Introducing the new process redesign methodology

16 December 2021

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 operating model and ensure a greater focus on the end user's needs as well as the value that services provide to the university community.

Under the U of A for Tomorrow (UAT) initiative, the SET process redesign team has been diligently working to redesign and streamline processes across the university's administrative functions. At the same time, the team has also continued to revise and improve the original process redesign methodology they were working with.

Introducing the new methodology

The new methodology came as a result of several lessons learned during the work to date. First, the revision was made to ensure that key stakeholders are engaged earlier on in the process redesign work providing input from the very beginning including in the development of the scope of work. This helps inform the approach the business analysts take when conducting the redesign work. Second, there was a shift in how the business analysts were structured in their teams. Initially, they were assigned to work on specific streams working directly with the stream's project manager. Now, business analysts have been assembled onto one team and are assigned based on the service that needs redesigning. This change better prioritizes redesign work and allocates the team's resources more effectively. Third was shifting the focus of the redesign work away from primarily automation goals to better align with SET's priorities to support the transition of work from faculties and central units to meet reduction targets.

The new methodology includes four phases:

  • Information gathering: Work with stakeholders to determine current state and scope of change.
  • Statement of work development and approval: Develop statement of work that defines the scope of work, approach and timelines, as well as clear handoffs and deliverables.
  • Process improvement consultation and recommendations (documentation): Perform the required activities to deliver expected outputs from the statement of work, which may include conducting workshops with the larger community to engage and identify pain points.
  • Implementation and transition by the business: Transfer the relevant documents required by the service delivery area and organizational change management team to prepare for launch; conduct training as needed.
Figure 1: The new process redesign methodology
Figure 1: The new 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 redesigned 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 over process redesign documentation and provide support if changes are needed.

Engagement and consultation

Engagement and consultation with faculty and staff is a key priority for the process redesign team. In fact, the desire for earlier engagement is one of the primary reasons that the new methodology was established. It's important to note that business analysts are still engaging with faculties during their work. Where it's appropriate, they are conducting small consultation sessions to ensure the process redesign is on the right track with the scope of work, and that they understand faculty pressures.

Additionally, workgroups may be formed which provide an excellent opportunity for consultation and engagement with staff who know the work best. It's vital that the SET team consults with staff who are closest to 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, champion feedback from colleagues, identify system impacts, and provide support with implementation activities.

In order to ensure consistency across the SET program and beyond, the new methodology was recently presented to the research administration workstream, as they have yet to be engaged in process redesign so far, as well as the SET Change Management and Shared Services teams.

What's next?

The process redesign team has several redesigns scheduled over the next four months as outlined in Figure 2. The redesigns cover process improvements in HR, finance, research administration, and external engagement.

As of this week, the team has now completed the general ledger (GL) adjustments and reconciliations process redesign in the finance stream.

Figure 2: Process redesign schedule
Figure 2: Process redesign schedule


  • 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)


  • 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

More information

For more information on these process redesign activities and the methodology, please visit the web page.

For those who will be involved in a process redesign workgroup or review group, we highly encourage you to review this one-pager which highlights everything you need to know about the work you will be doing and helps set expectations.

As work continues in the coming months, the team aims to provide more consistent updates to the community on process redesign completion and successes. Stay tuned for more information to be shared in The Quad and on the UAT website.

As always, if you have any questions or feedback to share, please connect with us via or through the SET Feedback Form.



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