title:Discovery Procedures for Building Effective Management Systems author:Chris Anderson source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/business_and_finance/article_1999.shtml date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:06 category:business_and_finance article:

Part One in a Five Part Series
Imagine what a professional football team would be like without a regimen of practice drills? Now take away their playbook and player statistics. What you have in this extreme scenario are highly talented (and perhaps overpaid) individuals participating in organized chaos. They might actually win a game or two, but in the long run, this team is doomed.
Management Policy
I offer this illustration to drive home the point of why any organization needs to examine the existence and effectiveness of its management systems. If there are weaknesses or holes in your documented procedures (playbook), or benchmark measurements (stats), then you will want to take corrective action.
Process Phases
It is my experience that when a company attempts to establish its management systems for the first time, it takes longer than expected, involves more people than planned, and grows in complexity.
To control this trend, I advocate dividing the process into five (5) distinct phases, each with clear objectives:


In this series, we will take a look at each phase. So this week, let?s take a look at the Discovery phase.
Discovery Procedures
Think of this phase as all the things the coaching staff does up to and including the first pre-season team meeting. It is where the overall missions and goals are set, with clear effectiveness criteria established. Certainly the team may set it sights on the championship, but what about the kicking team or linemen? Each part of your organization must have meaningful and measurable performance criteria mapped out in this phase.
Management Objectives
Establishing objectives and criteria requires close scrutiny by management of what really contributes to the overall company mission. Departmental goals must be aligned with company goals. To illustrate with our football analogy: running backs may propose a goal of 5,000 total yards rushing in a season. This may or may not be beneficial to the team goal, whereas an aligned goal might be to achieve an average of +5 yards per run. The latter may be more appropriate for a highly pass-oriented offense.
System Action Plan
In your discovery phase, once your objectives and effectiveness criteria are agreed upon, you can create your action plan. This step is simply the broad roadmap covering the remaining 4 phases of building your management system.
The Discovery Phase generally takes from 2-4 weeks, and represents approximately 12% of the total process.
Planning Procedures Phase
In part two of this series, we will take a look at one of the most critical and also most overlooked phase in building your quality management system ? the Planning Phase.
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