Prepare Phase Update

01 April 2021

The SET team is in full swing carrying out the functional reviews and redesigns for the six administrative workstreams. A functional review is a methodology on how we can shift from our current state into our new administrative operating model, and consists of three phases as demonstrated in the diagram below.

The discover phase involves gathering information — understanding the key processes and staff activities of each stream and identifying opportunities to consolidate and automate processes. The prepare phase involves redesigning processes and planning for transition — forming working groups and designing future state processes, as well as developing plans for transition. The transition phase involves implementation — transitioning people and processes into the new organizational structure.
Figure 1: Functional Review Process

As we continue further down the path of transitioning into the new operating model, we want to outline the processes and milestones for the second phase of the functional review: the prepare phase.

Stream progress update

It’s important to recognize that each functional workstream is moving at a staged pace through their respective phases, and therefore, each will reach milestones at different times. Several streams are currently working through the prepare phase including HR, finance, components of student services, as well as the shared services unit. Some of these streams have issued a call for workgroup members and are gathering feedback from operational staff as they begin to redesign processes. Research administration and external engagement are in the discovery phase and will reach the prepare phase sometime this summer. IT is the exception having moved from discovery almost directly into the transition phase because of previous consolidation; you can learn more about this here

What is the prepare phase?

As the second phase of the functional review, the prepare phase is the period during which each stream works to prepare and plan for transitioning staff and services to the new operating model. The primary task during this phase is to redesign the current processes within the function to a more efficient and enduring state. In most cases, the prepare phase consists of three steps, the first being continuing the process impact assessment that began during the discovery phase. To complete this assessment, the teams analyze current state processes and develop high level process maps, as well as identify measures for service expectations for major business functions. The second step is to validate the end-to-end operating model in which the streams’ service catalogue is finalized in preparation for transitioning the identified services. 

The third and final step is to engage in transition planning. Here, the team will prepare all necessities for the actual transition of staff and services. Identifying transition requirements including people mapping, policies, processes, and procedures, technology needs and operational aspects such as facilities, are all crucial activities to a successful transition. This step also includes training plans for staff, identifying opportunities for automating technology, and more.

Iterative process

While the functional review process follows three phases: discover, prepare, and transition, for the most part, it’s crucial to note that it is not a linear process. As depicted in Figure 1, the prepare and transition phases are often being worked through concurrently; prepare does not abruptly end for transition to begin. The SET workstream teams are conducting the detailed planning as they go and transitioning services when they are ready. For example, as one process is being redesigned, another may be in the transition phase, so it is a continuous loop. 

This is due to the iterative nature that the SET program has adopted in it’s approach to redesigning services. While a less common methodology, this more interactive and agile path through administrative restructuring allows us to be more flexible and responsive. It also enables us to change and work more quickly, which is necessary to meet the required financial targets. 

What is process redesign?

A large portion of the work that is conducted before transitioning is known as process redesign, in which the key objective is to optimize processes for the new operating model. The intent is to ensure a greater focus on the end user’s needs and the value services provide to the university community. Several design principles, heavily influenced by Lean methodology, guide process redesign to ensure that goals are being met, including:

  • Simplify and streamline
  • Perform work where it makes most sense
  • Leverage technology
  • Digitize and standardize

Teams begin this redesign for the processes and activities that were identified as priorities during the discovery phase. Stay tuned for more information and details to be released including a dedicated web page to track progress on the various process redesign activities.

Engagement and consultation

During the prepare phase, workgroups are formed which provides an excellent opportunity for consultation and engagement with staff who know the work best. It’s vital that we consult with staff who are actually immersed in these functions and can provide valuable input into how the processes should be redesigned to a more efficient and effective future state. Ultimately, these workgroups will help define processes, consult with other colleagues for feedback, identify opportunities to leverage technology, and provide support with implementation activities. 

For more information on how these workgroups are formed, refer to the Frequently Asked Questions below.


Frequently asked questions

How long will the prepare phase and process redesign take?

The duration of the prepare phase will differ for each functional workstream, but on average, this prepare phase takes approximately five to six months to complete. Due to the iterative nature of the transition planning and depending on the time it takes to establish workgroups as well as develop end-to-end processes in the new model and other factors, each workstream is working at its own pace through the prepare phase.

Several streams are working through their prepare phase and consulting with their respective workgroups to gather feedback that will inform the redesigns.

Who selects the members of the working groups?

As the process design phase of the functional review gets underway, each stream will be issuing a call for working group members. These workgroups will help define future state processes, consult with other colleagues for feedback, identify opportunities to leverage technology to streamline and automate processes, and provide support with implementation activities. The open call is issued to leaders in each functional area to identify and nominate staff that 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 over the next two to three months to support process redesign, testing, training, implementation, and go-live activities for the prioritized activities.

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:

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