Using ClearPoint for Process Improvement

Webinar 44 in the "I Didn't Know ClearPoint Could Do That!?!" Webinar Series

Process improvement is no easy feat – but luckily, there are tools in ClearPoint that can help you along the way. From getting your team aligned around common end goals, to tracking the various steps and milestones, to measuring your results, join us on this episode of the “I Didn’t Know ClearPoint Could Do That!?!” webinar series to take a deep dive into process improvement in ClearPoint.

Excited to put what you just learned into action? Here are the key steps and linked resources you need to get started:

  1. Check out the City of Arvada’s Process Improvement Plan 
  2. Create custom fields to make your process improvement plan come to life 
  3. Filter your summary reports to show current projects 
  4. Set up notifications for your workflow 

Webinar Transcript


  • Introduction (0:00)
  • Agenda (0:48)
  • Background (1:19)
  • Configuring your account (3:05)
  • Configuring the project (6:47)
    • Priority (7:50)
    • Discussion Field, Current & Future State (8:51)
    • SWOT Analysis & Customer Perspective (10:03)
    • Brainstorming Field (11:11)
    • Milestones and Action Items (11:55)
    • Workflow Alerts (17:15)
    • Links to show alignment (15:45)
  • Summary Report (18:58)
  • Questions (24:57)

Introduction (0:00)

  • Catherine: Hello everyone and welcome to the “I didn’t know ClearPoint could do that!?!” webinar series
  • Today, we’re diving into managing process improvement projects in ClearPoint
  • Before we get started, here are your smiling hosts, I’m Catherine
    • Rachel: and I’m Rachel!
  • As a few housekeeping announcements:
    • We will be recording this session and will make it available within a week
    • Webinar will last about 25 minutes with time for questions
  • Submit questions to [email protected]
    • Any that we don’t get to on air we’ll follow up over email
  • Now, on our last installment, we took an in-depth look at the ClearPoint Data Loader, so if you’ve been curious about your options for automatically uploading data into ClearPoint, now’s a great time to check out that recording and transcript on our website or Vimeo channel! Just search “Webinar”.

Agenda (0:48)

  • Today, we’ll be focusing on leveraging ClearPoint for process improvement.
  • We’ll talk through the elements of a process improvement project,
  • Walk through setting up ClearPoint initiatives to support your efforts,
  • Configure alerts to keep things flowing smoothly
  • And talk through how to link these improvements back to your organizational goals.
  • And craft a summary report to showcase all the process improvement projects on your radar.

So again, please submit your questions to the address on the screen, [email protected]!

Background (1:19)

  • Now before we take off in our Upward Airlines account,
  • We want to talk a little bit about what these projects might be focused on. What defines a business process?
    • It might be something formal, like the documented steps you need to take to get a particular permit, or something informal, like maintaining your office supply cabinet.
    • In either case, it’s something you do routinely that is designed to help you and your team work in a more streamlined way
  • Rachel: So, why is it important to improve your processes?
    • Rachel: Well, your processes affect your business outcomes, for better or for worse.
      • A process that doesn’t run smoothly might result in a bad service experience, duplicate efforts towards the same results, wasted resources, or even just frustration on your team.
      • On the other hand, a well-defined and executed process allows you to keep your team focused on what matters, course correct easily if something goes wrong, and deliver positive outcomes with only the resources you need.
    • Catherine: Now, one important thing to keep in mind today is that Process Improvement should be collaborative – ClearPoint can help you manage communication, remind you of deadlines, track progress, and other important information,
      • But it is an added resource, not a substitute, for in-depth, in-person conversations with your team!
      • You want to have involvement from all players in your process, since they’ll be the ones at the forefront when you implement your proposed improvements
    • Lastly, we want to give a shout-out to the City of Arvada, Colorado!
      • Some of the ideas we’ll share with you today were inspired by the innovative process improvement work that the City of Arvada conducts internally. So thanks to their team for sharing these tips with us, and to those of you who are watching the webinar from Arvada!

Configuring your account (3:05)

  • Rachel: Now that we have some background on process improvement best practices, let’s jump into ClearPoint and see how they look in action!
  • There are a ton of benefits to conducting process improvement from ClearPoint.
    • First of all, it allows you to keep all of your information in one central location that everyone involved can contribute to
    • And you can customize the information you’re tracking, the timeline of your project, and who’s collaborating on the project to match your organization’s methods.
    • So, where should we start? Where can we fit process improvement into our ClearPoint account?
      • Catherine: I can think of two main options – you might integrate process improvement initiatives right into your department scorecards,
        • Or you can create a separate scorecard where your team can track process improvement projects.
        • It really depends how you want to view your projects and who’s going to need access to be involved.
      • Rachel: For the purposes of setting up an example today, we’ve got a Process Improvement Scorecard all set up.
      • The process we are working to improve today is our new hire onboarding. We chose this focus area because it impacts the entire organization and therefore will generate a lot of collaboration and cross-department buy-in
    • Rachel: So first, let’s start by creating a new initiative for our process improvement project
    • We’ll go to Manage Initiatives in our process improvement scorecard, click to Add, and give it a name.
      • We’ll be looking at our Onboarding Process,
      • and then we can assign an owner and some collaborators to ensure accountability
      • We want to get this done before our hiring round in the fall, so let’s give ourselves a timeline of May 1 to Aug 15.
      • Once we Save, we’ll click on the name to visit the initiative detail page
    • We can already see some helpful default fields here on the page, but it’s going to be important to create some Custom Fields as well for the unique process improvement information we want to track at Upward Airlines.
      • In order to create those custom fields, we’ll want to go to Admin Options > Custom Fields > and then since we’ll be creating these for Initiatives, I’ll click on the Initiatives tab
      • One of the first steps of starting a process improvement project will be to get approval from our leadership team.
      • Rachel: So to start, I’m going to create a custom field so that we can indicate if our project has been approved. I’ll click to Add, name the field “Approved?”, and then under Field Type I’ll select a custom picklist, where I can provide the options of yes, pending, and no
        • Then, I’ll click Save.
      • Catherine: Really anything you want to capture from your process improvement exercises can easily be tracked in ClearPoint by creating a custom field to display on your initiative detail page.
      • Rachel: That’s right. To save us some time, I’ve created a few more fields where I can reflect and record data as we gather information from our team. As you can see, a lot of these are HTML Text fields, which allow you to format text, links, and images.
      • So let’s save out of this window for now and begin creating our project. We’ll navigate back to our Onboarding Process Improvement initiative page.

Configuring the project (6:47)

  • Now, we can take advantage of our default and new custom fields here to show all the information we need.
    • Let’s click on the menu next to the Edit icon > and Edit the Layout.
  • Rachel: Here, we’ll add some of our custom fields, all of them are available on the left here to bring onto our layout.
  • Catherine: we’ll talk about these further as we’re adding information to them.
    • Priority, Current State, Desired Future State, SWOT Analysis, Approved?, Customer Perspective, Brainstorming
  • Rachel: Alright, looks like we’re ready to save and begin entering some information! Before ClearPoint we were struggling to keep track of this information in a word document, so it’s a huge relief to be copying and pasting it out of there. It’ll be SO much more interactive and easier to manage this project in ClearPoint.

Priority (7:50)

  • First off, Priority – this is another picklist field and we’ll mark it as
    • You might be wondering why you’d even want lower priority projects in ClearPoint – but it can be helpful to log the ideas there for now and then tackle them when your team has more time!
  • Catherine: If you’re struggling with how to define high, medium, and low priority processes for improvement internally, the City of Arvada has a couple of key tips
    • First, there needs to be clear buy-in from the team who has proposed the project, and clear ownership.
    • Rachel: One thing that can help with this is to pursue projects that departments suggest to your process improvement team, rather than the other way around.
  • Catherine: Right, and additionally, the more closely aligned a project is to the strategic plan overall, the more it should be prioritized.
  • Catherine: Then lastly there’s that question of bandwidth and making sure the resources required are available.
  • Rachel: All good points!

Discussion Field, Current & Future State (8:51)

  • I want to point out that we have a discussion field here too to track questions and comments.
    • If I double click to type a suggestion and click Add Comment, it’ll create a timestamp and show that I was the one who posted the comment.
  • Rachel: Then let’s make sure we’re on the same page about the Current State and Desired Future State of the process.
    • Catherine: This is often a part of conducting a Gap Analysis for your process.
    • You can use the Current State field to define what is and isn’t going well in the process you’re examining – for example, while we’re doing a great job outlining what the new hire will be responsible for in their role specifically, we’re struggling to effectively include training on company culture and general expectations.
      • Not only that, but this field can demonstrate the scope and boundaries of your process – for example, we’re not examining how we hire people, just what we do once they get here.
    • The desired future state is where you want your process to be – how you’ll improve from where you are now, and with what end result.

SWOT Analysis & Customer Perspective (10:03)

  • Rachel: then here we have our SWOT Analysis This is where you can note Strengths and Weaknesses of your department, Opportunities for growth in those areas, and Threats that might hinder you.
  • Catherine: This Customer Perspective field helps you to keep in mind who will benefit from improving your process.
    • Every process has a “customer” who is impacted by its outcomes, whether this is an internal group, a citizen, consumer, or another organization you provide a service to.
    • Catherine: The City of Arvada will often interview these individuals as part of their projects, and capture insightful quotes from these sessions in ClearPoint
      • It can be persuasive to capture this feedback from the real live human beings your process affects!
    • And in our case, the customers are both the new employees receiving onboarding, and the teams who are counting on new hires to be effectively brought up to speed.
      • So in improving this process, everyone wins!

Brainstorming Field (11:11)

  • Rachel: Finally, we have a space to keep track of brainstorming sessions.
    • So as you go through diagramming exercises, whiteboarding, walk throughs, and other activities to analyze your processes, you can incorporate one or more fields in ClearPoint to track your findings.
  • Let’s put an image in here of our whiteboarding session.

Milestones and Action Items (11:55)

  • Rachel – Once the brainstorming session has been completed, and all your great new ideas for process improvement have been shared, how will you track the actual implementation process? How will you all work together to get this get done?
  • In ClearPoint, you can leverage Milestones as a way to organize and track what you need to accomplish
    • Catherine: Each milestone can have its own owners and collaborators, their own start and end dates, the list goes on.
    • Rachel: Exactly! And we’ll use a shortcut to add a few phases to our project at once.
    • To add some milestones, I can click Edit > Milestones > Add Multiple
    • Once I click save, I can see them all here populated on the detail page
  • Catherine: That’s helpful to see, but what if there are other intermediary steps we want to track? I mean, how granular can we get here?
    • Rachel: Well, we can really get as specific as we want!
    • If we want to break these phases down into smaller project steps, we can always add a sub-milestone –
    • And quick insider tip – Another way I can add a milestone is double click into the milestone field, and click to ‘Add’
      • We’ll call this Plan Team Event, since we know we’ll do some sort of introductory icebreaker event with the new hires
    • Then here in the Parent Milestone field, we’ll specify the overall milestone that this one contributes to.
    • That way, when we save, it will be clearly indented to show the hierarchy in our project steps.
  • Catherine: Awesome! Is there anything else we should know about here that’s helpful for tracking our project?
    • Rachel: Yep, there’s a couple more things!
    • We’ve also included the Gantt Chart on the detail page layout to provide a visual of your progress – I can easily adjust the timeline, status, and percent complete from here
    • Then, in addition to our milestones, we have an Action Items field here –
    • Action Items might serve as a smaller to-do list, like scheduling a phone call or buying supplies.
      • To add one, I can just double click, name the action, and assign appropriate deadlines, and Save
    • Catherine: As a tip for action item management, you might do what Arvada does, and keep ClearPoint up on the screen during your team meetings –
      • That way, you can easily capture and assign any action items that come up while they’re on everyone’s mind.

Links to show alignment (15:45)

  • Rachel: Another important reason why ClearPoint is great for tracking process improvement is that it allows you to link directly to impacted strategic objectives in your strategic plan so that you can easily see where your improvement efforts align with your overarching goals
    • To do this we can click Edit and then into the ‘Links’ tab and select which objective relates to our onboarding process – and ‘Add Link’
    • Catherine: Along those lines – we want to make sure to measure the changes from this project, right? To measure our impact?
    • Rachel: Great point! I’ll go ahead and link this to the Turnover Rate measure
      • If turnover rate goes down as a result of successful onboarding, especially within the first 6 months of employment, we’ll know our improvements are working!
  • Catherine – Wow! Our onboarding process improvement page is looking great!

Workflow Alerts (17:15)

  • Rachel – Totally! Now let’s set up alerts to help you automate communication with collaborators on this project. This will help keep your workflow moving.
    • Let’s say we want to alert all project collaborators as soon as a project is approved.
    • First, we’ll go to Notifications > Add and name it ‘Process Improvement Project Approved’
    • Then we can set up the criteria so that an email is sent when ‘Approved?’ equals ‘Yes’
    • And then we’ll head over to the Elements and Recipients tab to assign the notification.
    • We’ll link our process improvement project, and make sure this notification will be sent to all responsible parties
    • Catherine: Cool! Can we see it in action?
    • Rachel: Sure thing! If we go back to our project, we’ll set approved to Yes – and notice the notification that pops up in the top right corner.
      • Clicking on it, we’ll see more information about the project that was approved, and we’ll know that it’s time to dive in!

Summary Report (18:58)

  •  Catherine: Awesome! Now that we’ve got a clear picture of one of our process improvement projects, we might think about how to summarize all the activities our organization is undertaking.
    • Let’s talk through a couple of different reports we could create to keep track.
      • To start this process, I’m going to click into Initiatives > Manage Initiative Reports.
      • So say we only want to see the high priority projects we’re undertaking right now. Let’s call this report “Current Projects”
      • We could choose them individually, but let’s head over to the Filter tab so we can base our selection off the criteria we’re looking for.
      • First thing’s first – we want to cover priority. So I’ll add a filter for Priority > Equals > High.
      • And if we want to make sure we’re not getting a mess of completed projects in there, we can add a filter for Completed > Is False
  • For our purposes since we have a process improvement scorecard, we might then incorporate this report into a broader landing page for our scorecard as a whole, so that anyone from the leadership team or otherwise is able to come in and see important updates at a glance.
    • Again, I’ll want to make sure I have some custom fields at the ready….
      • So going back to Admin Options > Custom Fields,
        • I’ve already got an “Overview” text field. I want to add a couple of Data Grid custom fields, so that I can reference a couple of summary reports in-line with this information.
        • One of them is going to be our Active Projects report, so we’ll call it the same thing
        • And in the other, we’ll reference a Gantt Chart, so that we can see these projects across an overall timeline.
        • Great, now, we’ll save.
    • Then, let’s go to Manage Scorecards > Manage Scorecard Reports to create this page.
      • I’ll add a new page, and call it Process Improvement landing Page.
        • On our Page Layout Tab, I can then specify the fields I want to add.
        • Let’s pull out our Overview, Active Projects, and Gantt Chart field.
        • Then we’ll save, and finish filling out this information.
      • We’ve got our overview to provide a brief introduction to the motive behind these projects, where I’ll post a picture of our team and a little bit of info about our process.
      • And then in the Active Projects field, we’ll double click to fill in the report we want to display.
        • This is in our current scorecard > under Initiative reports > and we’ll pull in Active Projects.
      • Now for our Gantt Chart, we’ve actually got a default report that shows all the initiatives
  • Now, it’s time to put all your planning to the test!
    • As you go about implementing changes to your processes, it’s good to prepare for an adjustment period –
      • new ways of working can take some time to settle in, so remember to remind people why the changes are important so that old habits don’t take over
      • Sometimes when we implement a new process here at ClearPoint, and see a positive change as a result, our managers will email the whole team about it – it keeps everyone excited about the reasons we do what we do.
      • And if you need to schedule reports or email reminders in ClearPoint to keep things on track, we’ve got you covered.
      • There are definitely other webinars we can pass along for more information!
  • And it might not be perfect the first time, so don’t be afraid to keep improving!

Questions (24:57)

Now with our remaining time today, we’d love to open up the floor for your questions.

Q: What if you want to track different information about your project milestones from your project initiative?

  • Let’s navigate back here to our process improvement project, and as you remember we have our milestones on the side,
  • But what you might not have known is that you can click directly on the milestone and it has its own detail page.
  • I can create custom fields to track our information here as well: system settings > admin options > custom fields > and this is where I can add a custom field for my milestones
    • I’ll name it “Outcome of Milestones”, and this will be an HTML Text field
    • And if I Navigate back here to my milestone detail page, I can Edit Layout to make room for that field, just like we did for the initiative
    • And now I have the option to track this outcome specific to my milestone
  • Catherine: Great, and one thing that’s cool about milestones is that since they’re linked to one initiative, when you update the page layout of one, it updates all milestone detail pages linked to that initiative to include the Outcome field we just added.
  • So now I can track the outcome of each milestone one by one.

Q: Do collaborators receive a notification as well?

  • Great question! The way notifications work is that on that element and recipients tab you can see who is going to receive the notification for each element that you’ve linked
  • So if you want to set up notifications for another project, and you have someone else in mind to receive notifications about it, you can set that up here.
  • Another way to go about having collaborators notified, especially if your users aren’t administrators,
  • Is to add a notification for that element directly – in the edit window, they can choose specific criteria they’re really excited to get information about
    • OR because we set up that that approval template, we can just save the template for ourselves for that project, and once it gets approved, we can go ahead and start working on that project

Q: What if I want to use this initiative format on other projects. Do I have to set this up every time?

  • Luckily, no! There’s a couple of shortcuts there that you can leverage, one of which being our bulk edit layouts feature.
  • If we go into the edit layout window and click on the arrow next to the Save icon, there’s options to save for all initiatives in the scorecard, for all initiatives with the same name, and for all initiatives
  • Definitely be careful with those bulk saves, and make sure you choose the right option, but it’s a great shortcut
  • Another one is creating a template –
    • Assuming process improvement is a subset of your overall project tracking, we could just add a new initiative
    • Go to the detail page and make sure it has the fields we want to see on the page
    • Every time we want to add a new process improvement project > manage initiatives > duplicate > give it a new name
  • One other option is to go to admin options and go to report options, and here on default layout we can add the name of an existing initiative here, and when you add a new initiative, they’re all going to mimic this format
  • Rachel: That’s for your whole account, so all newly added elements are going to have that format

Catherine: Great! Well we’re reaching the end of our time here today – thank you so much for joining us on this episode of the “I Didn’t Know ClearPoint Could Do That!?!” Webinar Series, we hope to see you next time and Happy Reporting!