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Liber Conference, Barcelona, June 2012.
In view of all the reorganisations and budget cuts we see everywhere; I would like to share our experiences in working with a simple PDCA cycle. I work at the Learning and Innovation Centre (LIC) of the Avans University of Applied Science in the Netherlands. Avans has opened three Xplora’s (Learning Centres) in 2006 and 2007. The traditional library has changed into a learning-centre and now resides under the LIC. Since 2005 a new organizational structure and new working-arrangements with faculty staff have been set up. The LIC has 85 fte staff divided over 7 teams.
In 2009 we started with an experiment introducing a new and more effective way of reporting to our executive board. We designed a simple ‘dashboard’ on which at a glance one can see how the Learning and Innovation centre is doing on a quarterly basis from the perspective of the Balanced Score Card (financial, customer, internal and Innovative).
Commissioned by the executive board in 2009 we also developed an activity-based budget model applied to each team. Thus we set up a PDCA cycle. We adopt KPI’s, not only for the LIC as a whole but also for each team. The aim was not only to deliver information to the executive board but also for ourselves to have more objective information about our own organization. We introduced the KPI and dashboard for all our teams. Our executive board only get’s a copy of the main dashboard which is composed of the dashboard from the different teams.
We also introduced simple time schemes for our staff. With the information from these time schemes we can check if the time we planned to spend on activities in practice really was spent and also the progress being made each quarter. The PDCA-cycle we set up is not complicated and is easy to use. We are very pleased with what we have done because we now have more objective management information.
Important to mention is that we developed this tool only for improving processes and not as a control instrument directed at staff!
The Executive Board is pleased with the new way we submit the different necessary documents and the way we do our updates every quarter. Because we now have much more meaningful information about our performance we also are very content with it and because everything now is transparent, we can easily demonstrate how we invest Avans’ money and this makes the discussion with our board much easier.