Decision-making in Action

An effective decision-making model is a critical success factor in large, complex projects and organizations. The Enterprise Project’s scope includes significant transformations across many business areas, including finance, supply chain, HR, payroll, student information, technology and data. The project’s scope, coupled with the large size of the university community, requires clear governance and decision-making processes. 

The Enterprise Project’s decision-making model includes three key groups, each with clear decision authority and issue-escalation pathways.

Business Process Committees

Business Process (BP) Committees are comprised of Business Owners, Process Owners and a Business Advocate, with additional participants and facilitators, as needed. The Enterprise Project is a business-led initiative—meaning Business and Process Owners make decisions that will advance business priorities and impact the Enterprise Project. Most project decisions are made by BP Committees. 

For example, members of the Finance Business Process Committee include, but are not limited to: Vice President for Operations and Deputy Chief Financial Officer Kris Devine (Business Owner), University Controller Lisa Plaga (Process Owner) and Business Advocate Holly Ross.

Business Advocates

Business Advocates are leaders who have been selected by each Executive Sponsor to keep the sponsor informed and engaged in the project. Business Advocates validate solutions, facilitate decision-making and provide direction across business areas. Each Business Advocate chairs his or her respective BP Committee, and serves as the escalation pathway when a decision requires the Executive Sponsors’ attention or action. Business Advocates also work with the Organizational Change Management team to inform impacted audiences when decisions are made. 

For example, Tracey Pawlowski was selected by Executive Sponsor Susan Basso (Senior Vice President for Talent, Culture and Human Resources) as the HR and Payroll Business Advocate. Tracey chairs the HR and Payroll Business Process Committees and receives direction from Susan Basso on decisions.

Executive Sponsors Group

Executive Sponsors establish the project’s vision, scope and budget. They provide guidance for decisions and, when necessary, make decisions that have been escalated from BP Committees via Business Advocates. Typically, Executive Sponsors will make decisions that have large impacts on the project’s scope, schedule or budget. 

For example, Vice President and Chief Information Officer Mike Hofherr is an Executive Sponsor and establishes direction for technology and data analytics decisions.

Decision-Making Process Visual

Case Study: Converting Past Employee Data into Workday

In early 2018, a decision was needed regarding how much data on past university employees to convert into Workday and how much should go into other data sources. This decision pathway illustrates the project’s decision-making model.

  1. The Enterprise Project team identified the need to determine how much past employee data to convert into Workday. The team engaged relevant individuals across the university to gather input and develop recommendations.
  2. The team’s recommendations were delivered to the Human Resources BP Committee, which is the governance group with authority over this decision.
  3. The Human Resources BP Committee selected the recommendation to convert 12 months of past employee data at the time of the first Workday release (July 2020). All past employee data older than 12 months will be converted to a separate data source. At this point, the decision was considered done. 
  4. Tracey Pawlowski, HR Business Advocate, shared the BP Committee’s decision with Executive Sponsor Susan Basso for awareness, then partnered with the Organizational Change Management team to communicate the decision back to the project team.