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Impact of COVID-19 on Conducting the Value Methodology

Wednesday, March 18, 2020  
Posted by: SAVE International
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SAVE International, as the leader in Value, is reaching out to our members and constituents in an effort to aid you and your organization related to conducting value studies and the current health challenges. As we are all aware, we are currently facing some unforeseen, uncertain and troubling times. SAVE would like to focus on this as a time to remind ourselves of the best next steps to keep everyone safe and still ensure that you have the ability to meet your program goals and schedules. We want to reassure you that everyone’s safety is our highest priority and that our core values remain as strong as ever.

SAVE is staying optimistic and encouraging all of our members to support each other at this unusual time. With this in mind, we see SAVE as a part of the solution in helping you and your organization meet your program goals.

Impact on Traditional Workshops

SAVE’s stance on value workshops is that workshops achieve greater success and outcomes when the teams come together face-to-face. This ensures face-to-face communication, collaboration and the opportunity to learn from one another. In an effort to support your organization and the continued use of the Value Methodology (VM), we support the use of virtual workshops for this interim period. However, SAVE perceives this as an opportunity to begin to accommodate the future realities of integrating technology into the way we do business and this includes VM workshops. We will be using this as a period to monitor and test the effectiveness of virtual workshops for the future.

Virtual Workshops

To ensure that your workshops remain successful and that the virtual workshops do not take away from the VM and the outcomes, we believe that very specific protocols need to be considered and in place. SAVE has identified generic protocols that we believe will help you in the development of more detailed scopes of work, protocols and delivery of virtual VM workshops. These include the following:

  • Keep the number of interaction points to a minimum. Be aware that multiple interaction points can lead to a lack of participation and collaboration and an objective, as possible, should be to reduce the number of interaction points.
  • Plan for team’s engagement full-time. Full-time engagement, virtually, can be difficult at best. VM workshops are successful because of the full-time commitment of team members in the workshop. A mechanism needs to be in place to ensure that workshop members are engaged full-time. Within this protocol, you may want to identify additional ways to engage participants and allow longer breaks.
  • Prepare in advance for how to work in the Function Analysis phase. Function Analysis and Function Modelling is at the core of the VM. This is a communication exchange process that identifies, tests and confirms functions with the entire team. Look for ways to engage your participants in a collaborative sense to ensure this phase can be used as it is intended, which is to aid the team in understanding the project, process or product under study. The team will potentially need additional time to review the end function model to validate and test the logic.
  • Plan how to build consensus at the Creative and Evaluation phases. During Creativity and Evaluation, consider the need for consensus-building and protocols in place that allow for ensuring that ideas can be easily shared, disagreements can be raised and tools developed to get to consensus on key ideas and opportunities.
  • Prepare communication and collaboration channels for team members during the Development phase. During the formal Development phase, team members communicate and collaborate during the process to ensure they can share impacts and ask questions. Plan for multiple opportunities during this phase where interaction between disciplines can be added to the virtual process.
  • Senior CVS team leader. We would also recommend that virtual workshops be led by senior CVS's, as they have the ability to be agile whereas a less experienced CVS may struggle. We must continue to protect the integrity of the VM and ensure successful outcomes.
  • The mind-set of the CVS Leaders must change. Facilitation skills will be even more taxed for virtual meetings and additional skills will be necessary. Additional roles and responsibilities may also need to be considered.
  • Technical Assistance. The CVS leader will need a technical assistant to manage the virtual meeting throughout the length of the workshop. This will allow the CVS leader to continue to manage the workshop and not worry about technology. The CVS team leader should focus on leading the virtual meeting to be able to control progress and minimize disruptions.
  • Expand and change your VM Study agenda accordingly. SAVE expects that additional time will have to be provided to the agenda. The many interface points created by not having the team all in one place will likely add time to the workshop. SAVE is an international organization and so are our workshops. The time schedules for workshops will need to become a point of discussion and agreement. A strong focus on compromising between work hour starts and stops will be important to ensure effective facilitation and team engagement. Consider flexibility in agenda development.
  • Selecting projects, products or services for a virtual workshop. Virtual workshops are going to be challenging for many reasons. It is recommended that projects that are large and complex should not use virtual workshops. Be selective to ensure success.
  • Be mindful of how sensitive information is before committing. Understand the level of sensitivity of the project, process or product under study. If this information is sensitive by nature, virtual workshops may not be a good choice or even allowed.

As discussed, SAVE has identified some of the challenges that need to be overcome by establishing formal protocols for virtual workshops. Please be aware that this will change many things – there will be a need for more time for getting prepared, collaboration and communication, as well as to manage outcomes. As an example, for the pre-workshop, communication protocols will need to be established for how the team will communicate online, identifying the acceptable technology platforms that are available to all attendees and logistics related to adequate internet, to name a few.

As mentioned above, there are areas during the workshop that will require additional time, and this may also include post workshop to integrate the team members in developing and reviewing each other’s alternatives. Although virtual workshops can benefit the additional costs of travel, other time and costs may need to be considered. Trying to shorten the workshop is not recommended and will not lead to workshop success.

Certification Policy

Please be aware that this does not change the current SAVE Certification Program policy. Your organization has every ability to look at ways to deliver your programs with the VM as a key tool, but virtual workshops, for now, will not be able to be used in your efforts to gain your initial CVS certification. Workshop delivery is different than an individual’s ability to lead studies in a team approach, which is the purpose of CVS certification. Workshop time is no longer part of CVS maintenance, so this will have no impact on maintaining your CVS certification.

SAVE is here to aid you in any way we can. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if we can assist you in developing your protocols and help you to better understand how to make your virtual workshops successful. SAVE’s focus is to ensure that the VM continues to grow and prosper into the future.

Please contact us at info@value-eng.org if we may be of service.