Process redesign

Before staff and services are transitioned to the new operating model, a significant amount of work is done on "process redesign." The key objective of this step is to optimize processes for the new operating model to ensure a greater focus on the end user's needs as well as the value that services provide to the university community.

The following statements* guide the effort of process redesign work:

  1. The team will redesign processes and services to support the transition of work out of faculties.
  2. The team will adapt to the new operating model by transitioning services to the applicable area, either Shared Services, Centres of Expertise, or the Partner Network.
  3. The team will always look for ways to standardize as a potential means to achieve efficiencies.

*These statements were used as part of the triaging process to determine the next priorities and were agreed upon by all key stakeholders.

Process redesign methodology

The general approach to process redesign follows these four steps:

  • Information gathering: Work with stakeholders to determine current state and scope of change. Conduct appropriate engagement (small stakeholder consultations) to identify pain points and develop minimum viable improvement proposals. Duration: Up to 2 weeks maximum.
  • Statement of work development and approval: Develop a statement of work that defines the scope, the approach, and the timeline based on the information gathered during step 1, as well as clear handoffs and deliverables. Duration: Up to 3 weeks with step 1 combined.
  • Process improvement consultation and recommendations (documentation):
    Based on the statement of work, perform the required activities to deliver expected outputs, which may include handoff and coordination with IST or other parties. Conduct workshops with the larger community based on impact scale and necessary information gathering. Duration: 2 to 4 weeks
  • Implementation and transition by the business*: Based on the statement of work, transfer the relevant documents required by the service delivery area and organizational change management team to prepare for launch and conduct any necessary training. This may include some updates to documents created during process redesign. Duration: 1 week

*Business refers to the service area in which the process/service will be delivered from. (e.g. Shared Services, Centre of Expertise or by the partners).

The process redesign methodology Figure 1: The process redesign methodology

Each phase of the new process is timeboxed, meaning a timeline has been assigned to each specific task. This helps move the process redesign along and allows the team to develop a reasonable scope of work. Each process redesign should take between eight to 10 weeks to complete from initiation and information gathering, through to transition to the area in which the service will be delivered (e.g. Shared Services, a Centre of Expertise, or by the partner network). It's important to note that these completion timelines do not include the launch timelines for the redesign services. The development of launch plans and timelines are the responsibility of the service area once the redesigned process has been handed off. That being said, the SET business analysts will continue to work with the service area to help transition process redesign documentation and provide support if changes are needed.

To learn more about this methodology, we encourage you to read this article.

Supporting staff while implementing changes

Effective change management will help ensure staff and faculties/units are ready, willing, and able to participate in and support changes resulting from the process redesigns.

The key focus of the change management activities are to:
  1. Ensure people impacted by the change are aware of the need for change, how things will be different and when the change is happening, and;
  2. Ensure affected staff have the tools, knowledge and skill sets they need to manage upcoming changes and maintain productivity during the transition process.

Change management activities include training and engagement as well as extensive communications.

Consultation and engagement

As process redesign work is initiated, a call for workgroup members may be issued to the applicable functional stakeholders/leaders. These workgroups will help define future-state processes, champion feedback from colleagues, identify system impacts, and provide support with implementation activities. Two workgroups are created for each process redesign project: the process redesign workgroup and the process redesign review group, with the potential for up to three redesign projects running simultaneously.

These workgroups include representation from faculties, IST, organizational change management, the respective partner network, as well as either the Centre of Expertise or Shared Services.

Some improvement activities may not follow the same scope as a full process redesign taking a different approach to the methodology described above. This could include a reevaluation of policies and procedures, or whatever is deemed necessary work to improve the activity. Input for these activities will still be required, but the composition and number of workgroups may differ.

Training fundamentals

To ensure a consistent approach and focus on service excellence, workgroups will complete the following training prior to beginning any process redesign activities. We encourage anyone interested to take the training.

II+EDI (Indigenous initiatives and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity)

As the university community implements plans for strategic transformation through the UAT initiative, we continue to be guided by our commitments to Indigenous initiatives and equity, diversity, and inclusivity (II & EDI). Learn the key concepts of (Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) and recognize how various identity factors can influence the experience of the university community. Learn to identify how GBA+ can enhance the responsiveness, effectiveness, and outcomes of initiatives while applying foundational GBA+ concepts and processes.

Take the GBA+ course through the Government of Canada (2 to 4 hours).

The SET team is continuing to look for additional training resources related to II & EDI.

Processes undergoing redesign

The process redesign team has several redesigns scheduled over the next four months as outlined below. These redesigns cover process improvements in HR, finance, research administration, and external engagement.

New process redesign timelineFigure 2: New process redesign timeline
  • HR
    • November and December: Salary and benefit adjustments
    • January to early February: GRA/GTA and Update staff data (process redesign work may be minimal or not required for both)
    • Early February to March onward: Onboarding/offboarding (process redesign work could be moved up)
  • Finance
    • November and December: GL adjustments and reconciliations
    • January to early February: Debt management/refunding
    • Early February to March onward: Invoices for internal customers
  • Research administration
    • November to January December: Contract administration
    • February: New grant applications (linked to finance)
    • March onward: ICR allocation processing/management (linked to finance)
  • External engagement
    • November and December: Service design
    • January and February: TBD
    • March onward: TBD

Frequently asked questions

How long does the process redesign take?
The length of time it takes to complete process redesign is entirely dependent on the scope and complexity of the specific process. That being said, each phase of the new process is timeboxed, meaning a timeline has been assigned to each specific task. This helps move work along and allows the team to develop a reasonable scope of work. Each process redesign should take between eight to 10 weeks to complete from initiation and information gathering through to transition to the service delivery area (e.g. Shared Services, a Centre of Expertise, or by partners).
Who selects the members of the working groups?
As the process design phase of the functional review gets underway, each functional stream will be issuing a call for working group members. These workgroups will help define future state processes, champion feedback from colleagues, identify system impacts, and provide support with implementation activities. An open call is issued to leaders in each functional area to identify and nominate staff who have knowledge of the processes as well as the time to dedicate to the redesign. Once the pool of nominees is received, members will be drawn to support process redesign, testing, training, implementation, and go-live activities for the prioritized activities. The goal is to have as diverse a pool of participants as possible, within the process areas of expertise needed. We recognize that smaller entities may not have resources to offer, but we will continue to seek a diverse group of nominees.
How can I get involved if I'm not on a working group, but want to provide feedback?
The SET team is always looking to hear your feedback and suggestions as we move forward in transitioning to the new administrative operating model. There are many ways to share your thoughts including:

If you have questions relating to the University of Alberta for Tomorrow, Administrative or Academic restructuring, visit the U of A for Tomorrow FAQ.