Opportunities For Success in Your Career

For the Final Project paper you will develop a proposal to improve a process in your current organization or a previous organization. We talk about work examples as they apply continuous improvement and Baldrige from your experience throughout this course; your final project is an application of what we learn in this course and applied to a work situation based on your experience in a previous or past organization. Yes, this is probably unlike anything you have previously developed in a graduate course because it is a direct application that uses information from this class to help you improve a work situation through your leadership. The goal of this project is to create a proposal that you should be able to submit to your organizational leadership. In this process, you are writing a story or a case for continuous improvement.
You will identify a problem by the end of week three (and post this in the designated area of the discussion board) that requires a TQM/CI process improvement initiative through an organization with which you are or were associated. Remember: This is a proposal – you will not be providing results and outcomes; instead, you are making a proposal that will include ways to measures for these results. You should choose a topic that is either good for your organization or good for your career. This project is meant to be a substantive piece that can be developed for enhancing your work, resume, and overall opportunities for success.
Part 1 – Your Topic

You should have already read the instructions for the final paper. Your initial proposal for Week 3 should be much easier. Think about process improvement of any type that would be beneficial in your organization and explain it in 4-6 sentences. For final approval, post a paragraph in the assigned discussion board with your topic, provide a little background for informational purposes; explain which diagnostic model you are going to use as well as what process you want to improve (this is also problem-solving, but with continuous improvement, you will always be making things more efficient and more effective). Explain why the model is appropriate; provide at least one reference (APA format) that you are using. The purpose of the proposal is to make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to work on before you get to the project due date – plan your project early, this gives you plenty of time to develop your project. The final proposal is not graded. Respond to your initial topic in the same discussion board with the information required for the final approval if needed. You will need to include your diagnostic model and reference with your submission to receive approval for going forward with the project.
Part 2 – Your Project:

You will develop the Final Project paper by clearly explaining the problem and by building a continuous improvement proposal that you can use immediately by integrating assessment models, a SWOT, Baldrige, quality tools and proposed ways to measure outcomes (all of which we cover in discussion boards and readings/text). If you already have completed the change class use what you already learned. A list of required components as they relate to format and writing in general can be found in the project rubric and the following instructions which will be used to grade this case.

Required Project Components:

You will use your textbook, a diagnostic model the Baldrige Framework, a SWOT analysis, proposed quality tools and measures and Kotter’s implementation model:
• Baldrige Framework (MBNQA)- Criteria 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (we do not use #7 because it is about results from all the other Criteria). Please note that Framework Criteria #1 through #6 are required, this is not optional. You may not pick and choose which ones you wish to use, it is required that you use all of them except #7. Keep in mind that Baldrige is a systematic approach to continuous improvement, so all the Criteria are separate elements of a systematic approach. If you leave out one, it is going to cause problems. Use this as a diagnostic model in addition to the 6 Box or 7S model
• 6 Box and 7 S diagnostic models (pick one)
o These are provided in Canvas if anyone has not had the MGT6681/MSM 6635 course yet. If you wish to use a different model and you have completed MGT 6681, please contact the instructor before proceeding and make your case. The Bolman and Deal 4 Frame model works well for the military, and the Nadler and Tushman model is also a possibility.
• Kotter’s implementation model (8 steps)
• SWOT analysis –PESTEL is not an additional requirement, please see below:
o Please note that although the PESTEL was completed in the Case Analysis paper, it is not necessary to re-create it again in addition to the SWOT. All that is required is a correct SWOT. Because SWOT and PESTEL are new for many students, the PESTEL is used in the Case Analysis paper only to help students identify threats and opportunities because PESTEL is external to the organization as are threats and opportunities. Review your SWOT to make sure that your opportunities and threats are external and correct. A SWOT usually requires a minimum of three in each category.
• Measurement instruments (existing surveys and other measures can be used, or you can suggest some from other sources – just provide an example) and at least two measures are required. Proposed measures must be directly related and relevant to desired outcomes. Two basic measures include one of whether the work goal was accomplished, another one is how effective was the improvement process; since the proposal is for a work goal, these are two measures are for very different things. Please see the end of this paper for more information. Such measures are in addition to any proposals that include baselining and benchmarking. Use work measures if they are appropriate.
• Tools – There is a discussion board about tools such as Kaizen, 5 Ss, Kanban, etc. There are many tools that are available for continuous improvement efforts, select the ones that are appropriate for your project. Six Sigma is not the answer to everything as we have discussed. Do not count PDSA or DMAIC as a tool, because these are process improvement (decision-making) models as opposed to the specific tools you can use. For example, you might select Kaizen as one of your improvement methods once you have completed PDSA and identified specific areas that could benefit from some of the quality tools we discussed.

Good to know:

• Sample papers from students who completed this program successfully are available in the course (see the “Start Here” module). It is strongly recommended that you review these papers for format, content, and sequence – the papers may help you develop your own proposal. Keep in mind that these papers are good but not perfect, and some are in APA 6th – always use the current edition, which is currently APA 7th edition.
• This paper is a business proposal not a typical research paper. So, there are several differences. For example, an executive summary is required instead of an abstract. An executive summary is a summary of the entire paper where you explain the issue, what you are proposing, and what you expect – this is quite literally a summary of your document in 2 pages or less. Do not write an abstract, do not tell the reader what you will do in the paper. Instead, explain your analysis, your issues, and your recommendations. Above all, remember your audience. Use language that is understandable and remember that your audience is probably an executive with very little time so keep the summary short, complete, and concise.
• Do not write in first person (I, we, etc.). This should be written in third person so the focus is on improving the process.
• Never present recommendations before you have conducted an analysis or analyses. Recommendations are derived from issues, and issues are derived from models and analyses. Do this in the correct order so your proposal will make proper sense.
• A recommended reference format for the Baldrige Framework is located near the beginning of the Baldrige book at the bottom of the page.
You will develop a paper (body) that is ten to fifteen pages plus a title page, table of contents, executive summary, references page(s), and appendices all following APA requirements (title page, double-spaced, APA citations and references, etc.). When you are writing your own case, you first want to have the story clear in your mind. Then review your case keeping the Criteria in mind looking to see where they fit. Please keep in mind that a textbook is not ordinarily used for references because it is, in and of itself, a huge list of information from references. However, in this course you may use your textbook as a reference with a maximum of four citations. Other textbooks from previous courses are limited to two citations.
You will need a minimum of twelve references, at least eight of which must be academic articles with one of the remaining minimum being the Baldrige Framework. How to write the reference for the Framework is available in the Baldrige document, use this for your reference format. You may use any of the academic articles in this course or those you may find in the Troy Global Campus Library. Academic articles do not include the textbook, these are journal articles that have been peer-reviewed that can be found on the library guide for this course or in the library. Do not use URLs to replace academic articles. In addition, do not use articles taken from anything like Wikipedia, the Huffington Post, or any opinion website. TQM requires management by fact, not opinion or hearsay. Use your academic references to support your recommendations. This makes your proposal stronger because you are bringing an expert opinion. Your recommendations cannot be based only on your opinion.
Follow the same paper outline described in Case Analysis paper (title page, executive summary, introduction, background, current situation, implications, and conclusions) but remember to include a table of contents and the other items noted earlier in this document.

Keep in mind that it is necessary to establish the background, the problem, and provide diagnoses before you can start recommending improvements or how to implement these improvements. So, again, never provide recommendations before the diagnosis because you cannot possibly know or discuss what needs to be improved without first having a diagnosis of what the problems might be.
Please see below for a list of required section titles and components in this order:

• Executive Summary.
• Title page with your name, table of contents, sections headers, APA formatted references, appendices and attachments as needed. Treat this as a business document, even though it is also partly a research project. (Table of Contents-use the feature in Microsoft Word, it’s much easier.)
• Background (always provide a properly formatted citation on a reference for the organization, a website will work. If you want to have the organization remain anonymous, please contact the instructor. Remember your SWOT issues, diagnosis issues, and recommendations need to align. Keep this alignment in mind when you work on issues and recommendations.
• A statement of the problem – identify the process/issue and why this is causing problems
• Diagnoses (identify the problems that need attention and explain why, this may be provided in a 3 column table- 1) issue, 2) why, then the 3) item – S, W, O or T)
o The SWOT analysis – this is the “big picture” analysis, the details should be included as an appendix, but you should provide a few key items in the body of the paper. Remember, if you have a problem identifying what is external for opportunities and threats, use the PESTEL model to assist you. Use the PESTLE for threats and opportunities. Your SWOT should have three items in each category.
o Diagnostic model 6 Box or 7 S diagnostic model (or the Four Fame or Nadler and Tushman’s model with permission – pick only one model to use) – what do you see in this case? Apply a model. Identify and provide an analysis of the areas for improvement using your chosen model and explain what needs to be improved and why. Keep in mind this is also your discussion on how systems theory applies, and that your analysis and diagnosis will most certainly impact other parts of the organization. Do not pick and choose two or three parts of your diagnostic model, when you select the model you must use every part otherwise you are leaving out part of your diagnosis. Again, provide the key elements in your paper and provide the details in the appendices. You identify concerns in your diagnosis models which then translate into issues. Keep this in a logical sequence.
o Baldrige Framework 1-6: Use Baldrige to help you identify areas of improvement. Identify one area in each of the Criteria 1-6, being specific to identify what part of these Criteria applies in your situation. Do not use #7, that is only for the results, and we do not have results because this is only a proposal. Do not use the Profile included with Baldrige. The basic idea for proposing process improvement is to integrate multiple models because process improvement is complex and includes many aspects; demonstrate that you can do this. We do not use any of the evaluation criteria, this takes weeks of training and scoring is reserved for the Baldrige Evaluators. NOTE: Baldrige strategy #2 is the overall organizational strategy. Keep in mind that you might be dealing with lower levels of strategy such as operational strategy and tactical strategy (activities). These are appropriate; do not forget to make sure they have a relationship with the overarching strategy as described in Baldrige.

• Summary of the issues identified in the diagnoses (using SWOT and diagnostic model). Are your issues aligned with your recommendations and the KSF /KPIs you identified earlier? Make sure they are.
• Recommendations to address the issues; address every issue identified.
• Implementation – once you have recommendations, you are ready to propose your implementation with Kotter’s model. Provide some detail so it is specific to your environment.
• Explain what quality tools are proposed, be specific. Remember: PDSA and DMAIC are process improvement models and for the purposes of this paper they are not considered quality tools. If you recommend a process improvement model, it is in addition to any tools you propose. Review the tools discussion in the course if you need ideas or refer to your textbook or the videos in the course.
• Measures (2) + baseline or benchmark – Include at least one application of a baseline or a benchmark, and then address how you would 1) determine how you will measure to see how effective your process changes/improvements will be and 2) determine if customer satisfaction or stakeholder satisfaction has improved. One is to evaluate your process; one is to evaluate impact on others. Also discuss how you will use your data to make improvements. Provide more detail than just saying you are going to use a survey. If your organization already uses measurement methods, you may include them here if they are appropriate. You may also search the Internet for better measures, but provide citations and references from anything borrowed from another source.
o Do not confuse baselining and benchmarking.
o One baseline does not constitute a measurement, but several baselines in between changes and improvements can be a measurement.
• Conclusions/Summary (What are your expectations for this proposal, and how can it help the organization?) Include any other comments you believe to be appropriate. Include comments about your expected outcomes.
Note: Include appendices in your paper so some items such as the diagnostic model and Kotter’s implementation model do not have to be placed in the body the paper because they are usually large and will disrupt the flow of your paper. The appendices are for details, but key items must be included in the body of the paper, as readers should not have to flip back and forth between the paper and the appendices to figure out what the writer means. In addition, the SWOT can be an appendix, and you can simply refer to ‘Appendix XYZ’ instead of writing out all the information in the body of the paper – but key details are still needed in the paper itself. If you use this as a business proposal, the appendices will be very effective in providing specifics for your process improvement proposal.
The instructor strongly recommends that as you progress through the course, you should be developing 1-2 pages on your topic area for each one of the criteria. In this way you will not have an entire paper to develop in the last 2 to 3 weeks. Note: It is strongly recommended that you download and use Grammarly while writing your paper. It catches many errors. It would also be good to know how to use Microsoft Word’s table of contents feature. You must have the 2021-2022 version of Baldrige, not an older version; this changes every two years.

Points to Consider:

A few examples are provided to help you see how these might fit into your final paper. Use your own judgment and use your own approach:

For Kotter, include a diagram or written steps that explain the model in an appendix with appropriate citations/reference (e.g., Appendix A). List the key points for your paper with that model in the appendix, and be sure to include enough detail so someone else can implement your plan. Based on the analysis provided in the appendix, these key points were determined as the central to the change and improvement effort (and then have a short explanation).

As you can see, this does not need to take up five to six pages when you can do it in one or two instead. Likewise, for the SWOT analysis – and be sure to watch the videos so the difference is clearly understood between what is internal and what is external – put the diagram in an appendix along with the explanation and then refer to it in your paper with a paragraph. Whatever additional diagrams or figures you wish to use may also be included in the appendices if they are appropriately noted with an explanation of why they are included in your paper. This should save a significant amount of paper space. Remember that APA has rules for appendices. Keep in mind that most figures and diagrams belong in an appendix because they are often large and disruptive to the flow of the paper when placed in the body of the paper.

When determining what types of measures will be used to determine 1) whether your continuous improvement process was effective and 2) if the goal was attained for whatever project. There are many ways of obtaining information other than surveys. If you do include a survey, you must have another method such as a focus group, a post-project assessment, or anyone of many possible approaches. Feel free to use existing organizational surveys if appropriate. Finally, benchmarking and baselining are also types of measurement and may be used in addition to the two specific measures. Best wishes going forward with writing your Final Project paper.

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