FACT: Facilitation and Collaborative Techniques
The number of facilitated work sessions dedicated to capital expenditure (CapEx) projects—our highest priority and most visible efforts—increased by 15%.
Across all major lines of business:
- 65 CapEx projects have used at least one facilitated work session
- 13 CapEx projects have used four or more facilitated work sessions to achieve project objectives.
98% of work session sponsors and participants stated that the sessions reduced the amount of time needed to produce key deliverables.
97% of work session sponsors and participants stated that deliverables produced from facilitated work sessions was of a higher quality than what was produced using other approaches.
Context and challenges
Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp (“USB”), with $464 billion in assets as of June 30, 2017, is the parent company of U.S. Bank National Association, the fifth-largest commercial bank in the United States. The company operates 3,088 banking offices in 25 states and 4,826 ATMs and provides a comprehensive line of banking, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions.
The current Chief Information Officer (CIO) joined the company in 2012, bringing with him years of experience and a strong commitment to getting work done collaboratively. With mounting pressures to improve capabilities—for example, increase presence in the quickly changing mobile and online banking space—and deliver products and services faster to a changing marketplace, an idea took shape. A new approach was needed to optimize project techniques that would enable U.S. Bank to compete more effectively in the market.
The CIO knew that bringing people together to solve project definition and delivery in a collaborative way and using facilitated workshops to create project deliverables was a new way of thinking about work at U.S. Bank. After months of hiring facilitation capability externally, demand for this approach grew. Internal capabilities were needed, and a “three-day training class” was not the answer—these capabilities would take time and practice to build effectively.
A program that combined training and real-world practice with experienced facilitators was required. To this end, an apprenticing program was defined to build internal capabilities in facilitation and collaborative techniques to meet the project definition and delivery challenges. The FACT (Facilitation and Collaborative Techniques) apprenticing program was born.
- To develop internal U.S. Bank expertise in facilitation and collaborative practices.
- To use this expertise across the divisions of U.S. Bank to increase engagement with the business throughout the project lifecycle.
Desired results were that the organisation would see:
- Use of techniques that enable a shared understanding of the scope, the desired business needs, client/user experience, business process and supporting roles and technology requirements.
- Reduced rework and time spent in non-value-add activities.
- Improved quality of deliverables.
- Better preparation for and adoption of change.
In 2013, a total of 12 apprentices were chosen to take part in an intensive seven-month facilitation apprentice program to build an internal facilitation capability within U.S. Bank. The program was named Facilitation and Collaborative Techniques (FACT). Each month, apprentices attended a week‐long training led by IAF Certified™ Professional Facilitators from Resource Advantage Inc.
During these sessions, apprentices learned a wide array of skills including how to facilitate process value analysis, ideation, prioritisation and decision-making, business requirements, and risk analysis with teams.
To gain experience in the real-world, apprentices partnered with Resource Advantage Inc. to facilitate work sessions throughout U.S. Bank. By its ﬁfth month, apprentices had partnered on 25 collaborative working sessions spanning across ﬁve business areas.
In 2014, the Process Innovation and Development Group was formed within U.S. Bank and became home for the FACT program and team. Four of the graduates became part of this dedicated team; the remaining graduates returned to their areas of the business capable of using facilitation techniques as part of their job role. It was a year of building and marketing the new skills to the organisation.
2015 and 2016 have shown the results of the investment originally made in 2013. Demand for facilitation services continues to grow with demand exceeding capacity. During 2015 and 2016, 191 facilitated work sessions were completed supporting five core business lines (Consumer Banking, Community Banking, Commercial Banking, Wholesale Banking, and Wealth Management) as well as Technology Services. In addition to providing facilitated work session support, the FACT team provides consulting and knowledge-sharing services to groups who are interested in using facilitation skills and techniques to improve their outcomes.