You have implemented programmatic based business intelligence and your team created a lot of program comments regarding the future of programs. What next? How will these comments be used? Who will see them? What do we do next? All great questions to ask when the program commenting work is complete!
I will take a few minutes to describe a process that we call sluicing and how it can be beneficial to your organization to spend some time with the sluice.
The sluice emanated from my time in the mining industry where a device called a sluice box is used to separate fine gold from other material run through a sluice box. In a similar move, you can take program comments and ideas and run them through the sluice which, for all intent and purpose, is a filter. The sluicing process is aimed at helping you determine where your "gold" is by filtering out the other comments and ideas that might not be viable for your organization.
The first filter is that of mandate and reliance on your organization to provide a particular service or program in the first place. This may sound redundant to your basic program attribute analysis, for those that have utilized this part of our methodology, but this is an important step. If you are required to continue to provide a service, then this filter might spit this program idea out as not viable. These non-viable ideas are called tailings. If you do have room for a different option, then it remains in the sluice box.
The second filter is that of organizational impact. Will following the recommended program comment idea be harmful to your organization. This analysis can take many forms. One of the most important is whether or not ceasing to provide a particular program or service in the way that it is being done currently will violate any collective bargaining or other agreements. Consider also with this filter if a proposed program change will be viewed and perceived as favorable or unfavorable by the organization. Just because there may be some resistant to change does not automatically cause an idea to be expelled with the other tailing material. Determine how aggressively you wish to pursue a program idea that may be unpopular. If you do wish to pursue it, move on to the next filter. The idea remains in the sluice box.
The third filter is alignment with organizational strategies, objectives and values. See if the proposed program comment is in alignment with these three tenets. If it is, then keep it in the sluice for further filtration.
The next filter is the political filter. Would following through with the proposed program comment be acceptable to your elected officials and your public? If so, then you have some gold. This "gold" should then be examined for its ability to provide your organization with a return on your investment. In other words, would pursuit of an alternative service delivery idea provide you with the intended savings. If a program is to be eliminated or stopped, evaluate whether or not there would be unintended costs or consequences that could cost your organization more down the road.
I hope that you will use the sluice and produce some gold for your organization. If you want to learn more, please contact us!