Success: California State University – Chico


by George Wellman

CSU Chico embraced the process mapping model developed for CSU by Orion Development Group to analyze the campus Information Technology procurement process. This is the story of the Chico effort.

In fall 1999, a self-directed team of individuals involved in various aspects of technology procurement activities realized that Chico ‘s procurement process -a process that had been in place for over 15 years -was in need of change. Campus customers had been struggling with the process; there were time delays, paper workflow was awkward, and inclusive information often was not provided.

Team objectives included applying the recently learned process mapping methodology (PMM) to the technology procurement process with the intent of reaping immediate process improvements. The team followed the PMM model from start to finish. Engaging the process owner (Beverly Taylor, assistant to the vice provost) in the team effort was the first and most important step. Once that was accomplished, the team discussed and agreed upon expectations, identified desired outcomes, chose measures of success, set decision parameters and identified decision boundaries. A schedule was established and a target completion date chosen.

The team mapped the “As Is” process from the Systems Analysis and Awareness stage, through the Top Down Flowchart to the Handoff Map. This was followed by a Gap Analysis and a Gap Ranking. The Gap Ranking resulted in recommendations to the process owner for implementation.

A final report was published and given to process owner, Beverly Taylor, who is evaluating the results for full implementation. The process map was presented to the Chico CMS Steering Committee in late March. The “As Is “process map included 23 steps and 17 lane crossings. The “Should Be” map reduced this to 15 steps and 11 lane changes. This reduction in the number of steps will achieve an overall 35 percent improvement in the complete IT procurement process!

The CMS Steering Committee was impressed with the results that will be attained with full implementation. Fred Ryan, vice provost for information resources at CSU Chico, said, “The effort put into this mapping project will result in a ten-fold return in improved service to the campus community.” This pilot effort will serve as a model for future CMS-related process mapping.

I wish to express my sincere appreciation for the energy, self-direction, and overall outstanding effort this team put forth in delivering to CSU Chico a successful process mapping project. This effort will be a model for continuous process improvement, especially as we embark on CMS (PeopleSoft) readiness activities.

Glossary of Terms

“As Is” Process – Processes as they are performed, not as they should be or will be performed.
Gap Analysis – Review of the differences (gaps) between the “As Is” and customer requirements and “Should Be” or “Could Be” process map.
Gap Ranking – The impact of the gaps on the processes and customers reflecting a priority/importance rating.
Handoff Map – A tool that distinguishes the suppliers and inputs as well as the customers and outputs of the transformation activities (steps where “hand-off ” occurs))of a process.
Lane Crossings – In a process map, where handoffs of a task occur from one function area/department to another across swim lanes. Each function area/department of a process has its own “swim lane “(a horizontal lane on the map with a line separating each lane).
Process Observer – An individual who is typically not involved in the process and can provide objectivity to the team.
Process Owner – Typically a senior manager responsible for the performance of the process and/or system who has budget and decision-making authority over the process.
“Should Be” Map – A flowchart of a process as it should be performed, reflecting a decrease in the number of steps and swim lanes from the “As Is” map without significant re-engineering of the process.
Systems Analysis and Awareness – A tool used to help differentiate and determine the macro system (a series of micro-systems managed by a person or group)and micro-systems (a series of related processes).
Top Down Flowchart – A tool that displays the key steps and their related sub-steps of a process within a system without showing backward movement of the process.