Strategy and Operations

Strategy Operations

Client: U.S. Department of Justice

Introduction

The Department of Justice asked Savan Group to assist in a Change Management and Process Improvement project aimed at improving the way its directives – the Department’s policies, procedures, and delegations – are managed. To support the Directives Management (DM) improvement effort, Savan Group has assessed the legacy DM Program and provided a series of recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the program and reduce risk. Over a period of two years, we have helped DOJ to implement those improvements. Savan Group’s activities include:

  • Conducting a comprehensive study of best practices and evaluating program activities and compliance requirements for the Department-wide directives management system;
  • Detailing alternative processes and policies for consideration and recommendations for program improvement; and
  • Supporting modernization through training, outreach, technical support and tool development, and program monitoring.

Approach

As an initial step in modernizing the DM Program, Savan Group conducted a comprehensive study of DM best practices. The best practices research consisted of interviews with the directives and records management staff of 12 federal agencies as well as DOJ components. Using a survey developed by Savan Group for the project, the interviews explored standard operating procedures, program governance, and techniques used to reduce risks in other agencies’ directives programs. These surveys supported the development of comparative metrics. The findings of the best practices research were compiled along with interviewees’ comments and included in a final report to the Department.

The second phase of the DM improvement was focused on outreach to stakeholders and partners, as well as development of tools to support the new DM Program. To bring existing DOJ policies and guidance into the new Program, Savan Group conducted an extensive inventory of orders, bulletins, notices, guidebooks, manuals, memos, and other policy and procedure documents across the Department. For each component organization we developed an update plan to evaluate, rewrite, and approve new directives in compliance with the DM Program. Frequently, our work entailed working directly with DOJ organizations to update old directives. Additionally, Savan Group created templates, manuals, and other tools to assist component organizations in developing new and updated directives.

Currently, Savan Group is further enhancing the DM Program through development of a centralized website – the DM Portal – to house directives and support the writing, review, and approval of new and updated directives. Developed using Microsoft’s SharePoint, the tool is user-friendly and accessible to all DOJ employees. By providing a single location for DOJ directives, and tools to search and sort information, the Portal significantly improves the distribution of directives. Additionally, the Portal provides a place to collaborate on new directives as they are written and reviewed. Savan Group is providing training to stakeholders on the use of the tool and on DM procedures.

Impact

Savan Group’s work at DOJ helped informed program partners and stakeholders of the requirements for proper management of directives, and risks posed by the legacy DM Program. At the conclusion of the project’s first phase, Savan Group helped DOJ identify tactical opportunities for improvement. Our ongoing modernization has achieved significant process improvements and realized efficiencies in directives development and distribution. Throughout, we have helped to justify the ongoing modernization by using quantitative metrics.