Quality at COE:
"We know the product COE provided will help
us to become more proficient and efficient in
our business process. We would definitely hire
them again. We felt we could call them at any
time to ask questions, even after the period
of performance ended. We truly value their
commitment to customer service."
~ Judy Hotchkiss, Chief/Security
Program Manager, USMS, OSP,
Tactical Operations Division
Organizational Effectiveness and Business Process Mapping
ORGANIZATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS AND BUSINESS PROCESS MAPPING | U.S. MARSHALS SERVICE
The USMS recognized a need to improve customer satisfaction, enable collaboration across departments, and carry out its mission more effectively. The USMS Office of Security Programs (OSP) identified three tools to achieve the objectives:
- Identify and evaluate core business processes;
- Evaluate the organization's structure and recommend adjustments according to the findings; and
- Integrate human and technology systems to improve the efficiency of the organization.
OSP was a relatively new organization within the USMS and struggled with the time it took to move security clearance applications through the adjudication process. The security clearance case load had doubled just as the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) set new standards for the timely processing of clearance applications. Despite the increased volume and pressure, OSP was not given any additional resources. If it was going to meet expectations, it would have to be through increasing efficiency and effectiveness as there was no more manpower to bring to bear.
Additionally, the "as is" state of the organization's business processes was not well understood by leadership as the documented processes did not match the processes being used by employees. OSP wanted a neutral third party to help them review their structure, assess office operations, and help develop a strategic plan; all in the service of meeting the IRTPA's standard of processing clearances in 20 days. At the beginning of the project, OSP's average clearance processing time was 100+ days.
Using COE's proprietary Organizational Effectiveness (OE) Assessment as a framework for understanding OSP's "as is" state, we provided a top-down, holistic organizational effectiveness assessment of OSP. This COE assessment was comprised of data collection for core business processes and unit structures, analyzing existing systems for effectiveness, and interviews with internal and external stakeholders.
By taking a close look at the "as is" business processes and documenting them visually and verbally, COE revealed multiple opportunities for streamlining, consolidating, and bringing greater efficiency to daily operations.
Most importantly, COE's analysis identified leading indicators that would enable OSP to identify lags in processing and address them proactively. Working together with its client, COE developed a final set of recommendations for OSP to implement.
With COE's help, OSP shifted focus away from the lagging indicators - how long it took to complete adjudication of a clearance application - to identifying problematic applications early on and managing them well before they created a bottleneck in operations. Average processing time for a security clearance application dropped from more than 100 days down to the mandated 20 days and eliminated OSP's backlog.
In the long term, COE findings and recommendations helped OSP move forward with adaptive strategies to optimize productivity. For example, by separating the non-routine clearance applications from the routine applications, office efforts could scale to shifting priorities.
In short, the partnership between COE and OSP resulted in greater customer satisfaction, operational success without an increase in budget, and the improved morale that comes when employees are confident that no matter the challenge, they have the tools they need to succeed.