Process and Performance Management (PPM):
• “Makes sure we stay on track”
• “Ensures we are efficient with all resources to better serve kids”
• “Gives us the bigger picture and puts the puzzle pieces together”
• “Helps us work efficiently and effectively within our scope of practice”
• “Keeps us focused on what’s important, leading to student success”
These are comments from participants in Boone County Schools’ recent PPM session, relaying the importance and impact of this work. Our Teaching and Learning Committee charged the District with becoming more efficient. As the District continues to do more with less, we knew we had to find better processes in order to maintain a high level of student and operational performance. APQC (American Productivity and Quality Center) helped us do that.
Five work teams were established around critical areas, areas we knew needed overhaul. These focused on processes within position control, fixed assets, maintenance work orders, special needs transportation, and preschool enrollment. Teams were made up of cross-department district personnel, as well as principal representatives. As the end user, the principal’s voice was critical in determining if processes would work.
An APQC trainer worked with the teams for four days, providing tools and coaching along the DMAIC model — define, measure, analyze, improve, and control. From swim lanes to SIPOC charts to elevator speeches to business cases, the teams worked through the DMAIC structure to develop new, more efficient processes. Through this first round of projects, preschool enrollment is faster, maintenance work orders are processed more quickly, fixed asset processes are in place, and special needs transportation eliminated dead-head routes. In addition, the position control team has moved to online applications, electronic forms, and enhanced screening processes.
Through a grant from KASA (KY Association for School Administrators) five new teams are working diligently on strategic planning processes, fleet service performance, new construction, enrollment, and next steps with position control. As a result of these two rounds of projects, and the use of DMAIC tools, the District has saved almost $1,000,000, as over 60 District and school leaders have engaged in in-depth PPM work. Beyond cost savings, the PPM work is having a strong positive impact on students. The District’s strategic planning process is more intentionally focused on teaching and learning and communication with our community, enrollment is less costly and burdensome on parents, and new construction will more clearly address instructional needs of students.
Matt Rigg, Assistant Director of Human Resources, advises, “Many times, when asked about current processes in a district, people say, ‘that’s the way things have always been done. ‘ PPM is a way to get away from that. Instead it focuses district staff on working together to be very clear on processes or, if needed, to reinvent processes.”
Next steps for the District include finalizing and communicating current projects to the Board and the larger community. The teams will work to capture their new learning and ensure control of the processes. We know that these principles will transcend all the work in the district, not just those areas we are formally addressing. Our commitment to increasing efficiency and effectiveness will guarantee we have the resources needed to ensure every student is college, career, and life ready.