Applying Observable Work Principles

By Alcoa Fastening Systems

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We have the not unique situation of working for a company that grew by acquisition, leading to a complex hairball of legacy business processes and IT platforms. We work in a highly matrixed environment and are a public company, so we have Sarbanes-Oxley to worry about.

On our team, we have a charter to deliver common IT-enabled solutions across dozens of locations, each of which is evaluated by a stand-alone P&L. The people we work for are highly focused on manufacturing and engineering, rather than the black box of IT.

We are always looking for ways to improve ourselves and our team's performance. We cannot change the world, but there are some things squarely within our control.

Our business goals for applying Enterprise 2.0 software to implement Observable Work principles include: Reduce labor and travel cost through elimination of non-value added and redundant work; Reduce costs of compliance by baking compliance into the flow of work activities happening within our platform.

A single project that normally would be expected to take up to 18 months: QAD implementation in China was completed in 7 months. On a recurring basis, the new process replaced daily status meetings that typically tied up ten people for four hours three times a week (120 hours/week) with a more transparent process we estimate cost 20 hours/week -- per project -- for a net savings of 100 hours/week in overhead.

June 2008

Applying Observable Work Principles