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Good afternoon –  

In last week’s update, we announced that the Operational Excellence team plans to explore two new areas in Academic Year 2019 – 2020: Data Access and Use and Registrar Process Improvement. We’ve been asked how our team determines which projects to prioritize. The short answer is that we use a standardized intake and priority process, which I elaborate on below. 

We begin by identifying a problem or need. Potential sources include the listening tour, academic units, functional units, broader campus, and UNC-Chapel Hill leadership. Next, we narrow the list based on impact and feasibility. Questions we ask to narrow this down include: 

  • Who will be impacted by addressing the need? 
  • Has the functional area recently been involved in another initiative? 

Next, we establish the scope and support. This including gaining the support of the school or unit’s leadership, establishing a business case, and clearly defining the problem statement. Questions we discuss with the functional area include: 

  • Describe the operational challenge(s) you’re facing? 
  • What type of improvement would you expect if the need is addressed (cost, time, satisfaction, etc.)?  
  • Are resources available to focus on the initiative? 

We then determine which Operational Excellence service (e.g. design team, training, facilitation, or advisory) fits best in the scenario and sequence the project within the portfolio. Questions we consider include: 

  • What is the level of complexity? 
  • When should this work be completed? 

After that, we continue to refine the problem scope, share the direction with the steering committee and leadership, and begin the design process to gather input on the problem and potential solutions from a wide variety of stakeholders.  

In the coming weeks, you’ll be hearing more about these two new initiatives as we refine them and updates on initiatives currently underway.  

As always, please feel free to share this email with your colleagues. You can also visit our website to learn more about Operational Excellence, read my previous updates, and submit feedback. If you have any questions, please reach out to me at I read every email.  


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