Project Timeline

Operational Excellence @ Illinois is structured to occur in five phases – ImagineDecide, Bridge, Detailed Design, and Implementation – as depicted below. These phases represent the sequence of project milestones for comprehensive functional changes in support, structure, and service delivery and collectively encompass all steps needed to accomplish the initiative, from inception of a new operating structure to its full implementation.

Project Phases

Imagine Phase:

During the Imagine phase, Illinois envisioned a future state that achieves the goals of Operational Excellence as outlined in The Next 150. This phase included data collection and, analysis, spanning both institutional data and structured discussions with university faculty, staff, and senior leaders. In addition, each of the Functional Work Teams (see Project Governance) identified a list of Functional Opportunities critical to address through the initiative. These functionally specific lists shaped the overarching recommendations that Huron presented to initiative leadership on an effective structure to realize Operational Excellence.

Decide Phase:

The Decide phase supported Illinois in deciding which changes to implement. This phase included the review and approval of previously generated Functional Area Opportunities with Work Teams, Executive Sponsors, and cross-campus representatives (see Project Governance), as well as the translation of these opportunities into a high-level operating model. The phase concluded with institutional leadership’s decision to press forward with the recommended operating model. 

Bridge Phase:

The third phase of the initiative entailed prioritizing and finalizing Functional Area Opportunities developed by Work Teams, socializing the proposed high-level model with the campus community, developing a roadmap for subsequent phases, and charging a project management team with overseeing the design and implementation of the proposed model. The Bridge phase was key to ensuring that faculty, staff, and senior academic and administrative leaders felt prepared and supported to enter the Detailed Design phase.

Detailed Design Phase: Current Phase

Given the high-level vision for the new operating model, each Functional Design Team (see Project Governance) will determine and define the specifics of the approved model. Throughout this effort, institutional community members will evaluate functional area needs, define corresponding roles and responsibilities, determine resources required for implementation, and identify any additional steps toward or impediments for successful execution of Operational Excellence @ Illinois. Functional areas will move through Detailed Design at different times and at different speeds, with IT and HR being the first functional areas to undergo Detailed Design.

Implementation Phase

Institutional leaders and Operational Excellence team members (see Project Governance) will begin the process of building out the operating model – no longer high-level and now precisely defined. The transition to the new operating model will take thorough and detailed implementation planning and widespread University community engagement in implementation of the new model. While the right time to embark on the Operational Excellence initiative is now, the institution is most concerned about methodically implementing an effective model, rather than speeding through the process.