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How to do a needs assessment? Part 3: Pain vs Frequency

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Purpose

To successfully implement solutions, it is critical to understand what the most important problems are and what should be tackled first. To do this we will need to create a shared understanding of what the priorities should be via a Pain / Frequency Matrix.

A Pain / Frequency Matrix helps us develop this shared understanding by providing a framework for assessing what the most painful problems are and how often they occur. We want to focus on the most painful processes that occur frequently.

Objectives

The objective of the exercise is to create a pain / frequency matrix for each solution identified in an empathy map by:

  1. Ranking how painful a problem is.
  2. Ranking how frequently a problem occurs.
  3. Plotting the pain and frequency for a given problem onto a pain and frequency matrix to determine which problems. 

Resources

  • 3 different colored sticky notes 
  • Permanent marker 
  • Process stakeholders
  • Empathy Mapping Canvas template (optional)
  • Miro Software (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the green sticky note that has name of the stakeholder in the middle of the matrix.
  1. From the empathy maps take each of the red colored sticky notes (i.e. the pains / issues) and place it in one of four quadrants depending on how painful and how frequent an issue happens:
    1. High Pain / High Frequency: Place the issues that you think are very painful (i.e. they create lots of inefficiency / work or lots of mistakes) and occur often in the High Pain / High Frequency quadrant.
  1. High Pain / Low Frequency: Place the issues that you think are very painful (create lots of inefficiency / work or lots of mistakes) but don’t occur often in the High Pain / Low Frequency quadrant.
  1. Low Pain / High Frequency: Place the issues that you think are not painful but occur often in the Low Pain / High Frequency quadrant.
  1. Low Pain / Low Frequency: Place the issues that you think are not painful but occur often in the Low Pain / High Frequency quadrant.

You should now have a pain and frequency matrix that looks something like the image below:

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How to do a needs assessment? Part 2: Empathy Map

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Purpose

To figure out how to improve a process, we must first understand what issues/problems/pain points each stakeholder in the process faces. To do this we will need to create a shared understanding of what the issues are for each stakeholder involved in the process. An Empathy Mapping helps us build this shared understanding.

Objectives

The objective of the exercise is to create an empathy map for each stakeholder in a Process Mapping Canvas by:

  1. Mapping out what task each stakeholder does? Use the Tasks from the Process Mapping Canvas.
  2. Mapping out what pain points a stakeholder faces when trying to do those tasks? Pain points are issues that prevent stakeholders from improving the process KPIs outlined in the Process Mapping Canvas.
  3. Mapping out what the gains would be if we were able to solve the pain points? Gains are the improvements in the process KPIs if the pain points were to be eliminated.

Resources

  • 3 different coloured sticky notes 
  • Permanent marker 
  • Process stakeholders
  • Empathy Mapping Canvas template (optional)
  • RealtimeBoard Software (optional)

Instructions

  1. Each stakeholder takes their role (green sticky notes) and places the role at the top of the Empathy Mapping Canvas. They take the tasks (yellow sticky notes) and place those in the tasks area of the Empathy Mapping Canvas. 
  1. For each task, stakeholders identify issues they have with performing the tasks and add these issues to the pains area of the canvas. Issues raised should have some sort of negative impact on a processes KPIs. Ensure that there is one issue per sticky note.
  1. For each pain, stakeholders identify what the gains would be if we were to solve their pains. Gains identified should have some sort of positive impact on a processes KPIs. Ensure that there is one gain per sticky note.
  1. When completed you should have something like the above. This is the empathy mapping canvas. 
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How to do a needs assessment? Part 1: Process Mapping

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Purpose

To continually get better at what we do, we need to be able to map out what it is we are doing, who is doing it and how we are measuring its performance. A Process Mapping Canvas helps us understand who is doing what in a specific process and what the performance metrics are in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. 

Objectives

The objective of the exercise is to:

  1. Map out who the stakeholders are in a process (Green Sticky Notes)
  2. What tasks do they do (Yellow Sticky Notes)
  3. Determine what the metrics are for efficiency and effectiveness (Blue Sticky Notes)

Resources

  • 3 different coloured sticky notes 
  • Permanent marker 
  • Process stakeholders
  • Process Mapping Canvas template (optional)
  • RealtimeBoard Software (optional)

Instructions

  1. Fill in the details of your process. In the example below we are mapping out a travel requisition process. We’ve set the date of when the process was mapped out, when it will next be reviewed, the divisions that this process applies to and who was involved in the mapping.
  1. Take the green sticky notes and write down the roles of every stakeholder that is involved in a process. The rule is to have one sticky note per role. 
  1. Take the yellow sticky notes and write down what tasks each stakeholder does. Place these tasks directly below each stakeholder.
  1. Take the blue sticky notes and write down what the efficiency and effectiveness metrics should be for the process. 
    1. The formula for efficiency is total output / total input (usually time or effort). E.g. If your process is outputting Permits then your efficiency metric could be total # of processed permits / total time taken to process permits. For more information on the theoretical framework for this you can look into efficiency formula
    2. The formula for effectiveness is total desirable (or undesirable) output / total output. E.g. If your process is outputting Permits then your effectiveness metric would be total # of approved permits without violations / total # of approved permits. For more information on the theoretical framework for this you can look into confusion matrix 
  1. When completed you should have something like the image below. This is the process mapping canvas for a travel requisition process (i.e. staff requesting to travel).

Extensions

The following are additional activities you can do to extend the process mapping exercise further.

  1. Number each task in order of execution
  2. Indicate with blue sticky dots which tasks are done electronically (i.e. with a computerised system)