MSM 6645 Individual Final Project
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MSM 6645 Individual Final Project
The final case is an individual project; you will develop a proposal to improve a process in your current organization or a previous organization. We talk about work examples as they apply continuous improvement and Baldrige from your experience throughout this course; your final project is an application of what we learn in this course and applied to a work situation based on your experience in a previous or past organization. Yes, this is probably unlike anything you have previously developed in a graduate course because it is a direct application that uses information from this class to help you improve a work situation through your leadership. The goal of this project is to create a proposal that you should be able to submit to your organizational leadership. In this process, you are writing a story or a case for continuous improvement.
You will identify a problem by the end of week three (and post this in the designated area of the discussion board) that requires a TQM/CI process improvement initiative through an organization with which you are/were associated. Remember: THIS IS A PROPOSAL – you will not be providing results and outcomes; instead, you are making a proposal that will include ways to measures for these results. I always direct students to choose a topic that is either good for your organization or good for your career. This is not busy work. Instead, this is meant to be a substantive piece that can be developed for work and can be used to help you enhance your opportunities for success; this proposal, when done correctly, belongs on a resume as a significant accomplishment.
Part 1 – Your topic
TOPIC PROPOSAL INSTRUCTIONS:
You should read all the instructions for the final paper first (this document). Your initial proposal for week 3 is much easier! Think about a process improvement of any type that would be beneficial in your organization and explain it in three or four sentences. I will respond, usually it is to ask for more information or to say go ahead and submit this for final approval. I am happy to discuss your idea on the phone if it helps, as many times as you need.
For final approval, post a paragraph in the assigned discussion board with your topic, provide a little background for informational purposes; explain which diagnostic model you are going to use as well as what process you want to improve (this is also problem-solving but with continuous improvement you will always be making things more efficient and more effective). Include a reference with your proposal in APA formatting. Explain why the model is appropriate; provide at least one reference that you are using. The purpose of the proposal is to make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to work on before you get to the project due date – plan your project early, this gives you plenty of time to develop your project. Please remember that your initial proposal is not graded, the final proposal is completed when approved. Be sure to complete both. Respond to your initial topic in the same discussion board with the information required for the final approval. You will not receive approval to move forward if you are missing your reference or your diagnostic model, or if the submission is incomplete. Do it right the first time; this is an important aspect of quality and process improvement.
Part 2 – Your individual Project:
You will develop the case by clearly explaining the problem and by building a continuous improvement proposal that you can use immediately by integrating assessment models, a SWOT, Baldrige, quality tools and proposed ways to measure outcomes (all of which we cover in discussion boards and readings/text). If you already have completed the change class (MSM 6635 or MGT 6681), use what you already learned. A list of required components as they relate to format and writing in general can be found in the project rubric and these instructions which will be used to grade this case.
The initial topic for this project must be posted by the end of week 3 to the discussion board that is designated for this purpose. Your final, REVISED proposal is due Sunday, week 4. Please use the instructions and include all the required elements, this is found at the back of the individual project instructions. Use the instructor feedback to assist you. You may change your topic later (should an opportunity present itself) but please check with me first. I offer the opportunity to discuss your project on a phone call, I urge you to take advantage of this.
Required Project Components:
You will use your textbook, a diagnostic model (from MGT 6681 or MSM 6635) the Baldrige Framework, a SWOT analysis, proposed quality tools and measures and Kotter’s implementation model:
- MBNQA – Criteria 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (we do not use #7 because it is about results from all the other Criteria). Please note that Framework Criteria one through six are required, this is not optional. You may not pick and choose which ones you wish to use, is required that you use all of them except #7. Keep in mind that Baldrige is a systematic approach to continuous improvement, all the Criteria are separate elements of a systematic approach. If you leave out one, it is going to cause problems. Use this as a diagnostic model in addition to the 6 Box, 7S, or other model which I have approved (please ask first if you have another model in mind, as some are not appropriate for this project).
- 6 Box and 7 S diagnostic models (pick ONE)
- These are provided in Canvas if anyone has not had the MGT6681/MSM 6635 course yet. If you wish to use a different model and you have completed MGT 6681, please contact the instructor before proceeding and make your case.
- Kotter’s implementation model (8 steps)
- SWOT analysis –PESTEL is not an additional requirement, please see below.
- Please note that although the PESTEL was completed in the team project, it is not necessary to re-create it again in addition to the SWOT. All that is required is a correct SWOT. Because SWOT and PESTEL are new for many students, the PESTEL is used in the team project only to help students identify threats and opportunities because PESTEL is external to the organization as are threats and opportunities. Review your SWOT, make sure that your opportunities and threats are external – refer to the team project, if necessary, for assistance or contact the instructor. Make sure your Opportunities and Threats are correct, this is where many errors are found.
- Measurement instruments (existing surveys and other measures can be used, or you can suggest some from other sources – just provide an example). Because there is no way of knowing if we’ve made any progress unless we measure, at least two measures are required. If there is any confusion about this, contact the instructor. Proposed measures must be directly related and relevant to desired outcomes. Two basic measures include one of whether the work goal was accomplished, another one is how effective was the improvement process; since the proposal is for a work goal, these are two measures are for very different things. Please see the end of this paper for more information. Such measures are in addition to any proposals that include baselining and benchmarking. Use work measures if they are appropriate.
- Tools – We had a discussion board about tools such as Kaizen, 5 Ss, Kanban, etc. There are many tools that are available for continuous improvement efforts, select the ones that are appropriate for your project. Six Sigma is not the answer to everything as we have discussed. Do not count PDSA or DMAIC as a tool, because these are process improvement (decision-making) models as opposed to the specific tools you can use. For example, you might select Kaizen as one of your improvement methods once you have completed PDSA and identified specific areas that could benefit from some of the quality tools we discussed.
Good to know:
- Two example papers from students who completed this program successfully are available in the course. I strongly recommend that you review these for format, content, and sequence – these may help you develop your own proposal. Keep in mind that these papers are good but NOT perfect.
- This is a business proposal; it is not a typical “research paper”. There are differences!! Please contact me if you have any questions about the differences. For example, an executive summary is required instead of an abstract. An executive summary is a summary of the entire paper where you explain the issue, what you are proposing, and what you expect – this is quite literally a summary of your document in 2 pages or less. WRITE AN EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. Do not write an abstract, do not tell the reader what you WILL do in the paper – if you must do this, you haven’t written it correctly. Instead, explain your analysis, your issues, and your recommendations. Above all, remember who your audience is! Use language that your audience would understand and remember that your audience is probably an executive with very little time so keep this short, complete, and concise.
- Do not write in first person (I, we, etc.). This should be written in third person so the focus is on improving the process.
- Never, ever, present recommendations before you have conducted an analysis or analyses. Recommendations are derived from issues, and issues are derived from models and analyses. Do this in the correct order or your proposal will not make any sense, and you will not like your grade.
You will develop a paper that is a minimum of 10 pages long, but no longer than 20 pages plus an executive summary (instructions for this are in the course), appendices, table of contents, references page(s) and a title page) all following APA requirements (title page, double-spaced, APA citations and references, etc.). When you are writing your own case, you first want to have the story clear in your mind; if this means you need to write it down, do so. Then review your case keeping the Criteria in mind looking to see where they fit. (Keep in mind that a textbook is not ordinarily used for references because it is, in and of itself, a huge list of information from references. However, in this course I will allow you to use your textbook as a reference with a maximum of four citations.)
You will need a minimum of 12 references, at least 8 of which must be academic articles, one of the remaining minimum must the Baldrige Framework. How to write the reference for the Framework is available in the document, use this for your reference format. You may use any articles in this course or you may find in the Troy Global Campus Library (as you know, there is a live link to the library on the homepage of Canvas; many useful articles are in the library guide for this course. Under no conditions is anyone allowed to use URLs to replace academic articles. In addition, articles taken from anything like or resembling Wikipedia, the Huffington Post, or any opinion website will not be counted, and the paper will be returned to you without a grade. TQM requires management by fact, not opinion and not hearsay. If this is not clear, please ask me about this under Ask the Instructor in the course and I will be glad to explain. Use your academic references to support your recommendations. This makes your proposal stronger because you are bringing an expert opinion. Your recommendations cannot be only your opinion.
Follow the same paper outline described in Team Project (title page, executive summary, introduction, background, current situation, implications, and conclusions) but remember to include a table of contents and the other items noted above.
Keep in mind that it is necessary to establish the background, the problem, and provide diagnoses before you can start recommending improvements or how to implement these improvements. AGAIN…never provide recommendations before the diagnosis because you cannot possibly know or discuss what needs to be improved without first having a diagnosis of what the problems might be.
Please see below for a list of required section titles and components in this order:
- Executive Summary.
- Title page with your name, table of contents, sections headers, APA formatted references, appendices and attachments as needed. Treat this as a business document, even though it is also partly a research project. (Table of Contents-use the feature in Microsoft Word, it’s much easier.)
- Background (always provide a citation on a reference for the organization, a website will do and know how to format this correctly. If you want to have the organization remain anonymous, please contact me. Remember your SWOT issues, diagnosis issues and recommendations need to align. Keep this alignment in mind when you work on issues and recommendations.
- A statement of the problem – identify the process/issue and why this is causing problems
- Diagnoses (identify the problems that need attention and explain why, this may be provided in a 3 column table- 1) issue, 2) why, then the 3) item – S, W, O or T)
- The SWOT analysis – this is the “big picture” analysis, the details should be included as an appendix, but you should provide a few key items in the body of the paper. Remember, if you have a problem identifying what is external for opportunities and threats, use the PESTEL model to assist you. Use the PESTLE for threats and opportunities.
- Diagnostic model 6 Box or 7 S diagnostic model or Nadler and Tushman’s model (pick one model, do not use all) – what do you see in this case? Apply a model. Identify and provide an analysis of the areas for improvement using your chosen model and explain what needs to be improved and why. Keep in mind this is also your discussion on how systems theory applies, and that your analysis and diagnosis will most certainly impact other parts of the organization. Do not pick and choose two or three parts of your diagnostic model, when you select the model you must use every part otherwise you are leaving out part of your diagnosis. Again, provide the key elements in your paper and provide the details in the appendices. You identify concerns in your diagnosis models which then translate into issues. Keep this in a logical sequence. Four frame is another option but contact the instructor first.
- Baldrige Framework 1-6: Use Baldrige to help you identify areas of improvement. Identify one area in each of the Criteria 1-6, being specific to identify what part of this Criteria applies in your situation. Do not use #7, that is only for the results, and we do not have results because this is only a proposal. Do not use the Profile included with Baldrige. The basic idea for proposing process improvement is to integrate multiple models because process improvement is complex and includes many aspects; demonstrate that you can do this. We do not use any of the evaluation criteria, this takes weeks of training and scoring is reserved for the Baldrige Evaluators. NOTE: Baldrige strategy #2 is the overall organizational strategy. Keep in mind that you might be dealing with lower levels of strategy such as operational strategy and tactical strategy (activities). These are appropriate, do not forget to make sure they have a relationship with the overarching strategy as described in Baldrige.
- Summary of the issues identified in the diagnoses (using SWOT and diagnostic model). Are your issues aligned with your recommendations and the KSF you identified earlier? Make sure they are.
- Recommendations to address the issues; address every issue identified
- Implementation – once you have recommendations, you are ready to propose your implementation with Kotter’s model. Provide some detail so it is specific to your environment.
- Explain what quality tools are proposed, be specific. Remember: PDSA and DMAIC are process improvement models and for the purposes of this paper they are not considered quality tools. If you recommend a process improvement model, it is in addition to any tools you propose. Review the tools discussion in the course if you need ideas or refer to your textbook or the videos in the course.
- Measures (2) + baseline or benchmark – Include at least one application of a baseline or a benchmark, and then address how you would 1) determine how you will measure to see how effective your process changes/improvements will be and 2) determine if customer satisfaction or stakeholder satisfaction has improved. One is to evaluate your process; one is to evaluate impact on others. Also discuss HOW will you use your data to make improvements. We just spent weeks talking about the need to measure, this is an important element of your final paper (don’t forget it, and don’t explain this by saying you’re going to do a survey – provide more detail). If your organization already uses measurement methods, you may include them here if they are appropriate. You may also search the Internet for better measures but provide citations and references from anything borrowed from another source.
- Do not confuse baselining and benchmarking.
- One baseline does not constitute a measurement, but several baselines in between changes and improvements can be a measurement. Ask the instructor if you have questions.
- Conclusions/Summary (What are your expectations for this proposal, and how can it help the organization?) Include any other comments you believe to be appropriate. Include comments about your expected outcomes.
ASK if any requirements are not clear!
Note: Include appendices in your paper so some items such as the diagnostic model and Kotter’s implementation model don’t have to be placed in the body the paper because they are usually large and will disrupt the flow of your paper. The appendices are for details, but key items MUST be included in the body of the paper, as readers should not have to flip back and forth between the paper and the appendices to figure out what the writer means. In addition, the SWOT can be an appendix, and you can simply refer to ‘Appendix XYZ’ instead of writing out all the information in the body of the paper – but key details are still needed in the paper itself. Let me know if you have any questions on this. If you use this as a business proposal, the appendices will be very effective in providing specifics for your process improvement proposal.
The instructor strongly recommends that as you progress through the course, you should be developing 1-2 pages on your topic area for each one of the criteria. In this way you will not have an entire paper to develop in the last 2 to 3 weeks. The old saying about “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time” applies here.
Note: If you have not downloaded Grammarly, do so immediately and use it. It catches many errors. If you do not know how to use Microsoft Word’s table of contents feature, learn how to use it. You must have the 2021-2022 version of Baldrige, not an older version; this changes every two years.
A few examples are provided to help you see how these might fit into your final paper. Use your own judgment and use your own approach:
For Kotter, include a diagram or written steps that explain the model in an appendix with appropriate citations/reference (e.g., Appendix A). List the key points for your paper with that model in the appendix, be sure to include enough detail so someone else can implement your plan. When you come back to the paper, have a separate section with the title (maybe “implementation model and steps”) and a paragraph that explains which model you are using with appropriate citations and that details may be found in Appendix A. Based on the analysis provided in the appendix, these key points were determined as the central to the change and improvement effort (and then have a short explanation).
As you can see, this does not need to take up 5 to 6 pages when you can do it in 1 or 2. Likewise, for the SWOT analysis – and be sure to watch the videos so the difference is clearly understood between what is internal and what is external – put the diagram in an appendix along with the explanation and then refer to it in your paper with a paragraph. Whatever additional diagrams or figures you wish to use may also be included in the appendices if they are appropriately noted with an explanation of why they are included in your paper. This should save a significant amount of paper space. If this is not clear, please contact me. Remember that APA has rules for appendices. Keep in mind that most figures and diagrams belong in an appendix because they are often large and disruptive to the flow of the paper when placed in the body of the paper.
Note: When determining what types of measures will be used to determine 1) whether your continuous improvement process was effective and 2) if the goal was attained for whatever project – don’t just tell me you’re going to use a survey. There are many ways of obtaining information – surveys are overused. If you do include a survey, you must have another method such as a focus group, a post-project assessment, or anyone of many possible approaches. Feel free to use existing organizational surveys If THEY ARE APPROPRIATE – if not, what else would you do? Benchmarking and baselining are also types of measurement and may use in addition to the 2 specific measures, if there is any confusion about how to measure, contact the instructor.
The background and significance of the problem and a clear statement of the research purpose is provided. The search history is mentioned.
The background and significance of the problem and a clear statement of the research purpose is provided. The search history is mentioned.
Content is well-organized with headings for each slide and bulleted lists to group related material as needed. Use of font, color, graphics, effects, etc. to enhance readability and presentation content is excellent. Length requirements of 10 slides/pages or less is met.
More depth/detail for the background and significance is needed, or the research detail is not clear. No search history information is provided.
Review of relevant theoretical literature is evident, but there is little integration of studies into concepts related to problem. Review is partially focused and organized. Supporting and opposing research are included. Summary of information presented is included. Conclusion may not contain a biblical integration.
Content is somewhat organized, but no structure is apparent. The use of font, color, graphics, effects, etc. is occasionally detracting to the presentation content. Length requirements may not be met.
The background and/or significance are missing. No search history information is provided.
Review of relevant theoretical literature is evident, but there is no integration of studies into concepts related to problem. Review is partially focused and organized. Supporting and opposing research are not included in the summary of information presented. Conclusion does not contain a biblical integration.
There is no clear or logical organizational structure. No logical sequence is apparent. The use of font, color, graphics, effects etc. is often detracting to the presentation content. Length requirements may not be met
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MSM 6645 Individual Final Project