The SPRINT Methodology: Overview
The core discipline of the SPRINT methodology is Business Process Re-engineering (BPR).
The modernisation agenda in British public service could not be higher profile. In the immediate aftermath of the 2001 general election, the Prime Minister went on record to state that public sector reform is the key mission of this government. This background is important in that it makes it plain that the methods used by local government in its modernisation agenda really must be useful, relevant and able to affect radical change.
SPRINT is a methodology that has been designed to reflect this ethos. Its adoption throughout UK local authorities continues to grow and it is associated with some outstanding innovation projects. Perhaps the most important thing about SPRINT is that it is designed to support organisational development. It helps individuals and teams to become better at carrying out change projects, and thus SPRINT helps to foster a more knowledgeable, innovative culture. Moreover, it is relevant to a range of local government problems and opportunities, from Best Value review to transformational change. With this conviction SPRINT has been designed to:
- reflect the special needs of local government
- offer a framework for the management of incremental and radical perspectives
- move from process analysis to creative re-design and lasting implementation
- extrapolate value from existing and new technology
- offer an alternative model to relying on external consultants; instilling organisational learning and the capacity to deliver change
BPR seeks to align business goals with technology and processes. The term was coined by Michael Hammer who argued that traditional attempts at computerisation had typically led to the automation of existing processes (a "faster mess!") rather than seeking out fundamentally different ways of working.
The earliest version of SPRINT was primarily concerned with the science (or art?) of developing new ways of working, but it soon became apparent that the methodology required a change management capability. The rationale proposed that a change management phase would allow SPRINT teams to institutionalise new ways of working more effectively, without the organisation migrating back to previous systems.
Given SPRINT's foundation and further advancements, SPRINT is now a BPR and change management methodology. It is a methodology specifically for the public sector in the UK, which has been refined in the light of real world practice, and in response to the E-Government agenda.
Just like large corporations, public sector organisations have grown over time according to the functions that they are required to provide. SPRINT offers real advantages to councils looking across their functional boundaries to identify and implement common processes. The move towards E-Government and for Best Value service improvements demands a coherent and cross-cutting approach to developing systems, and SPRINT provides a method for doing this.
Whereas a traditional IT project might be requested by a particular department and then developed either in-house or externally, in isolation from other parts of the organisation; a SPRINT project will involve service users, relevant support services (e.g. human resources, IT) and BPR experts throughout the life cycle of a project.
A project steering group will align the strategic priorities with operational delivery so that the project will deliver improvements in operations and in service provision.
A typical SPRINT project will involve the following:
- High level user involvement
- A project team that cuts across departmental and hierarchical boundaries
- Identification and involvement of stakeholders
- A detailed investigation of current business processes
- Radical process redesign
- Aligning of strategic goals with service delivery
- Institutionalising process redesign
- Ongoing Improvement
The SPRINT methodology is designed to complement rather than replace existing ways of working (e.g. PRINCE project management; IT systems design methodologies).
The methodology consists of four parts (figure 1 provides a pictorial representation):
- Initiation (Phase I)
- Understanding Process Context (Phase II)
- Radical Process Redesign (Phase III)
- Change Management (Phase IV)
SPRINT is designed in a modular way, so that depending on the needs of a particular project, the various tasks can be done in any order. The links on the main tool bar will take you immediately to the task you are interested in, otherwise, the 'next' link at the bottom of the page will walk you through the methodology step-by-step. The 'related links' on each page gather together any other material that is associated with a particular task
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