Here's what I like about the APQC approach:
- First, it acknowledges that schools are inhabited by passionate and smart teachers, administrators, and staff who really want to do a good job educating children. How many news stories lately highlight that aspect of school personnel? It's not the people who are causing the problems - it's the system, policies, and processes.
- Second, it provides a collaborative process for cross-functional teams to identify top problems to solve, uncover root causes, and create solutions together. No heavy dependency on expert consultants and 'gurus' telling the leaders what pedagogical approach is the best, what technology to use, what software to buy -- no flavor of the month!
- Third, it provides a customizable process that APQC consultants can align with district leaders' and stakeholders priorities and organizational culture. The approach helps districts focus on what's important, especially under today's budget constraints and high achievement expectations, and drive toward solid solutions that all stakeholders can buy into.
- Fourth, APQC builds capacity for the district to continue the process improvement and performance management approach to 'running the business' after the first few projects are successfully completed.
This approach is refreshing given all of the confusion in education today around the 'best program' to adopt. It puts solution development in the hands of the people who do the work, it leverages process and performance data, and it is guru-and technology agnostic! The APQC PPM approach has worked for 30 years in every other line of business -- it's time for school leaders to accept that they can learn something from those who have been successful in every other sector!