Department purpose analysis

What is it?

Department purpose analysis (DPA) is a process for applying the concepts and principles of management in a practical way. It is designed to ensure that a department, team or group is achieving goals that contribute to the company's strategy and overall goals, and that the department's activities add value. A key step in the process is a clear focus on agreeing, measuring and meeting customer (internal and external) requirements

When to use it

  • As part of an ongoing improvement plan
  • Where there is confusion over roles, responsibilities or purpose
  • To highlight opportunities for improvement
  • To identify staffing requirements
  • When considering organisational changes so that roles and customer/supplier requirements are clearly understood

What does it achieve?

DPA takes management concepts and principles and allows them to be applied in the work environment. The key ones are:

  • Role/goal clarity
  • Meeting customer/supplier requirements
  • Clear performance standards (no 'license to fail')
  • Appropriate measurement
  • Focus on failure so that improvement opportunities are identified and actioned
  • Building in prevention of problems
  • Value-added job for all
  • Continuous improvement

Key steps

DPA is a five-step process, the objective is to ensure that a department 'Does it right first time'

Step 1 - key activity statement

  • List department key skills
  • Identify and agree departments top ten activities

Step 2 Purpose and goals

  • Identify company/group function, mission and strategies
  • Check that operations match organization, mission, goals and priorities
  • Check that management agrees

Step 3 Customer and supplier review

  • Identify and talk to your customers and suppliers
  • Identify and agree requirements
  • Agree measurements

Step 4 Time and skills analysis

  • Capture information on current activities
  • Track time and resource spent
  • Identify value-added activities
  • Focus on failure and identify opportunities for improvement

Step 5 Action plan

  • Check value-added activities against mission, goals, priorities and customer/supplier requirements
  • Prioritise improvement opportunities and identify project(s)
  • Implement project(s) using 5 stage project approach
  • Identify and display key measurements
  • Review and monitor progress