Advising: Process Mapping
and Improvement Plans
Overview and Proposal to
Committee on Academic Advising
Chet Labedz, 2011
Personal Background, Interest
• B.A. Math & Philosophy (Boston College), J.D. (U.
Michigan), M.S. Taxation (Boston University), M.S. &
Ph.D. Org Behavior (BC)
• Process / systems mapping exposure &
• Law / industry career (22 years) in HR, to VP
Administration & HR @ mid-sized company, etc.
• System dynamics training @ MIT Sloan.
• Pre-doc research: Lean systems @ MIT
• Personal advising interest: Form ABCD.xls.
Improvement: Motives & Means
Ø Why? What’s “broken”?
• Possible goals = process clarification,
correction, simplification, acceleration,
Ø Who? Committee, champions, opponents?
Ø What? Scope of changes? Pull vs. Push.
Ø How? What assets available to accomplish:
process mapping & recommended actions?
Ø When? Fastest responsible timeline?
1. Process Data: Collection
A. Identify “targets”:
1. espoused objectives of Advising Process (?)
2. “nagging issues”, disconnects, large or small.
• “pull” (voluntary) vs. “push” (mandated) approach.
3. boundaries for: data collection and likely action.
B. Collect data on existing situations:
1. obtain and examine current documentation.
2. identify “qualified” stakeholders:
• Interview (recorded) or survey them.
• compile their inputs
2. Process Mapping
C. Identify the sequential steps, connections &
dependencies of the Process.
1. common in Engrg. & Tech., and in Ops. MGT.
2. usually begin with macro-level map.
D. Develop Process Maps of current data.
1. classify workflows, methods, symptoms & strengths.
2. break major parts into ordered component steps.
3. use common symbols to denote similar elements
within charts; usually computer-aided (e.g., Visio,
3. Process Improvement
E. Highlight problematic outcomes, trends.
1. Seek out underlying problem(s), root causes.
F. Propose tentative process changes.
1. Project & “trim” unintended consequences of these.
G. Propose process changes for implementation:
1. Identify implementation timeline, measurables.
2. Provide / obtain resources, and implement.
3. Test new, before withdrawing current, process.
H. Continuous improvement: evaluate, re-start.
Sample icons: Visio & Web
3 of 4 200-level
Data Collection, Analysis
• Carefully review documentation in use.
– E.g., MGT Form 5 (paper)
• List explicit and implied actions within
– E.g., MGT Form 5 “current” analysis in XLS.
• Interview “qualified” stakeholders.
Sample Current “String Drawing”, in Vensim
Current state: solid = physical;
dashed = electronic;
x-hatch = delay
Sample: Possible Process Improvement Drawing
Fastest Responsible Timeline?
A. Identify “targets” / obtain “approval”, resources
B. Collect data on existing situations
C. Identify sequential steps
D. Develop Process maps
E. Identify root causes of problems
F. Identify tentative Process changes
G. Make proposals for implementation
H. Plan for, pursue continuous improvement
• Kamauff, Manager’s guide to operations
• Schonberger & Knod, Operations management:
customer-focused principles (6th ed., 1997)