Speed it Up: Release the Ownership of Making Changes

Looking for ways to speed up operations on your project?

Think about Releasing the Ownership of Making Changes.

On many processes, there is a Process Owner and the definition of ownership for that process owner includes:

  • Ownership of Making Changes
  • Ownership of Implementing Changes

Ownership of Making Changes is when the process owner must approve a change before its made.

Ownership of Implementing Changes is when the process owner must approve the change before it’s implemented.

The problem with the Ownership of Making Changes is that it takes longer for changes to happen.

Longest Process

The usual flow is:

Someone (let’s call her the Change Agent) recognizes a need for change

  • The Change Agent preps a request to Make the Change to the Process Owner
  • The Process Owner gives approval to Make the Change
  • The Change Agent Makes the Change, along with all the other stuff she’s got to do
  • The Change Agent preps the final change for approval
  • The Process Owner gives final approval for the Change Implementation

Ok so, what if we pulled out the need for approval to Make the Change? We’d lose a bunch of steps and gain more time.

Shorter Process - Ownership for Making Changes has been released

That flow would look like:

  • The Change Agent recognizes a need for change
  • The Change Agent Makes the Change, along with all the other stuff she’s got to do
  • The Change Agent preps the final change for approval
  • The Process Owner gives final approval for Change Implementation

Now…you can really speed things up by training a group of people to do the work, so that anyone can make the change. If you encourage Change Agents to communicate the recognized need for change transparently, maybe through a collaborative system, then any one of the group can pick up the change and make the change. Assuming that the person who picks up the change did so because they don’t have any other work, they don’t have to shuffle it in priority with other things on their plate. So the work gets done faster.

That flow looks like this:

Shortest Process - Many Trained People Can Do the Work

This idea is why Kanban and Agile teams get things done faster.

The Big Picture of Time Savings by Removing the Ownership of Making Changes

Implementation Guidelines

To really make this work, the Change Agents must be people with the skills and training to make the changes. Ensuring that you have a key skilled group of people provides a measure of confidence to Process Owners and prevents chaos when making change.

The Process Owner must still approve the change, which also prevents chaos. You should also create some type of way to rollback if the change is not approved or a place to make visible and shareable drafts.

Try this on a small process and feel it out. You may find that Removing the Ownership of Making Changes results in large, beneficial gains in productivity.

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