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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

21 Jun '13

Building efficient systems

Posted by T.J. Addington in systems
Every ministry is made up of systems for the various things that they are engaged in. Each of those systems has the potential to be efficient and scaleable or, inefficient and unscaleable. When they are efficient you save time, money and frustration but when they are inefficient they cost you more time, money and frustration. Thus it makes sense to pay close attention to the systems we use.

One of the issues to remember about systems is that often they were put in place in a much earlier day when the issues were different than they are today. To say nothing of technological changes. Often our systems represent a different day that had different concerns which is why regular evaluation of our systems is so important.

How does one evaluate their systems? It can be done in several steps. Step one is to identify each of the major phases in the process under consideration. For instance, I travel a great deal and my air travel can be seen in 5 distinct phases: ticket purchase, check in, security, boarding process and deplaning.

Once you have the major phases it is helpful to walk through every step within each of the phases. Identifying every step brings to light a number of issues: clarity of what you are doing; steps that are not needed; steps that should be different; steps that should take place at a different time in the process and places where there may be better cooperation between parties. 

After identifying each step, give every step a color: Red, green or yellow. Red means that we are not doing that step well at all, yellow that we could do it better and green means there are no issues. Looking at the process visually gives one a good picture of  where there are issues. 

The final step is to ask what we should do differently in order to be more efficient. Certainly the yellow and red steps need to be looked at carefully. Often in this process you will find places where the system is broken or needs to be modified. Remember the goal is to save time, money and frustration and to develop scaleable systems.