approach provides a holistic view of an organization - how do its various parts contribute to the total operation, how do day-to-day activities fit together, and how are we responding to what customers want and need. Importantly, this allows us to see critical interactions and linkages, no matter where in the organization work occurs.
The first step is a description of the context in which work takes place - the organization’s core purpose and values. Within that context, the work architecture is a definition of what work an organization should do to achieve its core purpose. It takes the form of a hierarchy normally five to eight levels deep, and identifies what work we should do and why we should do it. The work architecture is free of organizational charts, process, politics, and all other biases.
Once the work architecture is completed, core processes emerge. Detailed definition of each core process is then completed by defining how the work is to be done, where and when it is to be done, and who will do it. Opportunities for improvement are then identified.
What We’ve Done So Far
In January of 1998, a cross-functional team of 13 employees of the Division of Business & Finance was formed to work with Ray Abner. Over the next six months, the team met for eight hours every other week to define what work the Division should be doing and why we should be doing it. This definition of work at the high level led to the creation of the Division’s Work Architecture, which incorporates some 43 core processes.
In September 1998, seven high leverage processes were selected for more detailed definition, and seven new teams were formed. The seven processes are:
By the middle of April 1999, each of these seven work teams had defined their process and finalized recommendations for improvement. As an example, see the final recommendations and report for the Division's Vision, Mission, & Values.