Reinventing a Data Archive: Process Improvement at ICPSR

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How the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) brought its core data processing pipeline into the 21st century.

How the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) brought its core data processing pipeline into the 21st century.

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  • 1. colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 1 of 39
  • 2. Contents 1 Origins Winter 2002-03 Background • A World of Change • Coping • Embracing Change 2 Mapping the Process Spring 2003 Goals • Example • Notation • Steps • Results • Gallery • Criteria 3 Designing the Future Summer 2003 The Process Improvement Committee • Initial Idea Generation • Evolution and Revolution • Ideal • Principles • Reports • Communication 4 Getting External Feedback Fall 2003 The External Review Committee • Formation • Steps • Recommendations 5 Implementing Change Winter 2003-04 Collecting Suggestions • Planning Projects • Themes • Stages • Progress So Far • Timeframes • Timelines 6 Designing the Metaprocess Spring 2004 The Action Cycle • The Data Model • Criteria 7 Looking Ahead Summer 2004 Delivery • Evaluation • Anticipated Challenges • Reflections colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 2 of 39
  • 3. 1. Origins Background colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 3 of 39
  • 4. 1. Origins A World of Change colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 4 of 39
  • 5. Data exploration, subsetting colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 5 of 39
  • 6. 1. Origins Embracing Change 2 3 4 Description colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 6 of 39
  • 7. colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 7 of 39
  • 8. colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 8 of 39
  • 9. 2. Mapping the Process Notation Circles Arrows Dashed arrows depict tasks: show sequences of tasks: show input/output between tasks and repositories: Task Owner Details, details, details ... Arrows normally flow left Each task has a to right; error corrections • name loop back right to left. • owner Arrows can be labelled • description with text and icons to depict data being passed from one task to the next. colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 9 of 39
  • 10. colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 10 of 39
  • 11. 2. Mapping the Process Results Process diagrams + Reference diagrams with progressive levels of detail: to assist the reader: colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 11 of 39
  • 12. 2. Mapping the Process Outsider’s View • Shows ICPSR as an opaque box in its “outside world” context • Shows what goes in and what comes out • Fits on one page! colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 12 of 39
  • 13. 2. Mapping the Process Insider’s View • Shows major steps and who’s responsible for each • Fits on one page! colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 13 of 39
  • 14. colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 14 of 39
  • 15. 2. Mapping the Process Who’s Who colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 15 of 39
  • 16. 2. Mapping the Process Visual Dictionary 1. Basic Building Blocks Tasks • Sequences • Milestones 2. Aggregation Areas • References • Summaries 3. Data Flow Between Tasks • Between Tasks and Repositories 4. Branching Conditional Tasks • Alternate Paths • Decision Points • Multiple Scenarios 5. Looping Recurring Tasks • Iterating Tasks • Error Correction Loops 6. Task Decorations Time • Automation • Mystery 7. Annotations Notes • Questions • Wishes • Suggestions • Predictions 8. Documents Generic • Physical • Electronic 9. Media Transmission • Portable Electronic • Storage colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 16 of 39
  • 17. Executable One can trace the entire path of a typical (or, better, any) job through the pipeline, without apology, handwaving, or falling off the map. Multilevel The diagram should make sense at multiple levels of detail — from far away and close up. Recognizable Pipeline staff can identify themselves and their work in the diagram. Accurate Pipeline staff attest to its correctness; and it correctly predicts the path of actual jobs. Illuminating Staff mention helpful insights they get from examining the diagram. colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 17 of 39
  • 18. Charge • Clarify the process • Simplify the process to omit redundant or unnecessary tasks • Reorder tasks within the overall process • Minimize or ease hand-offs between groups • Automate – tasks that require little human intelligence or judgment – tasks where there may be an advantage in encoding policies and practices within software systems • Reassign tasks from one group to another, to simplify processing or reduce hand-offs • Eliminate steps that produce physical paper products; replace these products with electronic data, forms, or images • Generate or process new types of files for dissemination colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 18 of 39
  • 19. 3. Designing the Future Initial Idea Generation Teams and Themes • Hand-offs between groups and/or people • Generation of paper/documents • Automation • Centralized vs. distributed colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 19 of 39
  • 20. 3. Designing the Future Evolution and Revolution • “Evolutionary” ideas – Initial focus on incremental improvements to current process • Now what? • “Revolutionary” ideas – Focus shifted to designing a new process – Ideas that would require an org chart change or a nontrivial technology investment colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 20 of 39
  • 21. 3. Designing the Future “Ideal” Pipeline Process 5 16 Archive Archive Acquired Processed Study Study Archival Archival Operations Operations 1 2 3 4 6-14 15 17 18 Conduct Conduct Submit Acquire Acquisition Central Release Announce Initiate a Study the Study Processing the Study the Study Review Quality Review Submitter Submitter Acquisitions Acquisitions Processor User Support User Support or Central Quality ICPSR Reviewer 7 Build Data Set Processor 8 6 Build 10 11 12 13 14 Plan Metadata Conduct Produce Produce Complete Conduct the Set Integration Core Data Full Data Document Unit Processing Processor Check Suite Suite Set Quality Processor Editor Another Processor Processor Processor Review Processor Another Librarian Processor 9 Build Document Set EDC colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 21 of 39
  • 22. 3. Designing the Future Guiding Principles • Automation • Standardization • Centralization • Quality Control • Version Control • Focus on the User • Electronic Collection Management • Staff Development and Career Path Expansion colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 22 of 39
  • 23. colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 23 of 39
  • 24. 3. Designing the Future Communication with Staff colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 24 of 39
  • 25. 3. Designing the Future Reflections • Enlightening experience • Helps us better see the forest and the trees • Unique opportunity for collaboration • Optimistic about future as implementation of process improvement unfolds colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 25 of 39
  • 26. Steps colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 26 of 39
  • 27. 4. Getting External Feedback Recommendations Key Recommendations from External Review Committee Report Based on the Reports: • Implement the evolutionary recommendations outlined in the Report on the Pipeline Process now; don’t wait for the “Ideal Future” to be finalized. • Assign an implementation project manager who is responsible for assuring completion of these goals. • Create a redesign implementation committee to refine and operationalize the “Ideal Future” Process considered in the Second Report. Beyond the Reports but fundamental to ICPSR’s mission and reputation: • Undertake an internal review of data security practices and procedures culminating in an outside review by a responsible agency. • Create a high-level acquisitions strategy committee to coordinate an overarching ICPSR acquisition policy and strategy. • Articulate a preservation policy that encompasses the multitude of current and increasingly varied data types that result from social science research. colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 27 of 39
  • 28. 5. Implementing Change Collecting Suggestions Staff suggestions are posted on the ICPSR Intranet: colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 28 of 39
  • 29. 5. Implementing Change Planning Projects Some suggestions lead to structured project plans, also posted on the Intranet: colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 29 of 39
  • 30. To help make sense of a long list of projects, each one is assigned a primary “theme”: colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 30 of 39
  • 31. 5. Implementing Change Project Stages Awaiting Awaiting resource In proposal management In project commitment Under development approval planning and scheduling construction 1 2 3 4 6 7 Proposal Approval Planning Scheduling Implementation Done 5 Holding Awaiting another project completion or other event colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 31 of 39
  • 32. 5. Implementing Change Progress So Far 34 projects total in the queue for consideration or implementation: 18 from the original set of PIC recommendations 16 added since then colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 32 of 39
  • 33. 5. Implementing Change Project Timeframes Timeframe "Quick and "Small and "Automation” "Research category Easy” Straightforward” First” Actual or Expected 2003 Q4 2004 Q1 2004 Q2 2004 Q2 Completion √ √ and beyond and beyond Example Project P0003 P0008 P0006 P0010 Study Numbers Tool Repository Study Tracking File Naming Accelerate Create a shared System Standardize the generation of server directory of Create an naming of study Study Numbers supported software automated system files across the tools to track the pipeline progress of studies through the ICPSR pipeline colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 33 of 39
  • 34. 5. Implementing Change Project Timelines • A visual overview of expected calendar time for all projects colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 34 of 39
  • 35. 6. Designing the Metaprocess The Action Cycle A map of the process of process improvement colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 35 of 39
  • 36. 6. Designing the Metaprocess The Data Model colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 36 of 39
  • 37. Learns from every cycle; self-modifies as necessary colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 37 of 39
  • 38. PIC Update • PIC altered from ad hoc to standing committee with rotating membership • PIC membership was refreshed May 2004: 6 new members, 6 continuing • Link Fine Details with Big Picture • Understand, then Change • First, Do No Harm but Keep Moving Forward colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 38 of 39
  • 39. Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI colew@umich.edu • 10/29/04 Process Improvement at ICPSR • 39 of 39