This ten-month professional development program includes three four-day face-to-face workshops and a series of web-based sessions in the months between workshops. The monthly webinars provide an opportunity for participants to receive feedback on their projects from faculty and fellow participants.
The curriculum is built around both theory and practical skills applied to the participants' improvement projects. It is the combination of theory applied to daily work that makes the Improvement Advisor Professional Development Program unique and provides a foundation for making improvements long after the program is completed. Topic areas include:
- The Science of Improvement: W.E. Deming's System of Profound Knowledge
- The Model for Improvement: Using a proven framework to direct and accelerate organizational transformation.
- Scoping Improvement Efforts: Using effective chartering techniques to appropriately and efficiently scope projects and link them to the organization's business objectives.
- Understanding Systems and Processes: Using driver diagrams and other analytic tools to better understand the system and key interactions.
- Focus on Data for Improvement: Using both qualitative and quantitative data; learning methods for obtaining, organizing and displaying data and statistical process control (SPC) for analyzing data – run charts, Pareto diagrams, frequency plots, and Shewhart control charts.
- Understanding Relationships: Using two-way tables, scatter plots, and causal models.
- Gathering Information: Using surveys, benchmarking, idea generation methods, forms of data collection, and operational definitions.
- Developing Powerful Ideas for Change: Honing several methods for developing changes that can lead to improvement including creative brainstorming.
- Testing Changes: Determining the appropriate scale for a test of change and effectively planning the appropriate steps.
- Implementing Changes: Gaining the expertise to know when to move from testing to implementation, how to build proven changes into the fabric of the organization, and how to holding the gains.
- Spreading Changes: Understanding when and under what conditions successful spread can occur.
- Decision Making: Understanding prediction and judgment biases and decision traps.
- Collaboration and Teamwork: Using proven methods to work more effectively with colleagues, organize and lead improvement teams, and handle difficult conversations, and develop consultative skills.
- Planned Experimentation: Designing experiments to test the impact of multiple changes on process outcomes; assess the impact of each change and the interaction of among all changes.