Where to Start?
If you haven't already gathered and collated your forms into one place, we'd suggest creating a forms repository before creating any electronic forms.
Creating a Forms Center on your portal takes all your existing forms and makes them available in one, central place. It's also a great way to get staff and teachers used to accessing your portal to find resources.
Create a Forms Center
It's a project which can typically be achieved by one person with just a couple of days of effort:
- Work with a stakeholder in each district department to collect one or more forms (typically as a PDF or Word file). Also include links to other online form systems, you might even capture verbal descriptions for simple processes.
- Work with each stakeholder to upload their forms to their district department site. If an electronic version doesn't exist consider scanning a copy to a PDF file or recreate a simple version in Word, then saved to PDF.
- On the Forms area of your district portal add a link, and description if appropriate, for each form. We'd recommend using the Forms list feature if you're not already using it.
- If a process is verbal or highly custom you can still include a note in the list. Simply add text with no link. For example 'Process Y - Talk to X at Z and provide them N' or 'Process Y - Please call XXX XXX XXXX'.
- Categorize each form with an appropriate category. When you're getting started stick with something simple such as the source department or related district function.
It doesn't have to be perfect! 80% is a long way to success.
In the future you can continue to optimize your Forms Center; add more forms or categories if people are having trouble finding resources.
The Next Step - Electronic Forms
If you've already created a forms center you likely already have a good idea of some processes. If not, consider talking to a few people in a department, or a specific role, to discover some opportunities and dig deeper.
Sometimes it's difficult for users to imagine something they don't have or are missing. Questions about their jobs and their workday can help:
- What manual processes do you engage in routinely?
- What information do you need and how does it come to you?
- What information do you produce and how do you distribute it?
- What frustrations do you have with your current routine?
- What solutions or workarounds do you use to solve frustrations?
- What online processes do you regularly use and how do they work for you?
- Have you previously seen or used solutions that would be useful to have here?
Assess the Top Processes
Work to prioritize your list of ideas into a top ten or five. Ideally your list will cover a wide variety of departments and functions. Sometimes the greatest value is a process where the current approach frustrates users the most.
Spend time with stakeholders and users to understand the ideal process from all perspectives. Sometimes processes must change significantly to fit an online environment.
For each process consider the following criteria:
- How does this process affect other processes?
- Must it be integrated into those other processes?
- What resources are required to web-enable the process?
- How easy or difficult will it be for employees to learn the new process?
- What are the tangible and intangible benefits to the organization?
- How easy will it be to implement the new process?
Generally we'd recommend picking the easiest form in your list and getting started there!
If you'd like more help get in touch now.