Exercise: Management system analysis
In order to analyse the management systems it is better to do it area by area.
- Go to the area and ask all the staff with management responsibilities for the documents they use. Print out whatever is digital and take a copy of any hard document.
- Ask them to briefly explain the purpose of each document and classify them according to the function: Forecast, Goals, Planning, Assignment of work, Follow up, Reporting, etc.
- Get a large sheet of paper and stick the documents on according to the category (forecast and goals, planning, assignment, follow up, reporting) and the level of management (manager, supervisor, team leader)
- Get the same people to come and see the paper and ask them their opinion about the management system and every document (and if it fits its purpose). Good management knowledge here is required in order to ask the right questions but if you focus on what could affect performance you have half the job done. An ideal management system will have clear, specific and measurable goals (SMART) on all the key performance indicators, optimised planning standards (based on best demonstrated performance), specific assignments and frequent follow up (that allows you to identify when a corrective action is needed to achieve the plans or the goals) and a complete reporting system on all the key performance indicators.
- The opinion of the users is valid. Their perception is not necessary a reflection of the complete picture, but it determines the way the management tools are used. What is lacking or wrong should be stressed in the same paper (use a red coloured paper to stand out from the documents)
- It is likely that you’ll find the some of the following problems:
- Insufficient or lack of goals communication
- Lack of key indicators to measure performance
- Lack of norms or standards
- Poor definition of the workload and the crewing
- Lack of flexibility
- Delayed decisions
- Excessive concentration on the decision maker
- Insufficient or irrelevant reports
- Lack of problem solving or problem identification
- Lack of corrective action
- Poor follow up on actions
- Lack of, insufficient or subjective performance evaluation
The result is very visual and should be used to get everyone’s commitment to an action plan which focuses on developing the required tools to manage workflow efficiently and effectively in each area. Make sure that the action plan has specific actions, with the responsible person and due date, and schedule the follow up meetings to control progress.