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Making Efficiency a Reality: How the PPT Framework Delivers Results



From talent shortages to the digital transformation push of AI, the pressure to maintain a competitive edge in an evolving economy has organizations increasingly overwhelmed. In the midst of conflicting deadlines and fire drills, how can we find the magic number of productivity hacks that will give our teams time to innovate? Across Google searches and LinkedIn articles, you’re met with headlines of hollow words –


  • “Supercharge your practice with new ideas and innovation”

  • “Embracing AI: A Roadmap to Efficiency and Innovation”

  • “Increase Efficiencies, Cut Costs, Transform Your Business”


How do we turn the promises of transformative tech into tangible results? A structured approach to efficiency becomes more and more essential with each new solution. Since the 1960s, in evolving forms, the People, Process, Technology (PPT) framework has guided organizations looking to optimize their operations. Let this article guide you through each component of the framework and demonstrate how they interact to help you create efficiencies in your business.


Change is a Balancing Act

Created by Harold Leavitt in his article “Applied Organizational Change in Industry,” the Diamond Model for change adoption presented four interdependent components present in every organization: Tasks, Structure, People, and Technology. The concept suggests that initiating change in one area will trigger corresponding changes in the others, and in order to execute change successfully, all components must be considered in order to maintain an effective balance.


Over time, Structure and Tasks simplified into “Process,” and in the 1990s, the PPT Framework was revived in the context of IT security ecosystems with an emphasis on how the components interact with each other. Regardless if your business is IT, manufacturing or professional services, the PPT framework drives home that change is never siloed, and you should turn to your company’s building blocks to ensure efficient operations.


The Building Blocks of PPT


People: Who Does the Work

People are the individuals responsible for executing tasks, setting goals, coming up with ideas, and driving the company forward. Their unique skill sets and experiences mix to create the culture in which you need to execute change and deliver results.


Process: How the Work Gets Done

Processes are the guides that your people create and use to move tasks forward and support decision-making. They are a series of actions structured in a particular way to deliver quality work and achieve specific goals. Processes define how an organization functions on a daily, monthly, and annual basis.


Technology: What Makes the Work Flow

Technology encompasses the tools and systems that support your human efforts and enable your processes to run consistently and efficiently. Technology is implemented to improve, automate, or accelerate your processes, not work against them.


P+P+T = Harmony

The PPT framework creates maximum value when the sum of its parts are working in harmony. The framework is commonly presented as a Venn diagram to highlight how each component overlaps and the corresponding actions that result when the components are balanced.


Collaboration

Collaboration is critical for individuals to work together in the processes and workflows they develop. A complete understanding of a task or situation is necessary in order to streamline work. Open communication and knowledge sharing can help you find efficiencies just as much as a software program. Find ways to ensure equal participation and inclusion; dominant or siloed voices will hold back buy-in and alignment across the entire team.


Automation

Automation leverages tools to streamline and reduce routine tasks. This is the traditional go-to when thinking of efficiency; it can directly reduce errors or accelerate time to finish a task. There tends to be measurable outcomes you can track to show improvements. The consistency created through automated processes allows teams to scale successfully and free up time for value-add tasks. The balance here is not to over-rely on automation without considering flexibility and human oversight checkpoints.


Innovation

Innovation is the driving force behind growth, and it thrives when people leverage technology to create meaningful change. By using technology, value-add time is given back to teams to analyze data, trends, and track progress. They can focus on identifying new areas of work to improve that contribute to sustainable growth. Be wary of using technology alone to drive decisions – always remember to consider the people factor and context versus data alone.


Use PPT to Find Gaps & Opportunities


So, how do you know what to focus on to create efficiencies? First, identify an area where you feel like you’re falling short or think you can improve; this can be based on key performance indicators, your company’s goals, key customer or team feedback. Next, analyze the area through the lenses of People, Process, and Technology. Engage with your team to better understand the situation, their experiences and ideas. Here is an example of how to evaluate a situation.


Use Case: You invested time and money into a software solution that will help your team plan their projects, but the team isn’t adopting it. You believe this solution will help long-term and allow your team to have more time for professional development, but so far, the team doesn’t feel the same way.


People: Did you involve them in the software evaluation? Did you provide them with training? Are the right people involved? Talk with your team, and ask them for feedback and their understanding of why the platform was implemented. Does that align with why you added it to their routines? Identify their barriers with and without the platform.


Process: Did you provide clear guidelines on expectations and timing? Was there a process before you moved to the software platform? If not, you’re facing a double learning curve. Work to understand what the key actions are from a process standpoint and work with the team to provide specific trainings to support them.


Technology: Does the platform have the features you need to report on the results you want? Is the interface easy to understand? Does this work with other platforms or processes they’re already using?


In this case, let’s assume there wasn’t a process to begin with. Implementing the solution without a process resulted in fragmented use, misaligned expectations and ultimately went against what you were trying to accomplish – reducing the workload of your team. Now you know where to go to work – help your team build a process that make sense for how they work.


Conclusion

The PPT framework offers a holistic approach to evaluating your operations for efficiencies. By considering the interactions between people, processes, and technology, you can hone in on areas to make impactful change while maintaining balance with your company.



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