Improving Processes… to Change How Customers View the Government

Improving Processes… to Change How Customers View the Government

Improving Processes… to Change How Customers View the Government

The days of ‘because this is the way we have always done it’ are over. Agencies face demands to be more mission-focused and customer-centric.

While ‘innovation’ is the word of the day, leaders are forgetting the power of documenting, measuring, and improving processes across Government – and the link to supporting the mission. It is time to go back to the basics of process improvement since it is common that funding is not available to improve the information technology systems that can help make more dramatic improvements.

The significant emphasis on ‘Agile’ approaches to software development makes it easy to forget how much an agency can do to make processes better – reduce handoffs, create standard operating procedures and follow them, measure and improve processes.

Process improvement often has a direct impact on an agency’s customer – whether it is for a flood survivor to apply for individual assistance, a passenger who goes through a security checkpoint, or a veteran seeking health care. A streamlined customer experience results in a positive perception of the efficiency of Government service.

Tactics for Leaders – To communicate the importance of change, senior leaders must start by doing, improving processes in their own offices as a model for their workforce. Leaders should focus on a few key tactics:

  • Clearly communicate the need for Government employees
  • Collect and publish data about the efficiency of current processes
  • Align performance goals with the requirement to improve processes
  • Listen to ideas – from employees at all levels in all parts of Government
  • Recognize great examples of process improvement – doing more with less
  • Share stories of process improvement success with customers and with the workforce, leading to more improvement or maybe even more dramatic innovation

Case Study Highlight – On one of our projects, we took over a large, mission-focused business function. When we took over the operations, we found that none of the processes were documented. The prior team did not have effective mechanisms to track the work and there were no productivity measures. So we started with the basics. Our team:

  • Developed standard operating procedures, validated them with our client, and followed them
  • Measured the throughput, made it visible, and set productivity targets for the team
  • Recognized the teams and individuals that were achieving results

With standard processes and productivity measures in place, the team recognized nearly a 20% improvement in performance and had the foundation to improve processes and easily measure the success of future change. The end customer sees a faster, more accurate turnaround in all requests.

After we made the improvements within our project, our Government clients asked us to help them improve some of their processes that integrated with our processes. Now, process improvement is something that happens every day.

A culture of continually improving processes has the power to get more work done, improve how the Government performs its mission, and change how customers view the Government. And how the Government views itself.

Blog Agile Process Improvement

Contributors

Lynn Ann Casey | Global border management thought leader and Founder & CEO of Arc Aspicio, Lynn Ann Casey brings unique passion and insight to border management, homeland security and law enforcement challenges. She is committed to partnering with governments worldwide to think differently, act strategically and proactively protect public safety.

Data + Strategy: Using Data to Inform Agency Strategy

Data + Strategy: Using Data to Inform Agency Strategy

Understanding the types of data available, gaining access to the right data, and making sense of data are daunting tasks for most organizations as they develop a strategy to meet mission demands and enterprise-wide goals. Data is especially challenging for the Government, yet provides the opportunity for insight for leaders as they strategically move their agencies forward.

Workplace Morale is Going to the Dogs… Literally!

Workplace Morale is Going to the Dogs… Literally!

There are few greater feelings than a dog’s unconditional love. And some are finding that a dog’s love can help combat stress at work. Secretary Zinke of the Interior Department announced his intent for "Doggy Days" where he encouraged employees to bring their canine companions to work on designated days. More than 80 dogs arrived for first event and the overjoyed employees immediately scheduled the next.

Accelerating FITARA Compliance: Five Steps That Leaders Can Take Today

Accelerating FITARA Compliance: Five Steps That Leaders Can Take Today

Implementing change is not always easy, but it is always necessary. Federal agencies have been working to transform how they acquire and manage Federal information technology (IT). The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) in December 2014 has increased visibility into this transformation.Although FITARA enhances the authority and accountability of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in reviewing and approving major IT investment projects, CIOs continue to look for new ways to implement best practices at their agencies.

Combating the Rise of Transnational Criminal Organizations

Combating the Rise of Transnational Criminal Organizations

Crime, corruption, and violence – particularly involving drug, human, and weapons trafficking – continue to increase at an alarming rate in the U.S. Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) are a critical part of this trend and pose a serious and growing threat to homeland security – at our borders and beyond.U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is at the tip of the spear to combat TCOs. With the context that the first goal in their Vision and Strategy 2020 Strategic Plan is Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime, CBP is focusing on disrupting TCOs responsible for the cross-border trafficking of illegal drugs, humans, and guns.

Design Thinking: Putting the Citizen at the Heart of Lasting Change

Design Thinking: Putting the Citizen at the Heart of Lasting Change

For the past few decades, there has been a growing increase in the digital channels available to network with the Federal government. These channels have made it easier for the public to interact and elicit responses from elected officials.These growing interactions have increased expectations for Government to be more transparent and collaborative. From the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the Department of State (DOS), Design Thinking transformations have begun to develop and modernize programs to be more human-centered. Agencies and programs beholden to serve the public good should logically adopt a problem-solving mindset that places the individual at the heart of any lasting changes.

Using Behavioral Science to Improve Mission Outcomes

Using Behavioral Science to Improve Mission Outcomes

Although behavioral science has been studied and applied within academia for decades, recently the concept has emerged everywhere – from Silicon Valley tech giants such as Google and Uber, to various Government agencies including the Department of Education, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Agriculture.But defining and applying such a broad and sometimes-nebulous discipline can prove difficult. What exactly is behavioral science? How can the Government use the concepts and lessons learned effectively?

Homeland Security Managers = Innovative Leaders

Homeland Security Managers = Innovative Leaders

The search for and implementation of innovative methods to protect the homeland should play an important role in homeland security managers’ approach to how they guide their organizations. Citizens expect government leaders to propose and implement organizational, acquisition, and personnel management practices that enhance our nation’s ability to prepare for and mitigate potential threats. They expect these to make them safer and the nation more secure.

Exploring the Known: Empowering Innovation by Working Out Loud

Exploring the Known: Empowering Innovation by Working Out Loud

Sharing in-progress work with others – your team, your client, your leaders – can be a daunting prospect. It can also be a great way to share lessons learned, drive quality into everything we do, and build trust. Working Out Loud is “a practice that combines conventional wisdom about relationships with modern ways to reach and engage people”. 

Leaders by Design (Thinking)

Leaders by Design (Thinking)

At Arc Aspicio, our very best assets are our people. In 2017, we introduced a program called the ‘Leaders by Design’ aimed at growing future leaders of our firm in a peer group setting. Leaders by Design is a customized experience for Senior Associates within the company to develop leadership skills and grow professionally and personally by interacting with others with similar experiences and also with senior leaders. The Peer Group is a co-investment to focus on collective growth and development – this means the company invests money and time in developing the training and the growing leaders also invest personal time.

Organization Redesign: Is the Cure Worse than the Ailment?

Organization Redesign: Is the Cure Worse than the Ailment?

According to a popular management joke, new executives should blame their predecessors when facing their first crisis.  When facing their second crisis, they should reorganize everything. Jokes are funny when they’re seen as plausible. Reorganizations show action, produce change, and create opportunities for new leadership. However, are reorganizations worth the disruption?

Arc Aspicio to Host Design Thinking Forum: Creating the Future of Government on June 21

Arc Aspicio to Host Design Thinking Forum: Creating the Future of Government on June 21

Washington, DC, June 7, 2017 — Arc Aspicio plans to host an inaugural Design Thinking Forum featuring a discussion on how Federal leaders can innovate solutions to create the future of Government. Design Thinking is a human-centered innovation process that emphasizes observation, collaboration, fast learning, visualization of ideas, rapid concept prototyping, and concurrent business analysis, which ultimately generates innovation and increased mission outcomes.