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Making Things Better

Posted by Jason Maas at Jun 03, 2011 03:30 PM |

Making Things Better

Understanding what people are trying to do is the first step towards helping them accomplish it effectively.

“That's the way we've always done it.”  Sometimes when I hear that saying it inspires confidence in timeless traditions.  Other times it causes me to wonder if anyone knows why it's done that way anymore.  As new staff come to work at the DiscipleMakers headquarters sometimes they are trained to do a task without a full explanation of why it's done that way.  Then as available features and operational needs change the procedures don't always get updated to be done in the most effective ways.

Recently the Systems Dept has been tasked with observing and understanding some of the procedures performed at the DiscipleMakers headquarters.  Our goal is to look at the big picture and suggest and implement improvements.  We're striving to use technology tools to get more done in less time.  The results enable more staff time to be spent directly ministering the good news of Jesus Christ to students!

So what have we found so far?

  • Opportunities to use existing software more effectively:
    • “Oh, I didn't know it could do that task for me!”
    • “I was wondering why we weren't using that field!”
  • Manual data comparisons that can be automated or removed
  • Data re-entry that can be avoided by connecting databases together automatically
  • Numerous tweaks to help reduce errors up front which saves lots of time down the road
  • Labels and wording that can be made more clear so that people aren't confused and don't have to dig into our documentation as often

We've also learned valuable lessons in how to interface with our “customers”.  It's important to hear them out and not jump to conclusions.  It's also vital to enter their world and experience the problems they're facing and trying to solve.  Working apart, the headquarters staff implement non-optimal solutions that can cost us big in the long run.  Working together, we make a great team and can support the whole ministry well!


“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” -- Proverbs 15:22

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