Presentation on theme: "Technical Services Workflow Analysis OLC Technical Services Retreat Mohican Resort & Conference Center April 1, 2008 Morag Boyd and Connie Strait."— Presentation transcript:
Technical Services Workflow Analysis OLC Technical Services Retreat Mohican Resort & Conference Center April 1, 2008 Morag Boyd and Connie Strait
Workflow Analysis: Why and How Morag Boyd The Ohio State University Libraries
Definitions Workflow is the process, progress, or "flow" of work within a system and the rate at which that happens Workflow analysis refers to observing how this process takes place. The analysis also involves evaluating the process and improving it for efficiency and effectiveness.
What is is not It is all about the PROCESS, it is NOT: Individual performance evaluation Satisfaction measurement
What are we trying to study Goal achievement Resource usage All necessary tasks are being performed No unnecessary tasks are being performed Tasks are being performed effectively and efficiently Causes of known problems Opportunities to respond to changes
Efficiency “measured by a comparison of production with cost” Merriam-Webster Rate of work Time to shelf Minimizing repeated handling of materials Resources needed to do the work Correctly matching skills and tasks Utilization of software to maximum benefit
Effectiveness “producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect” Merriam-Webster Quality of work Error rates Following appropriate rules and policy Choice of work Aligning work with library priorities Meeting short and long term needs
Planning a Study Invest in planning Clarify goals and expectations Be sure to include all staff Try to reassure that purpose is not to target staff Define your scope and stick to it Informal or formal study? Internal or external?
Steps in a Study Clarify the environment you work in Define the goals of the department Examine existing data Gather new data Document existing workflow Identify potential changes Implement Repeat
Environmental Factors Staff changes More electronic, still have print Different library user needs and expectation Different internal library needs and expectations New technology or software
Data and Sources Need a variety of data from multiple sources. Draw your conclusions from the totality of the data Quantitative: Things that you count Qualitative: Things that you observe Internal External
Data You Probably Have Statistics on orders, cataloging, processing, catalog maintenance, etc. Manually collected Generated from ILS, OCLC, vendors, as appropriate Again, multiple sources can be helpful Materials budget and its breakdown Number of FTE staff Job descriptions
Gather New Data Interviews Time and task logging Cost study, particularly if considering outsourcing Investigate other options External data
External Data Literature Review Select and investigate comparator libraries Comparable Aspiration Different Site visits to other libraries Conversations with other libraries about their workflows
Map Existing Workflows Different people need information in different ways Diagramming can make it very clear how straightforward your processes are (or not) Detailed, but not exhaustive Narrative can help explain the workflow An actual map of the flow of material Will help analyze speed, space or repeated physical handling type problems
Graves & Arthur, 2006
Dragon & Barricella, 2006: 11
Backlogs Identify any backlogs Remember the invisible backlogs too Characteristics of backlog Size is secondary to nature
Evaluation Step back and look at your workflow Where is your diagram confusing? Where are the bottlenecks? What ideas did staff have? What did you learn about other services? What was surprising? What did you already know?
Characteristics of Optimal Workflow Workflow is built for the mainstream, not the exceptions Each function handles material once Rush materials can be processed in specified time period Overall time to shelf meets library needs Quality of work meets needs Job descriptions and time allocation represent all responsibilities of the unit No duplication of data or effort
Outcomes Identify strengths and troublespots Tasks not done efficiently and effectively Tasks that could be dropped Tasks that are not getting done Solutions to these problems Recommendation: Written report
Implementation Pick your battles Make those quick and easy fixes Small things can have big impacts Reallocate existing resources (staff, space, software, services, etc.) Allocate new resources Work with others towards external change
It’s Not Over Yet! Iterative Process: Implement new workflow Assess new workflow Important to collect comparable data in initial and post-adjustment study Identify any continuing or new workflow problems Repeat as needed
Technical Services Workflow Analysis : a local saga Connie Strait Greene County Public Library
Internal vs. External A real life story at GCPL
Internal Workflow Analysis Short history Staff changes New location Backlog
Internal What problems? What routines? What to do? Talk to your people. Visit your friends. Count and observe. Eliminate the unnecessary - tasks, labels, paper copies, etc.
Prior to making changes Get buy-in Plan the implementation Do it Go back and assess.
External Workflow Analysis Why do it?
If your boss suggests it… This is a good place to start. 1. Make the phone call. 2. Tell your staff and all other departments. No vacation please. 3. Allow plenty of TIME. 4. Buy food. 5. After the interview sessions, relax.
Suggestions from consultants Remember that they are suggestions and not decision. Your team makes the decisions. Those that can be implemented right away, should be. If money is a problem, talk to the purse string holders. Use your ILS to the max, given your local constraints!
Each day is a new day! You can and should assess the new routines every few months in your Technical Services department. Those items on the “wish list” should also be addressed at the same time.
THANK YOU! Morag Boyd Special Collections Metadata Librarian The Ohio State University Libraries Connie Strait Head of Technical Services Greene County Public Library Ext 6301