The APQC Blog

How Better Process Improvements Means Better School Districts

What is a Process?

How Efficient and Effective is Your District? When I ask districts that question, often I get the “deer in the headlights” look. As I continue to probe and ask about their processes, I often get responses like, “we don’t have processes” or “I don’t know exactly what you are talking about”. Many districts never think about the work they do every day is a process. With that said, there are some districts that not only talk about their processes but about the efficiencies and cost savings they realize by examining and improving those processes. Let’s explore what this might look like in your district.

Districts have hundreds of processes. Not all of them need to be improved. Districts are best served when they start with the processes that are major pain points for staff. They could be things like curriculum development, purchasing, hiring, just to name a few.

Getting Started
To get started, if you can pick things that are not only causing pain but would allow for quick wins, this often can help garner buy-in from staff to do this work. Many see it as just one more thing to do, and don’t really see the benefit initially. It is important to focus on what really matters and all process work should be aligned to the district’s strategic objectives.

There are many tools and techniques to support a district on this improvement journey. Once learned, they can be applied to any process in the district. Districts are starting to realize the benefits of using these tool and techniques that for-profits organizations have been using for years. 

The Benefits
When a district improves its processes, it reduces inefficiencies and costs. Those savings can be redirected to resources that drive student achievement. Furthermore, a lot of districts embrace process improvement when they need to free up dollars from inefficiencies. As you know, school districts only receive a set amount of funding. Beyond that, it is up to the districts to tap into its general funds or identify costs savings in other ways.

Process improvement shouldn’t just be one and done. To get the maximum benefit from this work and achieve success, the district needs to cultivate a continuous improvement culture. That culture will support the district on its journey to achieve excellence. 

Ready to Start Your Process Improvement Journey?
Join 250 process practitioners and business professionals at APQC's 7th annual Process & Performance Management Conference October 3-4 in Houston, TX.

This year’s conference theme is “Driving Value End-to-End”. Ultimately tying people, technology, and process together into a cohesive whole: Human meets digital, enabled by process.  Learn more and register today!