60 Departments, Offices To Be Reviewed By Delta

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

Boston College will begin a series of self-study management reviews of some 60 departments and offices this fall as part of a Project Delta initiative to modernize operations and reduce costs across the University.

Under the supervision of trained facilitators, teams chosen from each department, office or administrative unit will define their department's current activities and services, assess the cost of each activity, and generate ideas to eliminate work or redesign the activities to dramatically reduce their cost, said Delta Project Manager James Kreinbring. The Delta Executive Team will review all ideas and send approved cost-reduction ideas to the appropriate unit managers for implementation.

The review process, which will take 24 to 30 months to complete, will begin shortly with pilot projects in the Electronics Workshop, and the groundskeeping and garage divisions of Buildings and Grounds.

Delta representatives said the management review offers one of the most direct ways for administrators and staff to play a role in helping BC realize Delta's goals.

"Most people know their office or department, and they know what they can do better," Kreinbring said. "However, there is seldom a forum to deal with these issues, or to follow up on them. This approach offers that forum, and in a very important context. It's based on the belief that the impetus for change need not come from outside an organization; the people within that organization can enact the change themselves."

The management review utilizes a method called Activity Value Analysis developed by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., which has provided pro bono training to Delta team leaders B&G Director Thomas Devine, Dining Service Director Patricia Bando, Information Technology Office Director William Fleming and Small Business Development Center Director John McKiernan. The four will oversee the pilot projects and help prepare others to lead future management reviews.

AVA encourages participants to consider their offices' or departments' missions, the activities performed in support of those missions, and the outcomes of each activity, Devine said. The participants are then asked to reshape their offices in such a way as to produce savings and efficiency.

"Instead of an administrator coming in and saying, 'Okay, this is what you're going to cut,' it's the employees who take the lead," Devine explained. "They're asked, 'Within this scenario, how would you design your office from scratch? What activities would you perform? What activities could be transferred to another unit? What activities could be stopped altogether?' It's an exercise that calls for some real creativity."

One key aspect of the management review, Delta representatives said, is that it involves developing a database to incorporate costs into each unit's services and functions.

"This is a very effective way to break down the different aspects of an office and department, and see how they relate to one another, especially in terms of cost," Kreinbring said. "You have a solid framework in which to redesign the way your office or department might operate."

"It's unique for any business, and the people in it, to determine how it will change and develop instead of merely having it determined for them," Bando said. "The management review is a chance to put together a good, sensible program that will guide a department or office, like Delta itself will guide BC."

Return to Sept. 18 menu

Return to Chronicle home page