Case study: MWH Global Inc.

Pages 122-145.

Who Is MWH Global Inc.?

MWH Global Inc. (MWH) is an engineering and consulting firm focused on wet infrastructure, including water treatment, supply, and power. It has approximately 7,000 employees spread across 200 offices in 35 countries.

The company consists of consulting engineers, designers, and management consultants focused on all phases of the water cycle. Most of the staff (including knowledge workers) are people with scientific, engineering, design, or technical backgrounds. The type of work that MWH Global does and the skillsets of its work force determine the types of knowledge that the organization needs to manage namely, technical templates, project templates, forms, and checklists for consulting engagements.

MWH’s Knowledge Management program focuses on distributing information and expertise to its global workforce and embedding content directly into its processes and tools.

The case study describes the structure and the management of the database. It describes also the project delivery process. An overview of the process is shown in the text in a figure “Process Navigator,” where the different phases and project steps are presented*

Assessment of Case Study MWH Global Inc.

Summary assessment of the case study (see Figure 6.3)

■ Results

- One criterion is incomplete. No information is available for six criteria.

■ Enabler

  • - Plan phase: one criterion is complete, and three criteria are incomplete. No information is available for four criteria.
  • - Do phase: one criterion is complete, and two criteria are incomplete. No information is available for two criteria.

Ibid: p. 124

  • - Check phase: one criterion is complete, and two criteria are incomplete. No information is available for one criterion.
  • - Act phase: two criteria are incomplete. No information is available for three criteria.

■ Process: one criterion is complete, and one criterion is not available.

■ Format: there is no systematic approach used to describe the Best Practice in all its aspects and details.

Conclusion Case MWH Global Inc.

The text of the case study is 23 pages long. Yet little information relates to the characteristics of a Best Practice listed in the table of the BEST Quick Scan.

The text uses wording which does not describe a Best Practice. Some examples:

■ “particularly because content management is often not a department’s top priority.”

■ “Some of the Yammer groups have popped up because SharePoint became too cumbersome for dynamic discussions.”

■ “training, while the other half of the room says, 7 will never use this, it’s the worst thing ever.’”

■ “Standard templates were not consistently applied, and project teams were also using decentralized project storage and filing with inconsistent filing structures.”

“not every global standard was adhered to.”*

Best Practices are documented to share performance excellence that serves as benchmarking targets. Affirmative and positive language is expected. In this case, the BEST Quick Scan provides guidance on how the MWH processes can be improved to approach the level of a Best Practice. The Quick Scan does not validate that the process is already at Best Practice level.

Global Conclusion on the APQC Case Studies (Nalco and MWH Global Inc.)

It is remarkable that neither case study defines clearly what they want to enter into the knowledge management database and what the minimum

’ Ibid: pp. 122-145.

criteria are for an excellent knowledge management database. Without a clear definition of the intended content, the reader could assume that “everything that could be interesting” should be entered into the database.

Although both case studies use the term “Best Practice” several times, these cases do not contain enough information to be used as Best Practices. They focus on a tool (Knowledge Management Database) while a Best Practice focuses on the assessment of a process, including corresponding results, which support the achievement of the strategy and/or business plan of the company.

Case Study: Already Doing It and Not Knowing It

Author: Stephanie Bailey M.D., MSHSA

Book: The Public Health Quality Improvement Handbook, chapter 12, pp. 139-144.

Editor: ASQ Quality Press (2009)

In 1999, Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee, was number one in the country for incidence of syphilis. Nashville, according to the study that was eventually done about the epidemic, had been in an epidemic state since 1996- On October 7, 1999, the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a National Plan to Eliminate Syphilis from Nashville’s Health Department. At this time in history, less than 1% of US counties accounted for half of the reported syphilis cases. One half of all new syphilis cases were concentrated in 28 counties mainly in the south and select urban regions. Davidson County was one of the ten counties/cities with the highest number of reported syphilis cases. We created STD Free!*

Who Is Metro Public Health Department (MPHD) Nashville, Tennessee?

The mission of the Metro Public Health Department is to protect, improve, and sustain the health and well-being of all people in Metropolitan Nashville. Metro Public Health Department (MPHD) serves the Nashville metro and surrounding Davidson County areas and municipalities. Davidson

Bialek, Ron, Duffy, Grace L. and Moran, John W. The Public Health Quality Improvement Handbook, Quality Press, Milwaukee, WI, (2009) pp- 139, 140.

County, Tennessee is 526 square miles in size and has a total population of 679,000 persons.[1]

Assessment of Case Study Metro Public Health Department (MPHD) Nashville, Tennessee

6.3.4.2.1 Summary Assessment of the Case Study (see Figure 6.4)

This is an interesting case because at first view it appears that this is a complete Best Practice. When the BEST Quick Scan is applied, there is not enough information to conclude that this is a true Best Practice. The case study is well written. It is a very good project description. It would not be enough for another Health Department to use for benchmarking to improve their own related processes.

The following overview gives an idea to what extent the case study can be considered a Best Practice.

■ Results

- Five criteria are complete. No information is available for two criteria.

■ Enabler

  • - Plan phase: three criteria are complete, and four criteria are incomplete. No information is available for one criterion.
  • - Do phase: four criteria are complete. No information is available for one criterion.
  • - Check phase: two criteria are complete, and one criterion is incomplete. No information is available for one criterion.
  • - Act phase: one criterion is complete, and two criteria are incomplete. No information is available for two criteria.

■ Process: two criteria are incomplete.

■ Format: there is no systematic approach used to describe the Best Practice in all its aspects and details.

Conclusion of the Nashville, TN Case Studies

Too many criteria in the enabler component are missing. Therefore, this case study cannot be considered as a Best Practice. We are convinced that the

BEST Quick Scan Metro Public Health Department (MPHD), Nashville, TN

Figure 6.4 BEST Quick Scan Metro Public Health Department (MPHD), Nashville, TN

case study would qualify as a Best Practice if the author of this chapter had the BEST Quick Scan tool as a guide while writing the case study. One of the authors of this Best Practice text assisted in the editing of this case study when originally written. The data existed in the project files. The BEST Quick Scan tool was not yet available for reference.

Case Study: Why Is Singapore’s School System So Successful and Is It a Model for the West?

Author: David Hogan, Honorary Professor, the University of Queensland Website: http://theconversation.com/why-is-singapores-school-system-so -successful-and-is-it-a-model-for-the-west-22917

This is an interesting case because it concerns a process at a high level, i.e. a countrywide educational system. Singapore is successful in many endeavors. There are very few countries that perform as well on economic plans and educational systems. Singapore has achieved an annual GDP growth of over 4% for more than 40 years. This does not happen by accident. This sustained performance is a result of well-thought planning, organization, and monitoring[2]

Assessment of Case Study Singapore’s School System

Summary assessment of the case study 8 (see Figure 6.5)

■ Results

- Seven criteria are complete.

The important results here are the international PISA' tests of OECD/

■ Enabler

  • - Plan: seven criteria are complete. No information is available for one criterion.
  • - Do: five criteria are complete.
BEST Quick Scan

Figure 6.5 BEST Quick Scan: Education system in Singapore,

  • - Check: three criteria are complete. No information is available for one criterion.
  • - Act: five criteria are complete.

■ Process: both criteria are incomplete, although it is possible that the process is well described and reviewed on a regular basis based upon the completeness of other criteria.

■ Format: there is no systematic approach used to describe the Best Practice in all its aspects and details.

Conclusion

The results and enabler criteria are nearly complete. If the process and format criteria would have been described, we could consider this case study as a Best Practice. Some additional on-site verification or documentation would complete the missing elements.

This case study warrants the application of the detailed BEST-tool because the BEST Quick Scan gives a positive indication that this is truly a Best Practice.

Additional Comments

A Best Practice assessment is usually performed by the organization itself. The organization must know its requirements, plans, and objectives. An analysis of the Singapore educational system from a Western point of view (the USA or Europe) could be clouded by cultural differences rather than learning from this case study. The educational system in Singapore differs from the Western context, but nevertheless Singapore’s students are performing at high levels. A benchmarking partner should learn from the differences.

An on-site visit would be appropriate to verify that this is truly a Best Practice. The Quick Scan provides the justification for a more in-depth benchmarking partnership. A face-to-face working relationship with the Singapore educational system will provide the details and insight to finalize a complete BEST-assessment.

The BEST Quick Scan would be useful for the Minister of Education in Singapore to identify where further improvements are possible. As this case study is a Best Practice, we recommend the application of the detailed BEST-tool, which will generate an effective gap analysis for continuous improvement.

  • [1] www.nashville.gov/Health-Department/About-Us.aspx, Nashville, TN Health Department website,accessed 12/29/2019.
  • [2] Ghesquire, Henry, Singapore’s Success, Engineering Economic Growth, Thomson Learning, (a division of Thomson Asia Pte Ltd), Singapore (2007). 1 PISA: Programme for International Student Assessment, www.oecd.org/pisa/ accessed 12/29/2019.The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): www.oecd.org/about/accessed 12/29/2019; www.compareyourcountry.org/pisa accessed 12/29/2019. This is an international and standardized test that is executed on a regular basis in 24 Western countries.
 
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