band or “swim lane” for each participant, using standard flow-charting symbols for actions.) Exhibit 2 on page 16 shows a
simple RFI process using this tool.
KEEP IT GOING
Commit to a culture of continuous improvement. Welcome
feedback about the processes you have deployed, and about
new opportunities for improvement. Then, update your best
practices to reflect the new information.
Step 2: Document
Hedley has a clear-cut criterion for differentiating “systems”
(best practices) that work from those that don’t: Best practices that only exist in peoples’ heads don’t work! The best
practices that work are documented and measured.
During the development process described in Step 1, you
will probably have created some form of documentation –
process maps, cross-functional flowcharts, lists of “avoid by”
steps, etc. Now, the goal of the documentation phase is to
record your best practices in a consistent, usable, accessible format so that you can deploy them to your team.
Suggested items to include in your best practice documentation are:
• Goals, results, or outcomes that your company
expects from the process: For example, receive
timely payment for all extra work, and process all
submittals such that there are no submittal-related
Express results in measurable form, and structure
the processes to support measurement. Using the
change order and submittal examples, you should
discover whether your company had any late submittals and, if so, their impact on the schedule.
You will also need to determine whether your
company performed any out-of-scope work that
it did not receive payment for.
• Guidelines: This might mean that no extra work
will proceed without written authorization from a
designated owner (or GC) representative, and that
submittal dates shall be linked to the schedule and
• Checklists: These might include contract clauses
to review and negotiate before signing any contract,
and steps for logging and tracking submittals.
• Responsibility: Clearly define who (PM, superintendent, VP Operations, etc.) is responsible for
each action or step. Your cross-functional flowcharts
will help define and document responsibilities.
• Measurement: This includes the metrics you will
use to measure execution, collection, recording,
review, and timing.
Step 3: Deploy
Successful deployment of best practices is about top-down
commitment to challenging and changing the existing culture of your company. Companies that succeed stand to gain
The American Productivity & Quality Center has discovered
that, “The three main barriers to adoption of a best practice
are a lack of knowledge about current best practices, a lack
of motivation to make changes involved in their adoption,
and a lack of knowledge and skills required to do so.”
All the defined and documented best practices in the world
will not help if your employees aren’t trained and motivated,
or if the best practice manual sits unused on a shelf. Let’s look
at deployment strategies that address these three barriers.
PROBLEM: LACK OF KNOWLEDGE
SOLUTION: PUBLISH & PUBLICIZE
Ensure that the best practices you have developed and documented are published in a format that is both accessible
and known to all your employees. Try to avoid the traditional approach of collecting best practices in a printed “Policies
and Procedures” manual for distribution to employees.
The advent of Intranet technologies makes it possible to
electronically publish and access policies and procedures
(and other company documents). Intranet publishing sim-plifies access for employees.
These technologies also make it much easier to distribute
updates as they evolve over time, and to measure the use
of policies and procedures by tracking who has accessed
the documents and when.
PROBLEM: LACK OF MOTIVATION
SOLUTION: LEAD & MOTIVATE
Management up and down the line must show its commitment to the best practices and communicate their level of
importance to the company. Let’s return to the change order
continued on page 20