Process Excellence

Process Excellence Case Studies

Process Excellence Case Studies

See How Process Excellence clients have addressed challenges and opportunities to impact their clients across SoM

July 2020 | Stanford Administrative Champions: Success Partners Program

SUMMARY: The Success Partners Program, created by the Stanford Administrative Champions (SAC), evolved from an idea of building a community for admins, so that they had the support needed to be successful not only in their current roles, but also in their careers at Stanford. Similar to other "buddy programs" seen in many departments, the program pairs new administrative support staff with tenured administrative support staff and aids in the on-boarding process by orienting staff into their new role.  More 

CHALLENGE/OPPORTUNITY: As a process excellence team comprised mainly of administrative support staff, we have discovered that a large portion of the institutional knowledge critical to being successful in an administrative support staff role takes time to learn and master. Although Stanford offers a robust amount of training and mentoring programs for Stanford Employees, those same programs lack for administrative associates. We often struggle with job growth, finding the resources and learning the culture in Academia. We hope that this program solves these issues, and ensures the admins success at Stanford.

PROJECT/ACTION: Working in partnership with the School of Medicine Human Resources Group, we provide new administrative support staff with access to resources, tools, tips & tricks of the trade, professional development and a wiki page devoted to all things admin that we hope to launch mid-August. Our program is a 6-month commitment for both parties and during that time the new administrative support staff will be introduced to other administrative support staff, have monthly check-ins with their Success Partner, and have lunch and coffee dates to make them feel welcomed in the Stanford community. They also have an opportunity to join the Stanford Administrative Champions team if their schedule permits. 

IMPACT: We currently have an administrative associate and an executive administrator enrolled in the program that are being mentored by two of the members of the Stanford Administrative Champions, Jackie Yanez and Dee Sayles. We have already received positive feedback from the new staff members letting us know that the resources and connections they have made through the Success Partners Program have already made learning what they need to know for their jobs much easier. We have also received positive feedback from a DFA thanking us for creating a program like this and suggesting that there should be a version of it for the other job families as well.

We hope that upon the successful completion of our pilot program, the Success Partners Program will become an integral part of the onboarding process for new administrative support staff at Stanford University. If you'd like to learn more about the Stanford Administrative Champions and their Success Partners Program, you can send them an email at



June 2019 | cFTE Calculation Standardization

SUMMARY: A cross functional team of division managers form the Department of Medicine and finance team members from the Department of Psychiatry came together to find a new way to track clinical full-time equivalents (cFTE) across the School of Medicine.

CHALLENGE/OPPORTUNITY: The current process used to track cFTE for faculty is crucial to the funds flow process for the school, but typically requires a significant amount of time to carry out. Even with this large time investment, revenue for clinical overhead and benefits are not recovered because of workflow variation at the Division level.

PROJECT / ACTION: The team decided to hold a Launch to tackle this problem. After mapping the current state, they identified 42 pain points across 4 major themes currently seen within the process. With these themes in hand, the team came up with 54 ideas to solve the problem. These ideas centered around better communication among stakeholders, automation, data reconciliation, and a new cFTE application.

IMPACT: Coming soon! More 

In early June, four division managers from the Department of Medicine and three members of the finance team from the Department of Psychiatry came together to solve a cumbersome process of tracking clinical full-time equivalents (cFTE) across the School of Medicine.  Dalia Vanderzee, project manager for the Department of Medicine and team lead explains, documenting accurate clinical efforts in labor schedule and in the cFTE Adjustment Application tool is critical in receiving faculty overhead and benefits from Stanford Hospital.  In order to facilitate the Funds Flow process, the School created a tool to track cFTE for all faculty.  This tool requires up to date information of how much given time faculty is providing direct patient care versus other clinical activities.  Updating this data can take a minimum of four hours due to multiple salary sources.  By means of this, revenue for clinical overhead and benefits are not recovered due to different workflows at the Division level.

              At the current state, the team identified five high level process steps, which added to the twenty-four additional steps in variation between the four divisions and department.  Forty-two pain points in the current state process signified four major themes: lack of understanding of the tracking process, the inability to reconcile, loss of overhead revenue due to no upward adjustment nor retro adjustments, and the manual data entry taking too much time.  From mapping out this process, the cFTE team generated fifty-four ideas for improvement.  Some of which included: better communication of the process between key partners such as IRT, the concept of automation which requires coordination with labor scheduling, the idea of reconciliation, data to be validated on a more frequent basis, and finally the idea of evolving the cFTE application.

              Situated at the end of their two-and-a-half-day launch, the cFTE team reported-out to ten DFAs, division managers and other SoM stakeholders including: Cathy Garzio, Deepa Basava, Dori Boyles, Indy Singh, Mike Propst, Rachel Cowan, Shahla Haider, Jason Irwin, Yun-Ting Yeh, Stephanie Edelman, Jon Davies, and Archna Mehta.  The report-out was filled with exciting and animated discussion between the DFAs and the launching team reviewing the way the tool worked and ways to consider other improvements.   

              Approaching their 30-day report-out, the team has committed to create best practices and deadlines to align with the labor schedule, data proof, and create a cFTE informational sheet.  During the key partners meeting, Jon Davies, Director of Business Analytics, joined to give his verbal commitment to support this team and make some immediate changes to better the Adjustment Application tool.  Stay tuned for the cFTEs report-out along with the continuous discussions among other DFAs to hear the progression of this meaningful initiative.  Fantastic job, cFTE launched team!  Looking forward to see the impact you make among the School. 


June 2019 | SRWC Teams Huddle

SUMMARY: The IRT Webservices team was able to move into their new space in Redwood City and set up a highly effective team huddle around their vizboard in record time! With such a quick transition they were able to have a successful move and ensure they were continuing to deliver value to their customers.

CHALLENGE/OPPORTUNITY: With the amount of change that comes with a changing physical environment, IRT Webservices needed to ensure that they were able to handle their current workload and ensure everyone was on the same page. Being able to prioritize their work and support customers and team members lied at the heart of what this team wanted to do.

PROJECT / ACTION: The team built a new VizBoard for their new space and implemented a 30 minute huddle around the board within 3 days of moving. This huddle provided a way for team members to status projects, support one another, and prioritize their work.

IMPACT: This huddle and VizBoard was highly effective at making sure everyone was well supported and that the team’s actions had intent and purpose towards reaching their goals. Team members were quickly able to jump into this new huddle to create a great experience for everyone! More 

It was the third day, the third floor of Discovery Hall moved into their new Redwood City space, and the IRT Webservices team was up and running with their thirty-minute huddle around their visual board.  The Process Excellence team was so impressed with how quickly the team put together their functioning board to help visualize tasks necessary to complete their daily priorities and ongoing projects, focusing on areas of improvement through their metrics.  With space on their board for backlog, ongoing projects, and deadlines; the team was able to use their huddle to check on priorities for the week and the remaining months until fiscal year end.  It was crucial to meet, Peter Chen, Webservices Manager explained, as many were off to vacation.  It was evident that staying on track and being able to reprioritize was critical to work cohesively and remove obstacles that can get in the way of providing value to their customers. 

Director, Mark Trenchard, joined the huddle and was able to provide real time support and organizational updates.  Inviting management to huddles helps remove barriers, and to show progress on larger issues.  From there, the team was able to status the execution of their priorities for the week, creating intent and purpose.  Getting back to huddling quickly after the big move to Redwood City, also provided opportunity for team members to ask and offer help to keep projects on track to meet deadline.    

What we saw was palpable- a team lead ensuring everyone was in alignment and that expectations and tasks are set out in clear terms to continue and increase the productivity of the team.   It was easy to visually see the status of tasks based on green and red symbols that denote whether the team was on track or not.  Additionally, the flow of the huddle was exceptionally natural and smooth.  Every team member spoke to their objectives, creating clear and succinct movement. 

Along with the Webservices team, we want to give a huge shout-out to the OAA FAA document and training group, Budget and Financial Planning group, and the Controllers group for getting their viz boards up and huddling within the first two weeks of their move.  If you need help or have any questions about how to resume huddling, please reach out to the Process Excellence group.  Way to go teams!