A Practical Approach to Implementing Workflow Change by Nicole Pelsinsky


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Adopting a new product, service, or workflow can be time-consuming and difficult in any type of library. Learn how to get staff buy-in to the process and which milestones and methods.

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  • The concept of change – whether you’re looking to change a product/service, a workflow or both – provides the opportunity to make improvements to the work that you may do, that your library does, and/or to improve your patron’s experience. But that process also has challenges. It requires investments of time, money and staffing, and can only be disruptive by nature. However, change should be seen as necessity for libraries - so we can stay relevant to our patrons and make rewarding and valuable contributions, ourselves. Any change requires a certain amount of investment and some ambiguity. Reducing some of the ambiguity when introducing any change – be it a formal or informal process – can be very helpful to those who will be effected by it. For instance, things like a vision statement; an overview of the process and some way to measure that progress; implementation; identifying key staff that can contribute their expertise during that process (although they may not be involved for the entirety of the process); and clarity in the intended outcome – should be expected. The end result of any change process - and outcome from the implementation of it - should clearly show improvements. And last but not least – you should learn from the process.
  • I mentioned disruption and how change is disruptive. Often, disruption has a bad connotation – but disruption can be good or bad. Bad – gunks up whatever workflow or process you have in place, which can cost time, $, emotional energy. Good = how can you use disruption to your advantage?Revisit how you ‘have always done things’Revisit how your library is perceived (‘marketing’)Disruption in the marketplace = new technology, etc.
  • When changing anything, there is one thing you can expect – reactions. So anticipating the variety of reactions will arm you up front to understand how to respond to them. How do you and your staff react to change?Worried?Exciting?Confusing?Scared?Inquisitive?Skeptical?How does your intended audience react to change? Are they demanding change?
  • Who Moved my cheese is a story about four small people/mice – they equate cheese = happiness, success. For a while, all are privy to a store of cheese but that dries up; some of them have planned and are able to adapt to find new cheese quickly; others take longer to figure it out; some don’t. If you are looking for a good read about change, this provides an interesting and entertaining view of environmental changes and reactions.
  • But….you still need to keep moving once you’ve made the commitment. In order to keep going in the right direction, here are some very basic ideas for managing change. [Bullet points]If you want to consider a more formal method for managing change, you can analyze the situation you’ve in currently. One method of doing this is using something like a Boston Grid or similar method. This gives you a way to analyze your day-to-day ‘business’ into quadrants, assessing strategic items, high potential projects, core activities (aka ‘the stuff you gotta do’), and distractions. A method like this can help you determine what you can practically ‘take on’ in terms of change.
  • So, now that you’ve come to terms with change and knowing that it will have it’s ‘moments’ – what next? It’s time to move to a finding a way to evaluate what is needed; one of the great things about this, is that you have flexibility with your approach. You can choose to keep the evaluation process very simple and basic, or you can make more of a research experience. I am going to go through some methods to solicit information and as I do so, you’ll see they are patron-focused. However, please keep in mind that these methods can be used with your staff and/or stakeholders as well. You even might find you want to use more than one method, during or after the change/implementation process.
  • A simple approach can be contacting a few key patrons and asking questions. Pros = Fast and could be more informal / Allows you to reinforce the relationship between you and key patrons / gives you an opportunity to circle back for more details / smaller base of data to work withCons = Doesn’t provide as broad of a solicitation, so you might not be hitting potential users / key patrons may focus on their special needs / smaller base of data to work with
  • Another approach that can range from simple to sophisticated is conducting focus groups. Organizing focus groups takes more time and organizing on your part, but you use this method to capture feedback from a broader audience. Another great thing about this method is that people can react to what others are saying – or bring up important things that may not have come to light before. [Explain how to organize focus groups and how to org their feedback]
  • Now that you’ve heard the basics about focus groups, here are some resources to learn more. There’s a ton of reference material on for how to conduct focus groups and distill the information. I chose a variety of resources to cover lots of different types of libraries.
  • Another method to solicit information from patrons to is to ask survey questions. There’s a bit more to surveys than just writing up a standardized question set though – they also require determining and testing the delivery method, ensuring validity, and analyzing the results. However, the investment is worth it; once you’ve developed a solid survey, you can use and reuse! it to gather data over time. There are also many survey formats: face-to-face, paper and online. Again – you might want to consider using a combination of these.
  • To help frame a survey, here are some questions to ask: how will the results be used? Who should be surveyed? How many people should be surveyed? Who will design and administer the survey? Here are some resources both walk you through the process of developing and using surveys – along with a few traditional surveys for reference.
  • Writing the survey questions correctly is a key activity to truly getting the information that you need. Here are some things to keep in mind while writing a survey. [bullet points]There’s no need to really reinvent the wheel here, though – unless you have specific or unique activities or resources….in that case, this would be a good time to ask a question or two, to see if there is an awareness of them.
  • As I mentioned earlier, surveys can be conducted in many ways. One of the common ways to deliver a survey these days is online. Since so many libraries have a web presence, online surveys are a great method to gather information. They can be fast and easy to fill in, and the results can be compiled using the software that accompanies the survey. The downside is that you may not be able to reach out to the audience you wish to tap, i.e. those patrons who aren’t used to using a computer.
  • I have listed some survey user interface references here, including a few examples of library online surveys and some low-cost or free survey tools. As you are considering how to frame your questions, be sure that you capture certain demographics; that way, you can better understand the audience that provided you with responses.
  • I’d like to take a moment to address workflow specifically; another method to solicit information implicitly, is to analyze workflow/process. I have listed some practical guidelines listed here: again, some of these might seem like a ‘no-brainer’ but it always good to have a refresher before going through the process. The ‘be objective’ – when capturing a workflow, there needs to be a level of honestly and clarity in order to provide a realistic snapshot. Often, it is difficult to reach a level of clarity when capturing tasks so having someone from the ‘outside’ can help; especially if they can focus on making sure acronyms are avoided or vernacular-specific terminology. Expect to solicit information at several levels and from other teams, parts of the organization; no one operates in a vacuum. Capture tasks….and expect it to be messy – well, let’s see my next slide.
  • There are a number of tools and recognized processes for capturing workflow, but I think that simple is better. If you want to capture this information digitally, you can use a tool like Visio or Gliffy to build diagrams, which can then be shared. However, you can also just get some whiteboards, pieces of paper and post-its, and start from there. [bullet points on capturing workflow]
  • I realize that this picture may not really cover your idea of ‘incentive’ but – give a thought to adding an incentive of sorts as you are soliciting information. If you have budget and can get fancy, things like ipods, gift cards or books can inspire people to participate. But use your imagination – even providing coffee and cookies to your focus groups, or a special gift certificate for research assistance or a children’s read-along can work.
  • So now you have a information from your user base – this could range from a handful of items from key patrons, to a huge data set garnered from an online survey. You’ll want to organize it into some sort of list – I suggest using a spreadsheet so you can add columns with notes and re-sort the information as needed. How do you decide what to do with it? Do not be surprised if it turns out to be a long list. It might have some items on it that you cannot even believe. So there are a few basic questions to potentially help you determine what is worthwhile (next slide)
  • [bullet points]As you are going through this process, capture notes and important pieces in the decision-making process. Try and be meticulous so that you have a good record of why something was (or wasn’t) considered a priority at the time. You’ll also want to reorganize your list to reflect the highest to lowest priorities.
  • RFIs and RFPs can be used to help you select what to do, if you need to outsource or get assistance from a third-party.RFI = request for information / RFP = request for proposal. One is less formal, one more formal. An RFI is usually general in nature, asking broad questions about a subject or a type of product. It’s used to solicit feedback, so you can understand what you’d then need to put into a formal RFP document. You’ll want to consider what stipulations you might have to follow a formal process? What you are required to follow for your technology needs (like, does your IT department have certain guidelines) or do you need to submit something a certain way for budgeting?
  • A RFP usually contains selection criteria that is categorized by “rough level of importance”. It is a more formalized approach to soliciting specific and detailed information about a potential purchase. You’ll find that the RFP is a common component to working with vendors.SLAs = special licensing agreements, i.e. “the need for 99% up time” or “24/7 support”.
  • Here are some reference links to RFP information. You may find that you do not need to use RFPs during the process, but you still might want to review how these questions are organized and framed. Again, these can help provide you with a better picture of what you can reasonably consider adopting, like a new product or new content.
  • The informal side of selection is ‘winging it’. Here are some ‘winging it’ questions to help you decide on what you might do – and who can provide it.What are your patrons asking for? (i.e. “I want you to be like Google”)What have other libraries like yours adopted?What have your heard from your fellow librarians?Market researchWhat vendors are coming to you?
  • Now that you’ve gone through the process of understanding and deciding on what is needed, it is time to execute.
  • An investment in developing and maintaining a project plan, will keep everyone – and the project! - on track. Project management is a discipline unto itself, and relies on the heavy use of schedules, budget tracking and Gantt charts. Many project management systems are developed to cater to these needs, but adopting some of the tenants of PM should give you more than enough structure to have your project flow smoothly. Here are some questions to keep in mind as you develop a plan.
  • Which process are you going to use to track your project? There are several options, but tracking milestones would be the most common form. Having a process that everyone can follow is important for gauging how to get from the beginning to the end of a project. Having an articulated plan with clear guidelines helps to keep everyone organized, and everything moving forward. Consider these questions: Who’s participating? When and how? How are you going to address risk management? What is your communication process going to be? As part of deciding which type of tracking might work best.
  • This is an example of an implementation plan that I have used in the past with libraries. You’ll notice that it includes different phases of the project; specific activities; who is participating and how long that might take. You’ll also notice that I have a column there for notes – so there is a record of progress.
  • Training and documentation is an important part of introducing any sort of change. I’ve broken these down into separate categories, but you’ll notice a lot of overlap. Things to consider are: the need to participate in training and/or use documentation that a third-party party can provide to you; the need to potentially host your own training and write your own documentation (I’ve always found some level of this with every project I’ve been involved with)The need for repetition – people may need to be ‘exposed’ more than once. And tailoring training/documentation to your – or your patron’s – needs.
  • Now you have finally made it! Hooray! It can take a long time to get from the start of an idea to a fully executed project. All the more reason to make sure that you don’t forget the marketing and launch of your product or process. This should be the fun part so – [next slide]
  • Celebrate your success! Consider your audience and message [bullet points]Use any marketing resources you can find – leverage your vendor and the tools and content they have; reach out to contacts within your own institution – do you have a group that does marketing? Again with the incentives – and not just for patrons potentially, but everyone involved. Do you have a budget for gifts? Even bookmarks, candy? Can you recognize key contributors or key people in the project somehow?
  • Help celebrate your success by making sure your staff is ready as well. [bullet points]
  • Measurement and evaluation naturally encompasses statistics, analytics and verbatim feedback. You’ll want to capture outcomes from your changes – more foot traffic? Increased usage of content? Positive feedback about conducting research quicker, faster, easier? As I’ve mentioned many times, document as much as you can as you are working through the process.This documentation will help you determine what might need to happen next - the next phase, next project, next whatever – and recording it means things won’t get forgotten. This will provide you with some clarity as you finish the launch for ‘what next’? Conducting a postmortem is a great way to really evaluate what went well and what didn’t. I know that I’ve put this at the end of the process, but you may find value in conducting these after certain key points during the process. The outcome of a postmortem should be a good record of things that you’ll want to keep doing, and problems/pitfalls that you might want to see if you can avoid the next time. You’ll want any postmortem documents as a reference during the process as you consider future changes.
  • A Practical Approach to Implementing Workflow Change by Nicole Pelsinsky

    1. 1. PRACTICAL STEPS FOR PRACTICAL PEOPLE: IMPLEMENTING WORKFLOW CHANGE April 10th, 2014 Nicole Pelsinsky, MLIS Presented to the Texas Library Association
    2. 2. Agenda  Why Change?  Evaluating What You Need  Soliciting Information  Selecting What To Do  Implementation  Marketing and Launch  Measurement and Evaluation  Key Takeaways • Mea 4/24/2014 2
    3. 3. 4/24/2014 3 Why Change? http://www.inetu.net/about/server-smarts-blog/june-2013/trusting-the-cloud-part-1
    4. 4. 4/24/2014 4 Disruption http://www.lindabernardi.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Disruption.jpg
    5. 5. 4/24/2014 5 Change and People? http://www.clker.com/
    6. 6. 4/24/2014 6 Sometimes, it really might be “Who Moved My Cheese?” but…. http://static.neatorama.com/images/2009-06/slice-cheese.jpg
    7. 7.  Have a clear goal and vision  Be positive and have a sense of humor  Try and see the big picture  Remember your own individual contributions and value  Be open about what is not working  Focus on what success looks like – but keep in mind that might not look the same for everyone 4/24/2014 7 Practical Ideas for Managing Change
    8. 8. 4/24/2014 8 Evaluating What You Need http://www.inetu.net/about/server-smarts-blog/june-2013/trusting-the-cloud-part-1
    9. 9. 4/24/2014 9 Soliciting Information – Key Patrons http://www.novusdigital.com/assets/images/customer-feedback-ad.png
    10. 10. 4/24/2014 10 Soliciting Information – Focus Groups http://www.limebridge.com.au/content/Image/Customer_Research_Program.jpg
    11. 11.  50 Guidelines for Conducting Focus Groups - http://www.qualitative- researcher.com/focus-group/50-guidelines-for-conducting-focus- groups/  Basics of Conducting Focus Groups - http://managementhelp.org/businessresearch/focus-groups.htm  Tips for Conducting Focus Groups - http://www.insites.org/CLIP_v1_site/downloads/PDFs/TipsFocusGrps.4 D.8-07.pdf  Use of a focus groups in a library’s strategic planning process - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC64762/  Hutchins Library, Focus Group Interviews - http://faculty.berea.edu/henthorns/bieval/Focus-Group.html  Libraries for Children and Young Adults, IFLA Section – http://www.ifla.org/files/assets/libraries-for-children-and- ya/publications/guidelines-for-childrens-libraries-services_background- en.pdfhttp://www.ifla.org/files/assets/libraries-for-children-and- ya/publications/guidelines-for-childrens-libraries-services_background- en.pdf 4/24/2014 11 Soliciting Information – Focus Groups
    12. 12. 4/24/2014 12 Soliciting Information – Survey Questions http://sd.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/i/to-be-or-not-to-be-that-is-the-question.png
    13. 13.  Library User Survey Templates and How-Tos: http://www.lrs.org/library-user-surveys-on-the-web/  New York State Library Survey Tutorial: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/libs/pldtools/guide/h-clst.htm  National Library of New Zealand: http://schools.natlib.govt.nz/school-libraries/building-and-managing- collection/library-surveys  New Mexico State Library: http://nmstatelibrary.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=artic le&id=206&Itemid=104  South Plainfield Public Library Survey: http://www.southplainfield.lib.nj.us/SURVEYQUESTIONS_2%5B1 %5D.pdf  Montana State Library: http://libraries.montanastatelibrary.org/files/2013/07/Sample- Library-Surveys.pdf 4/24/2014 13 Soliciting Information – Survey Questions
    14. 14.  Start with simple questions  Be deliberate – use clear sentences and wording patrons will understand  Ask one item per question  Have the questions flow from one to the next  Provide enough space for open-ended answers  Provide a comprehensive range to closed- ended ones, including a ‘neutral’ category – if appropriate 4/24/2014 14 Soliciting Information – Writing Survey Questions
    15. 15. • Surveys 4/24/2014 15 Soliciting Information – Survey UIs
    16. 16. Examples of Library Online Surveys  Brewer Public Library: http://www.rc.swls.org/www.old/formsa/prg3.htm  Multnomah County Library: https://multcolib.org/survey  Henderson State University: http://hsusurvey.hsu.edu/Library/libsurspring14.htm Free to Low-Cost Survey Tools  Surveymonkey (Library Services Survey example): http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=CZ6VWn6dVcW6TtjfWn o_2f7A_3d_3d  Zoomerang: http://www.zoomerang.com/  Google Forms: http://www.google.com/google-d-s/createforms.html  Surveyz: http://www.qualtrics.com/ 16 Soliciting Information – Survey UIs
    17. 17. • Be objective – Consider having someone in the room who is not familiar with the process, who can ask clarifying questions • You may need to capture workflow at several levels and across teams • Capture the tasks distinctly, but without being pedantic • Expect it to be messy, until it’s not 17 Soliciting Information – Workflow Assessment
    18. 18. • Think about the process you want to focus on • Talk through all of the tasks • List out all of the tasks – As you list them out, think in ‘yes/no’, ‘pass/fail’, ‘active/passive’, ‘something/nothing’ – Walk through each branch in the workflow logic • Expect to revise the list, because you are going to forget stuff • Mark up notations in places where there are special cases • Mark up places where there are perceived bottlenecks, dependencies, or any individual points of failure 18 Soliciting Information – Capturing Workflow
    19. 19. 19 Soliciting Information – Incentives!
    20. 20. 4/24/2014 20 Prioritizing from the „Laundry List‟ http://www.docstoc.com/docs/54225110/CORE-Task-List-(Shoot-House-and-CACTF)
    21. 21.  What kind of budget do you have?  What resources are available?  Does it need to be outsourced or in- house?  What is the timeline?  What do stakeholders expect? (i.e. provost or patrons or staff) 4/24/2014 21 Selecting what to do
    22. 22. What is the difference between RFI and RFP? RFI Process  Pull together broad questions about a subject, like ‘discovery’, for instance  Use these questions to then fuel what you’d consider for an RFP  This also allows the respondent to ask for further clarification if needed 4/24/2014 22 More Formal - RFI (and RFP)
    23. 23.  Does the technology meet your needs?  Does the content meet your needs?  Pricing?  Maintenance?  Support?  Metrics and analytics?  Do you need to build in SLAs? 4/24/2014 23 More Formal – RFP Questions
    24. 24.  RFP 101: http://www.thestaffingstream.com/2013/03/01/rfp-101- are-you-asking-the-right-questions/  Sample RFP Questions to Ask Vendors: http://rfptemplates.technologyevaluation.com/rfp/for/Sam ple-RFP-Questions-to-Ask-Vendors.html  How to Improve Your RFP: http://www.rfptemplates.org/improve-your-rfp/  How to Write a Request for Proposal: http://www.internetraining.com/6art2.htm 4/24/2014 24 More Formal – RFP Questions
    25. 25. 4/24/2014 25 Less Formal http://www.flickriver.com/photos/asv/2044509953/
    26. 26. 4/24/2014 26 Implementation http://blog.prolecto.com/2011/11/16/how-to-netsuite-implementations-demystified/
    27. 27.  What is the project scope?  What method(s) will be used to complete the project?  Who is involved, and when?  What are the specific tasks, and how long will each take?  Do you need to track costs as well?  What is your back-up plan and what happens if the project slips? 4/24/2014 27 Implementation – Project Planning
    28. 28. Milestones  Provides critical points in the project Activities  Instructions tell people what they need to do Deliverables  Activity-based points in the process Outcomes  Focuses on the goals or objectives of the project 4/24/2014 28 Implementation – Process
    29. 29. 4/24/2014 29 Example Project Plan
    30. 30. Training  What do you need?  When do you need it?  Who can supply it? And does the ‘who’ need to be you?  Repetition Documentation  What do you need?  When do you need it?  Who can supply it? And does the ‘who’ need to be you?  Ready access and easily available 4/24/2014 30 Implementation – Training and Documentation
    31. 31. 4/24/2014 31 Marketing and Launch http://www.fabuloussavers.com/new_wallpaper/NewYear_Celebrations_Around_Th eWorld2012_freecomputerdesktopwallpaper_1920.jpg
    32. 32. Consider your Audience  Who are you telling and why does it matter to them?  How do they best receive new information? – make sure you ask while doing your focus groups, surveys, etc.! Marketing  How much of a splash do you want to make?  In person events  Social Media Push  Set up training sessions for people (vendor or library staff)  Attend events where you can market the new whatsit  Newsletters 4/24/2014 32 Marketing and Launch – For Others
    33. 33. Preparing Your Staff  Ensure that your staff is ready to do training, if needed  Ensure that your staff is ready to do troubleshooting  Make sure you have the collateral you need  Write help articles, cheat sheets  Make sure all of the different access methods are covered (mobile, portal etc.) 4/24/2014 33 Marketing and Launch – For You
    34. 34.  The traditional measurement and evaluation…  Plus - document, document, document  What’s next? POSTMORTEM 4/24/2014 34 Measurement and Evaluation
    35. 35.  Expect any potential change to have impacts – it’s okay!  There are lots of options for evaluating what you need and soliciting information  The process can be formal or informal, depending on your library’s needs  Allow time  To talk through changes;  Try out different processes and be honest about where something might not work;  To not be as efficient as you’ll want to be when its ‘habit’  Encourage questions, but don’t let people whine   Take advantage of training and documentation!  Capitalize on new *anything* by communicating broadly ‘what it is and why it’s needed’  Reward people for their time and efforts  Follow up after its all over  Make a record of how it went;  What to improve on next time;  What items are on the ‘laundry list’ for the future;  Use your metrics, scale of measure to illustrate improvements 4/24/2014 35 Key takeaways and next steps
    36. 36. • Nicole Pelsinsky – MLIS • Product Management Lead • nicole.pelsinsky@proquest.com • www.proquest.com • With special thanks to Jennifer Robbins and John Reynolds for their assistance with this presentation! 4/24/2014 36 Thank you!