Thursday, March 25, 2010

Green Team Summary of Findings: Best Pratices (3 out of 5 stars)

Note: This post represents the synthesis of the thoughts, procedures and experiences of others as represented in the 14 articles read in advance of (see previous posts) and the discussion among the students and instructor during the Advanced Analytic Techniques class at Mercyhurst College on 25 March 2010 regarding Best Practices specifically. This technique was evaluated based on its overall validity, simplicity, flexibility and its ability to effectively use unstructured data.

Best Practice is a technique, method, or process that is believed to be more effective at delivering a particular outcome than any other technique, method, or process when applied to a particular industry. The idea is that with the proper processes, checks, and testing, a desired outcome can be delivered with fewer problems and unforeseen complications. Best practices can also be defined as the most efficient (least amount of effort) and effective (best results) way of accomplishing a task, based on repeatable procedures that have proven themselves over time for large numbers of people.

  • Holistic
  • Allows practitioners to become more competitive
  • Increase sales and develop new markets
  • Reduce costs and become more efficient
  • Improve the skills of your workforce
  • Use technology more effectively
  • Reduce waste and improve quality
  • Respond more quickly to innovations in your sector

  • Does not account for the culure within an organization or context
  • Confined to a specific time frame
  • Difficult to determine which variables to assess
  • Risk of drawing incorrect assumptions about best practices

How To:
1) Identify one process or problem to improve.
2) Find a way to quantifiy your problem; a way in which it can be measured.
3) Find competitors and companies within your industry and outside your industry. This can be accomplished through researching industry trends and literature, and speaking with consultants, academics, and interest group officials on the subject matter.
4) Selecting appropriate organizations for your review.
5) Collect information on the successful, best practices of selected organizations.
6) Modify the best practice for your situation by changing the process/technique after going through the process and repeat.
7) Implement the process then measure the results.

Personal Application of Technique:
The class looked at the best practices for Liberal Arts college homepages based on USA Today's list of the top 10 liberal arts colleges. Our definition of "best" is based on the practices of the "best" liberal arts colleges, or the top 10. Specifically, we looked at the layouts of these homepages and identified how many of the top 10 included a central visual/image, lateral image, or image on the top of their homepages. This exercise was not weighted towards any particular college and the results are based on the number of colleges that include each item.

The result of the application was that the majority of colleges used a central image and an image at the top of the page. However, most of the colleges did not use a lateral image. Therefore, using the group's definition of "best" for the scope of this project, the Best Practice for the layout of the homepage for a liberal arts college should include a central image and an image at the top of the page.

For Further Information:

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