As leaders consider how to make their businesses stronger, answers to important questions and decision points are not always obvious. A wide range of internal and external factors can contribute to this cloudiness and diminish leaders’ trust that they’re charting the best paths. Workplan Analysis is an effective tool for bringing greater clarity and confidence to these answers and decisions by adding data-backed insights and illuminating potential outcomes.
Applications of Workplan Analysis
Common applications of Workplan Analysis include measuring staff workloads, assessing team performance, and examining worker assignments to discover critical factors and points for improvement and to weigh alternative courses of action. Its flexibility extends well beyond these use cases, however, to numerous business challenges. Undertaking a Workplan Analysis initiative is often preceded by a variety of questions and concerns from leaders about their workforce or business operations, including:
- Do we have the right number of people and the right skill-sets for what we need to do?
- Why are we consistently not producing to capacity and missing deadlines?
- What internal controls do we need to change or add to reduce the variations we’re seeing?
- Are all of our team members focused on the right tasks and arranged in the right ways?
- How will we need to change our processes to support our growth expectations for next year?
Virtually any type of organization across virtually every industry can gain value from Workplan Analysis. Each analysis focuses on one department (finance, human resources, shipping, etc.) one team at a time, but multiple independent Workplan Analyses across different teams can be conducted concurrently. And while each Workplan Analysis is performed independently, it can sometimes be instructive to combine different teams’ or departments’ process documentation outputs to deliver wider insights.
In smaller organizations, departments or teams often consist of a single person or a small number of people who are essentially “handling everything.” But as an organization grows in complexity and size, these individuals or small groups (and the leaders responsible for them) need guidance on how to adjust so that they do not become overwhelmed, inefficient, or more vulnerable to risks. Workplan Analysis adds context and objectivity to this guidance and allows for scalability as organizations continue to expand.
The Workplan Analysis Process
Workplan Analysis is best led by an objective facilitator who has deep experience in applying the tool and who has full understanding of the concerns, questions, and decisions that need to be weighed. The process itself is then comprised of three primary steps: data collection, data analysis and visualization, and findings review –
- Data Collection – Workplan Analysis data is collected via interviews, surveys, observations, or a combination of methods. Information is gathered on items such as job tasks, task durations, tenure, internal controls, skill-sets, and more, depending on what is being assessed.
- Data Analysis – Collected data is then compiled, normalized, and refined to enable views from multiple perspectives. Metrics are calculated and visualized to indicate things such as the tasks that are demanding the most time, variations in the time it takes to complete key steps, and whether different variables (e.g. tenure, certifications held) may be affecting outputs.
- Findings Review – Here, easy-to-interpret data visualizations and supporting information gives leaders clarity on the questions or issues being examined. These outputs also generate, and enable the assessment of, additional “what-if” questions, such as “what would be the result of us adding another person here” or “should we invest in equipment that would automate 20% of these tasks?”
For smaller departments and teams, Workplan Analysis can be completed in as few as 2-3 weeks. The process is the same for larger groups, but more time will likely be needed for data collection and analysis. Once complete, leaders are better equipped to make decisions and implement actions that will drive improvement. With the baseline measures and insights from the Workplan Analysis in place, the process can deliver further value in the future by repeating it at different points for comparison.
Making Your Staff and Business Stronger
Leaders wrestle with an ever-changing array of challenges and concerns in determining how to improve their organizations. Workplan Analysis can significantly simplify and strengthen the decisions and direction that will impact their teams’ ability to tackle these challenges and concerns with specific, clear, and objective information.
Interested in this effective analysis for your organization? Connect with a vcfo expert who can get you started.