5 Steps to Designing an Efficient School Process

Designing a process

Creating a school process design is an exciting, but daunting task. To make your school district processes as efficient as possible, you’ll want to map it out so each task and decision point is clearly defined. This will help you see the relationship between each step, and discover which steps can be improved or even eliminated.

Here are the 5 steps to design a process for your school district and map out your workflow:

Step 1: Identify your Process and Build your Team

Identify the Process to Improve

Selecting the right process is a very important step. You probably have several processes you’d like to improve and eventually you can. To get started, think of one specific problem you want to solve. For example, your school district might decide you want to improve the process for reporting student absences.

When you’re considering a process, ask yourself, “What benefits do you expect that improving the process will bring?” and “How many people will be impacted by this improvement?” These questions will help you identify which process improvement initiative will provide the most value.

Build your Team

When you’re mapping out a school process design for your district, you’ll need to build a small team to ensure the map is accurate. Make sure you have team members who do are doing the work and members who manage or oversee the process.

Step 2: Map your Process

Identify the Start and End Point (Boundaries)

Before mapping out all of the steps in your workflow, identify where the process starts and ends. For the attendance example above, the starting point might be “student is or will be absent.” It’s the trigger that starts the process. Depending on your process, you might have two endpoints. For attendance, the end points may be, “excused absence recorded” and “unexcused absence recorded.”

Identify Each of the Steps in the Process

Right now, you don’t need to sequence the steps. Focus on getting all of the steps in your process recorded first. For each step, make sure you identify who is doing the task and when it is done. In the attendance examples, you would likely have several steps throughout the process. Each would be identified and then later sequenced.

Sequence your Steps and Decision Points

Once all of the steps are identified, walk through the process from start to finish rearranging steps, as needed. Make sure you also identify the delay time (wait time) between each step. Add decision points whenever there is a decision you have to make or an event that affects the outcome of the process. For example, in attendance, one decision point would be whether or not the parent approves the absence.

When you’re adding decision points, make sure to visually differentiate it from your other steps. You can do this by using a different colored sticky note or the diamond symbol if you are using a process mapping software.

Step 3: Find Areas for Improvement

Identify Value Added and Non-Value Added Steps

After your current process is mapped out, you can start analyzing the process and each individual step for improvement. Start by identifying which steps are Value Added and which are Non-Value Added.

In Lean, there are three criteria that Value Added steps must meet:

  1. Your customer must be willing to pay for it.
  2. The action must be done correctly the first time.
  3. The action needs to somehow change the product or service your customer receives.

For obvious reasons, #1 doesn’t work for school districts. Try to think of it as something the “customer” wants and expects. In the attendance example, the customer would be the parents. An action they would want and expect as a step would be the absence being recorded.

All steps that aren’t Value Added are considered Non-Value Added. But this doesn’t mean they aren’t important. A school employee entering the absence request, for example, isn’t Value-Added because it doesn’t directly benefit the parent. However, it’s still an important step in the process.

Review Each Step for Improvement Opportunities

Once you’ve identified which steps are Value-Added, you can find improvement opportunities. First, review the Non-Value Added steps. Are there any you can eliminate from the process? For the attendance requests example, you might discover that there is an unnecessary secondary approval you can remove.

Next, review the Value Added steps. You won’t want to eliminate any of these steps because these are what your customer wants most, but you can improve the steps. For example, you may decide to automate your school district’s attendance request form the parent completes. Once the form is electronic, improvement opportunities for other steps will become clear.

Step 4: Remap Your Improved Process and Finalize the Process

After your process is as efficient and value-added as possible, you’ll want to remap the process so each step and decision point is clear. Then your team can remove the map and finalize the process.

Step 5: Moving Forward

Once you’ve mapped out your school district’s process design, it’s time to take action and work toward implementation. Your team will want to create assignments and deadlines to ensure any additional involved in moving your new process toward implementation is taken care of.

If you will be automating parts of your process, consider a Workflow Management System, like Script. Script’s drag and drop process builder can help your school districts map your workflows and automate tasks. If you are ready to get started, schedule a demo of Script today.

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