Process Improvement Workstream with Cim v1.1

In previous articles on CorasWorks Idea Management (Cim) I’ve talked about the full solution and the business approaches to using Cim to drive your innovation process.  In this article, I’ll look at how you would use Cim for a specific business scenario.  It is a 3-phase, end-to-end workstream for process improvements that moves ideas from capture through review and approval and into the implementation phase. 

The Scenario

Imagine that an organizational has three main process areas that they are driving forward: Information Worker Productivity, Sales Processes, and Manufacturing. This Process Improvement Workstream implements a 3-phase process that cuts across the SharePoint landscape and drives an end-to-end process supporting all three.   

Below is a graphic of the 3-phase workstream.  It starts with the Process Improvement Community (a Standing Idea Community) in the Idea Portal.  This is where you capture ideas and collaborate.  You then have a Review and Approval Management Site.  This is where you work through the ideas to approval and add to a portfolio.  Then, you have three different implementation teams.  The approved ideas are pushed into these sites for implementation. 


From an implementation standpoint in this scenario, you would be using the off-the-shelf modules of Cim for the Community and Management phases along with native SharePoint team sites for the implementation phase.  We also leverage Windows Workflow Foundation to kick off notifications based upon rules at each phase of the process.  In the following sections, I’ll walk you through the deployment for each phase.

Process Improvement Community: Capture and Collaborate

In the Idea Portal you would deploy a Cim Community module that is tailored for Process Improvement ideas.  The tailoring might include a custom tagsonomy and custom fields for contributors.  The general community of users go here, contribute ideas and tag them.  Then, the community rates, comments, attaches documents. Ideas get rated based upon their Star Power.

Below is a screenshot of an idea that has been contributed.



Process Management Site: Screen, Review, Approve, Manage Downstream

This site plays a pivotal role in the process – interacting upstream and downstream and doing their work in the middle.  You start with the deployment of the Cim Portfolio Management site.  From here, this smaller team works with ideas from the upstream community.  In the middle they play their role: screening the ideas, selecting them for review, finishing off the ideas to propose them as projects, and voting and approving them.  Then, they are set to push the approved projects to downstream teams for implementation which they then track as part of their portfolio.  

In the screenshot below, a manager has selected an approved idea and is pushing it into downstream team sites.  Note that they are only filling in a few fields in the form.  As part of any CorasWorks workstream, the Action uses information from the existing approved idea along with the few fields they fill out to complete the necessary downstream information.  You’ll see the complete result in the team site below.  They do this work from their Management site, without having to go anywhere else.



Downsteam Implementation: Work Team Sites

Now, it is time to implement.  In this scenario, we have three implementation teams for process ideas.  We have set up these work sites using standard native SharePoint team sites.  This is where the teams work on incoming approved process improvements.  The approved ideas appear in their team sites as tasks.  They manage their own work team.  Each team is able to organize their content and internal work as they please.

Below is a screenshot of how the incoming items look to users.  They have everything they need to implement the process idea.  In addition, they have track-back URL’s to the approved project in the Management site and further upstream to the original idea in the Process Improvement community.  While working, Windows Workflow Foundation is used to automate notifications based upon the information that has flowed downstream.

implementation task



This Process Improvement Workstream provides you with an end-to-end solution.  You implement it using Cim off-the-shelf, with a bit of WWF for notifications, and some team sites.  It is a great way to start, but, it is just the beginning.  You can beef up the process with more robust downstream modules such as the Project and Program sites from CorasWorks PPM.  You can extend the Management site to incorporate additional supporting processes (eddies if you will in the workstream metaphor) such as supporting sites for specialized Review Teams to flesh out the ideas before approval.  You can also have different communities to segment the ideation phase say by division or purpose.  And, of course you can follow the same workstream approach to implement other workstreams for different business scenarios.

An important aspect when designing workstreams such as this is that they do indeed cut across a SharePoint landscape.  You have different modules in different phases in different departments usually implemented as different Site Collections and even Web Applications.  CorasWorks connects across all of these boundaries to enable you to have a fully integrated, end-to-end process where people can work from wherever they work.  In addition, as described above CorasWorks solutions natively integrate with any other sites in SharePoint and with Windows Workflow Foundation to drive notifications and updates.

This particular workstream is pre-packaged for Cim users and can be provided as part of your Cim Jump Start.  Look for more business scenario snapshots like this in the future…


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