Notes on AFH-1, 1 Nov 21, Chapter 12, Developing Organizations

The phrases, "Air Force" and "Regular Air Force", were replaced globally by "USAF" and "RegAF" in the E-5 Study Guide.


Section 12A, Strategic Thinking and Results Focus (paragraphs 12.1. - 12.5.). Although some content is taken from the previous 2019 edition of the Air Force Handbook, there are so many changes that all of Section 12A should be considered new content. Text highlighted in yellow is new content.

2021 E6 Study Guide

12.1. Managing the Work Environment

Organizational management is the process of organizing, planning, leading, and controlling resources within an entity with the overall aim of achieving established goals. Organizational management provides leaders the ability to make decisions and resolve issues effectively for the benefit of the organization and its employees.

While some enlisted members may think of strategic thinking as "above their pay grade," thinking strategically is important when establishing goals, and planning how to achieve them, within any unit or work center. Strategic thinking can be applied at any level, across an entire enterprise or on a specific project.

2019 AFH-1

13.1. Managing the Work Environment

Organizational management is the process of organizing, planning, leading, and controlling resources within an entity with the overall aim of achieving established objectives. Organizational management provides leaders the ability to make decisions and resolve issues effectively for the benefit of the organization and its employees.

2021 E6 Study Guide

12.2 Strategic Thinking

Strategic Thinking refers to thinking on both a large and small scale, long- and short-term in order to identify and achieve desired goals.

When retired Air Force general officers were asked to think of the Airmen they had worked with during their career who most exceled at Strategic Thinking, they indicated that those Airmen exceled at:

- Identifying best and worst case scenarios for how a situation might be resolved
- Considering how other stakeholders would be affected by proposed courses of action
- Viewing issues from the perspective of more senior leadership ("work your boss's boss's problems")
- Identifying a realistic time horizon for achieving goals, and building on small successes ("Thought BIG. Started small. Scaled fast.")

2019 AFH-1

Not In 2019 AFH-1

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12.3 Strategic Thinking Mindset

Airmen at all levels should adopt a strategic thinking mindset as they approach issues within their organization. The three fundamental components of a strategic thinking mindset are:

Intellectual Flexibility. A willingness and proclivity to adjust one's understanding, opinions, or approach when conditions change or new information is presented.

Flexibility is about bending, not breaking; we can adapt and make adjustments without abandoning long-term strategy and starting from scratch.

For example, imagine a request for members of your unit to receive critical training is denied for budgetary reasons. Rather than ignoring the need for training, or simply continuing attempts to get approval for the original request, you should consider other options. Perhaps just one of your Airmen could receive the training and then teach the rest of the unit. Maybe there are other units nearby whose members have received the training who would be available to teach your Airmen.

Intellectual Inclusiveness. Welcoming of information and opinion from a broad range of sources (individuals, groups, disciplines of study, etc.).

A broad, informed perspective often requires many voices to be involved in a discussion, and a willingness to consider new or seemingly unusual sources of information.

Look beyond your immediate organization. Make use of formal and informal networks and reach out to others with relevant expertise. Maybe you have peers from past assignments who have dealt with similar issues. Maybe you have contacts within the other Services, or former instructors or classmates who could share relevant information and expertise.

Intellectual Humility. Comfort level with being wrong or having an incomplete understanding, accompanied by the tendency to check oneself, examining issues as if one's understanding is wrong insome way.

Too often we have a bias in favor of maintaining old beliefs or assumptions and need to check our tendency to react defensively to constructive feedback. Don't assume you are the smartest person in the room on a given issue (or the only smart person within the room). Ask your subordinates for candid feedback on your proposed approach. Explicitly communicate your desire to understand and consider alternate perspectives before making a decision.

2019 AFH-1

Not In 2019 AFH-1

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12.4. Strategic Thinking in Action

In practice, strategic thinking consists of four main activities: scanning, questioning, conceptualizing, and testing:

Scanning is the identification of emerging patterns in the environment. This consists of taking in, deconstructing, and synthesizing information from different sources, with the goal of applying this information to the future. Example scanning techniques could include seeking input from an expert panel and analyzing historical data to identify trends.

Questioning (asking questions of others and oneself) is needed to more fully understand an issue from different perspectives. This includes framing issues broadly, exploring problems rather than aiming to solve them immediately, and considering input from all stakeholders.

Conceptualizing potential options is needed to identify possibilities for future direction. This includes identifying a broad range of options (brainstorming), using various analytic tools and techniques to explore potential solutions, and rejecting options only after exploration.

Testing allows for informed speculation to anticipate the impact of a proposed action on organizational performance. For example, one might initially conduct a role play of how the proposed course of action would be communicated to stakeholders and how they are likely to respond. The proposed solution should be tested on a small scale (a pilot test), in order to evaluate its initial impact and to address any problems that arise in the initial implementation.

2019 AFH-1

Not In 2019 AFH-1



Groupcentric and egocentric are new terms in this year's edition. (The term, egocentric, did appear once in the 2019 edition but in an unrelated paragraph titled, Symptoms of Groupthink, in Chapter 16, Critical Thinking and Innovation.)

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12.5. Results Focus

At the individual and team level, optimal performance requires setting goals to stay on track. But not all goals are alike. Goal setting is most likely to improve performance when goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART).

S - Specific: Specific objectives/targets should answer who is involved, what is to be accomplished, where it is to be done, when it is to be done, which requirements and constraints exist, and why (purpose) the objective is being accomplished.

M - Measurable: Establish criteria for measuring progress toward and attainment of each objective/ target/ milestone until the desired objective is met.

A - Attainable: Ensure applicable resources are available and objectives/tasks (within acceptable levels of risk), are possible. It may also be helpful to use action-oriented statements rather than passive voice.

Note that the term "Attainable" does not imply that goals should be easy to attain. Research has consistently found that setting difficult or challenging goals improves performance more than setting goals that are easy or only moderately difficult to meet.

R - Relevant: Link to the mission, vision, and goals and ensure they are meaningful and relevant to the user. Good objectives must be obtainable, yet purposeful.

T - Time-Bound: Provide date for completion. Targeted dates provide periodic and overall accountability.

While goal setting can improve both individual and group performance, interdependent work may require a focus on how individuals contribute to the group ("groupcentric" goals). Goals that are strictly focused on maximizing individual results ("egocentric" goals) may backfire when collaboration is needed.

For example, managers may set numeric goals for help desk technicians to resolve a certain number of help desk tickets each month. "Egocentric" goals for each individual employee to resolve a certain number of tickets may disincentive support to other team members, such as training and coaching new team members. "Groupcentric" goals for an entire work unit to resolve a certain number of tickets may be more likely to increase overall performance, by inherently incentivizing both processing tickets individually and providing support that will help other team members resolve tickets as well.

2019 AFH-1

13.17. Project Management Planning

Once options are developed, the most important and time-consuming aspect of project management must occur -planning the project. Planning a project involves activities that answer the questions who, what, when, where, and how. Techniques of special importance to use during planning are gathering important information, creating a work breakdown structure, and conducting a task analysis. Regardless of the method of planning used, the completion of the tasks in a sense of order and timeliness, made foreseeable through the task analysis, ensures project completion is more likely to succeed.

B-SMART Objectives. Ultimately, the goal of project management is to achieve the objective of the project in the most logical, sensible manner. Once realization of the steps of project management is attained, accomplishing these steps requires understanding of B-SMART terminology. Throughout any project, beginning with Step 1, the concept of B-SMART should be taken into consideration. B-SMART is an acronym, which has been given a number of equally valuable meanings, depending on the context or circumstances.

B - Balanced: Ensure goals are bold yet balanced across the multiple fronts of organizational output and multiple targets.

S - Specific: Specific objectives/targets should answer who is involved, what is to be accomplished, where it is to be done, when it is to be done, which requirements and constraints exist, and why (purpose) the objective is being accomplished.

M - Measurable: Establish criteria for measuring progress toward and attainment of each objective/ target/ milestone until the desired objective is met.

A - Attainable: Ensure applicable resources are available and objectives/tasks (within acceptable levels of risk), are possible. It may also be helpful to use action-oriented statements rather than passive voice.

R - Results Focused: Link to the mission, vision, and goals and ensure they are meaningful and relevant to the user. Good objectives must be obtainable, yet purposeful.

T - Time-Bound: Provide date for completion. Targeted dates provide periodic and overall accountability.


Section 12B, Resources and Organizational Structure

Paragraphs 12.6. and 12.7. have no changes since the 2019 edition of AFH-1. Paragraph 12.8. has no significant changes. Paragraph 12.6. uses the term, continuous process improvement, while in Section C, the term was changed to "continuous improvement".

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12.6. Resource Management

Improving performance requires both planning and execution. For organizational change to be effective, planning and execution generally must include redesign or coordination on the followingfive interrelated fronts.

Organization and People. Human resources are the key to future viability and organizational growth in a continuous learning environment. Although processes and other front factors may change, focus should remain on providing workers with appropriate knowledge, skills, experiences, and tools.

Technology. Technology is a crucial enabling factor that allows compression of cycles, lead time, distance, and broader access to information and knowledge assets. Technology also eliminates barriers between customers and suppliers.

Policies, Legislation, and Regulations. Changing existing policies, regulations, and legislation may be required for new processes.

Physical Infrastructure. Physical facilities, equipment, and tools should be designed to support and maximize changes in workflow, information technology, and human resources.

Process. The flow of work and information into and throughout the organization must be redesigned using standard continuous process improvement methodologies.

2019 AFH-1

16.16. Performance Improvement

Improving performance requires both planning and execution. For organizational change to be effective, planning and execution generally must include redesign or coordination on the following five interrelated fronts.

Organization and People. Human resources are the key to future viability and organizational growth in a continuous learning environment. Although processes and other front factors may change, focus should remain on providing workers with appropriate knowledge, skills, experiences, and tools.

Technology. Technology is a crucial enabling factor that allows compression of cycles, lead time, distance, and broader access to information and knowledge assets. Technology also eliminates barriers between customers and suppliers.

Policies, Legislation, and Regulations. Changing existing policies, regulations, and legislation may be required for new processes.

Physical Infrastructure. Physical facilities, equipment, and tools should be designed to support and maximize changes in workflow, information technology, and human resources.

Process. The flow of work and information into and throughout the organization, as mentioned in organizational management practices, must be redesigned using standard continuous process improvement methodologies.

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12.7. DOTMLPF

The acronym, DOTMLPF, stands for doctrine, organization, training, material, leadership and education, personnel, and facilities. The acronym is used by the Department of Defense to describe a thought process that considers a broad spectrum of elements or requirements to generate informed, conclusive solutions to problems, future requirements, strategic direction, and performance improvement. DOTMLPF is defined as a process that considers solutions involving any combination of these elements.

DOTMLPF serves as a valuable mnemonic for staff planners to consider for certain issues prior to undertaking new efforts. Because combatant commanders define requirements in consultation with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, they are able to consider gaps in the context of strategic direction for the U.S. Armed Forces and influence the direction of requirements earlier in the acquisition process. Here is an example of how DOTMLPF would be interpreted in the military context:

Doctrine: The way we fight (emphasizing maneuver warfare, combined air-ground campaigns).

Organization: How we organize the fight (divisions, air wings, task forces).

Training: How we prepare to fight tactically (basic military training, advanced individual training, unit training, joint exercises).

Materiel: All the 'stuff' necessary to equip the forces (weapons, spares) so we can operate effectively.

Leadership and Education: How we prepare leaders to lead the fight from squad leaders to four stars (professional development).

Personnel: Availability of qualified people for peacetime, wartime, and various contingency operations.

Facilities: Real property, installations, and industrial facilities (government owned ammunition production facilities) that support the forces.

2019 AFH-1

16.17. DOTMLPF

The acronym, DOTMLPF, stands for doctrine, organization, training, material, leadership and education, personnel, and facilities. The acronym is used by the Department of Defense to describe a thought process that considers a broad spectrum of elements or requirements to generate informed, conclusive solutions to problems, future requirements, strategic direction, and performance improvement. DOTMLPF is defined as a process that considers solutions involving any combination of these elements.

DOTMLPF serves as a valuable mnemonic for staff planners to consider for certain issues prior to undertaking new efforts. Because combatant commanders define requirements in consultation with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, they are able to consider gaps in the context of strategic direction for the U.S. Armed Forces and influence the direction of requirements earlier in the acquisition process. Here is an example of how DOTMLPF would be interpreted in the military context:

Doctrine: The way we fight (emphasizing maneuver warfare, combined air-ground campaigns).

Organization: How we organize the fight (divisions, air wings, task forces).

Training: How we prepare to fight tactically (basic military training, advanced individual training, unit training, joint exercises).

Materiel: All the 'stuff' necessary to equip the forces (weapons, spares) so we can operate effectively.

Leadership and Education: How we prepare leaders to lead the fight from squad leaders to four stars (professional development).

Personnel: Availability of qualified people for peacetime, wartime, and various contingency operations.

Facilities: Real property, installations, and industrial facilities (government owned ammunition production facilities) that support the forces.

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12.8. Organizational Structure (Balancing Precision with Flexibility)

Organizational design should be determined based on the organization's overall mission and strategy, taking into consideration the environment, size, and pace of technology.

In determining how an organization should be structured, it is important to balance the need for precision (need to maintain order, decrease ambiguity, and ensure direction is followed) with the need for flexibility (potential need to adapt quickly and encourage innovation).

The pros and cons of various organizational structures are briefly described here.

Mechanistic (Bureaucratic) Structure. A mechanistic or bureaucratic organizational structure is vertically arranged; communication and decision-making begin at the top and then filter downward. In this type of organizational structure, there is very little involvement of low-level members in decision-making, employees work in teams based on task specialty, and there is a heavy reliance on rules. The mechanistic system lends itself well to an organization where strategy or goals are geared toward efficiency and tasks need to be accomplished quickly and accurately. A stable environment that requires little flexibility is often conducive to a mechanistic structure. Also, if the size of an organization is intermediate to large, more structure may be necessary. Unfortunately, organizations with a mechanistic structure may find that job satisfaction suffers because subordinates basically do as they are told with little to no contribution to how things are done.

Organic Structure. An organic organization has horizontal and vertical communication, allowing communication to occur up and down as well as across departments and among co-workers without bureaucratic lines. Cross-talk and opinions are encouraged among employees to allow more involvement in decision-making and contribution into how things are done. The flexibility involved in day to day operations facilitates technological advancements, and allows employees to be more adaptable as changes arise. The organic organization's strategy is often geared toward innovativeness and creativity. The computer software industry is a good example of one that requires a creative design. The environment is unstable, with change being the norm rather than the exception. Organizations with organic structure are most often small to moderate, apply new technology through adaptation rather than compliance, and employ research and development that is creative rather than restrictive. The sharing of information and the participative environment increases worker satisfaction and often produces well-rounded decisions. Unfortunately, an organic structure may slow down the implementation process, lead to low efficiency, and reduce standards.

Diverse Structure. Because there are advantages and disadvantages of mechanistic and organic organizations, organizations with a diverse design incorporate both mechanistic and organic structures to accomplish the mission. The diverse design is used when the organization needs the rigid structure of the mechanistic organization in some areas and the flexibility of the organic organization in others. For example, administrative sections often have specific rules to follow when processing performance reports, decorations, and orders. For this purpose, a mechanistic system would be appropriate. In the same organization, a training section may be hindered by a rigid mechanistic system; therefore, an organic system would be more effective to allow for more frequent innovation in how training is delivered.

Matrix Structure. The matrix design is basically an organizational design or team within a mechanistic, organic, or diverse organization. A matrix design is usually best for addressing a temporary need within an organization, therefore it is short-lived, and the overall organizational structure remains intact. A matrix design brings workers from different sections or organizations together to serve a particular function. Within the matrix design, employees or team members have two bosses; the functional boss writes their performance report and schedules normal duty hours, and the project boss or team leader ensures the task at hand is accomplished appropriately. The strength of the matrix design lies in the pooling of expertise and resources; the weakness lies in the confusion of who is in charge.

2019 AFH-1

13.3. Organizational Design Structures

Organizational design structures, while taking into consideration the design factors of strategy, environment, size, and technology, will best be applied with the organization's overall mission in mind. Various design structures are briefly addressed here.

Mechanistic Design. The mechanistic design, sometimes referred to as the bureaucratic structure, is vertically arranged where communication and decision-making begin at the top and then filter downward. With the mechanistic design, there is very little involvement of low-level members in decision-making, employees work in teams based on task specialty, and there is a heavy reliance on rules. The mechanistic system lends itself well to an organization where strategy or goals are geared toward efficiency and tasks need to be accomplished quickly and accurately. A stable environment that requires little flexibility is often conducive to a mechanistic design. Also, if the size of an organization is intermediate to large, more structure may be necessary. Unfortunately, organizations using a mechanistic design may find that job satisfaction suffers because subordinates basically do as they are told with little to no contribution to how things are done.

Organic Design. The organic design has horizontal and vertical communication, allowing communication to occur up and down as well as across departments and among co-workers without bureaucratic lines. Cross-talk and opinions are encouraged among employees to allow more involvement in decision-making and contribution to how things are done. The flexibility involved in day to day operations ensures changes in the environment can be reacted to through technological advancements, while requiring employees to be adaptable as changes arise. The organic organization's strategy is geared toward innovativeness and creativity. The computer software industry is a good example of one that requires a creative design. The environment is unstable, with change being the norm rather than the exception. Organizations with organic structure are most often small to moderate, apply new technology through adaptation rather than compliance, and employ research and development that is creative rather than restrictive. The sharing of information and the participative environment increase worker satisfaction and often produce well-rounded decisions. Unfortunately, the organic design may slow down the implementation process, lead to low efficiency, and reduce standards.

Diverse Design. While there are advantages and strengths associated with mechanistic and organic organizations, one organizational design that incorporates the strengths of both the mechanistic and organic organizational structures is the diverse design. The diverse design is used when the organization needs the rigid structure of the mechanistic organization in some areas and the flexibility of the organic organization in others. For example, administrative sections often have specific rules to follow when processing performance reports, decorations, and orders. For this purpose, a mechanistic system would be appropriate. In the same organization, a training section would be hindered by a rigid mechanistic system; therefore, an organic system would be more effective. Organizations with a diverse design incorporate both mechanistic and organic structures to accomplish the mission.

Matrix Design. The matrix design is basically an organizational design or team within a mechanistic, organic, or diverse organization. A matrix design is usually best for addressing a temporary need within an organization, therefore it is short-lived, and the overall organizational structure remains intact. A matrix design brings workers from different sections or organizations together to serve a particular function. Within the matrix design, employees or team members have two bosses; the functional boss writes their performance report and schedules normal duty hours, and the project boss or team leader ensures the task at hand is accomplished appropriately. The strength of the matrix design lies in the pooling of expertise and resources; the weakness lies in the confusion of who is in charge.


Section 12C, Change and Problem Solving

Paragraphs 12.9. - 12.11. had no changes since the last (2019) edition of AFH-1.

In paragraph 12.12., the term used in previous editions, "Continuous Process Improvement", was changed to "Continuous Improvement" throughout.

Paragraph 12.13. was edited but contained no significant changes.

Paragraphs 12.14. - 12.16. had no changes since the last (2019) edition of AFH-1.

Paragraph 12.17., Project Management Planning, had one change: omitted the paragraphs on B-SMART Objectives.

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12.12. Continuous Improvement
The use of Continuous Improvement (CI) increases operational capabilities while reducing associated costs by applying proven methodologies to all processes associated with fulfilling the USAF mission. CI is a comprehensive philosophy of operations built around the concepts that there are always ways a process can be improved to better meet mission/customer requirements, organizations must constantly strive to make those improvements based on performance metrics that align to strategic objectives, and efficiencies should be replicated to the extent practical. CI is a hallmark of highly successful organizations, is an Airmen Leadership Quality, is a commander's responsibility (AFI 1-2, Commander's Responsibilities, 8 May 2014) and is a major graded area in the Air Force Inspection System (AFI 90-201, The Air Force Inspection System, 29 January 2021).

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12.12. Continuous Improvement
The use of Continuous Improvement (CI) increases operational capabilities while reducing associated costs by applying proven methodologies to all processes associated with fulfilling the Air Force mission. CI is a comprehensive philosophy of operations built around the concepts that there are always ways a process can be improved to better meet mission/customer requirements, organizations must constantly strive to make those improvements based on performance metrics that align to strategic objectives, and efficiencies should be replicated to the extent practical. CI is a hallmark of highly successful organizations, is an Airmen Leadership Quality, is a commander's responsibility (AFI 1-2, Commander's Responsibilities) and is a major graded area in the Air Force Inspection System (AFI 90-201, The Air Force Inspection System).


2021 E6 Study Guide

12.12. Continuous Improvement

The use of Continuous Improvement (CI) increases operational capabilities while reducing associated costs by applying proven methodologies to all processes associated with fulfilling the Air Force mission. CI is a comprehensive philosophy of operations built around the concepts that there are always ways a process can be improved to better meet mission/customer requirements, organizations must constantly strive to make those improvements based on performance metrics that align to strategic objectives, and efficiencies should be replicated to the extent practical. CI is a hallmark of highly successful organizations, is an Airmen Leadership Quality, is a commander's responsibility (AFI 1-2, Commander's Responsibilities) and is a major graded area in the Air Force Inspection System (AFI 90-201, The Air Force Inspection System).

Continuous Improvement Methodologies. Air Force CI incorporates aspects of four major methodologies to assist with organizational change. A practical problem solving method may simultaneously draw from more than one of these CI processes.

- Lean. Lean is a methodology focused on work flow, customer value, and eliminating process waste. Lean is unique from traditional process improvement strategies in that the primary focus is on eliminating non-value added activities.

- Six Sigma. Six sigma is a rigorous, data-driven methodology for process improvement focused on minimizing waste through identifying, controlling, and reducing process variation.

- Business Process Reengineering. Business process reengineering is a comprehensive process requiring a change in the fundamental way business processes are performed. Business process reengineering identifies unnecessary activities and eliminates them wherever possible.

- Theory of Constraints. Theory of constraints is a systematic approach to optimize resource utilization by identifying, exploiting, subordinating, elevating, and reassessing constraints (bottlenecks) in the process.

2019 AFH-1

13.12. Continuous Process Improvement

The use of Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) increases operational capabilities while reducing associated costs by applying proven methodologies to all processes associated with fulfilling the Air Force mission. CPI is a comprehensive philosophy of operations built around the concepts that there are always ways a process can be improved to better meet mission/customer requirements, organizations must constantly strive to make those improvements based on performance metrics that align to strategic objectives, and efficiencies should be replicated to the extent practical. CPI is a hallmark of highly successful organizations, is a major graded area in the Air Force Inspection System (AFI 90-201, The Air Force Inspection System), and is a commander's responsibility (AFI 1-2, Commander's Responsibilities).

Continuous Process Improvement Methodologies. Air Force CPI incorporates aspects of four major methodologies. A practical problem solving method may simultaneously draw from more than one of these CPI processes.

- Lean. Lean is a methodology focused on work flow, customer value, and eliminating process waste. Lean is unique from traditional process improvement strategies in that the primary focus is on eliminating non-value added activities.

- Six Sigma. Six sigma is a rigorous, data-driven methodology for process improvement focused on minimizing waste through identifying, controlling, and reducing process variation.

- Business Process Reengineering. Business process reengineering is a comprehensive process requiring a change in the fundamental way business processes are performed. Business process reengineering identifies unnecessary activities and eliminates them wherever possible.

- Theory of Constraints. Theory of constraints is a systematic approach to optimize resource utilization by identifying, exploiting, subordinating, elevating, and reassessing constraints (bottlenecks) in the process.

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12.13. Practical Problem Solving Method

At the core of Air Force CI is the practical problem solving method, a standardized and structured approach to problem solving used by global industry leaders, and adopted by DoD. The practical problem solving method, as shown in Figure 12.1., is an eight-step process used to clarify problems, identify root causes, and develop appropriate countermeasures to achieve change.

Note that the Osborn-Parnes convergent and divergent thinking techniques described in this handbook's chapter on Developing Ideas can be useful during many steps in this process.

Step 1-Clarify and Validate the Problem. The first step to effective problem-solving is to clearly understand the problem, often best accomplished by developing a problem statement. A well-defined problem statement uses data to identify where the problem is occurring, determine the impact of the problem, and compare performance against a standard with scope and direction. A problem statement does not assume a root cause, solution, or countermeasure, but should include visual tools to depict the current state. The who, what, when, where, and significance of the problem statement should be validated by data. This is done by collecting and analyzing data to validate the existence and magnitude of the problem. If data does not exist, the effort should be paused to collect and analyze the needed data before moving forward.

This step incorporates the Mess Finding, Data Finding, and Problem Finding aspects of the Osborn-Parnes model.

Step 2-Break Down Problem and Identify Performance Gaps. Understanding what appropriate data is required and the ability to interpret that data is paramount to performance gap analysis. Step 2 effectively frames and supports the problem in Step 1. Once the problem statement has been identified and answers the who, what, when, where, and significance of the problem, further analyze the data in comparison to the expected outcome. The expected outcome is the objective from which to measure the gap between the current state and end state (the expected outcome) and highlight opportunities for improvements (also called the performance gap).

Step 3-Set Improvement Targets. Air Force leaders establish a vision of what an organization will strive to become (the ideal state). In Step 3, process owners or project managers set improvement targets based on expected outcomes and strategic goals and objectives. Targets help define the required performance levels to achieve the desired end state. Targets should be challenging but achievable.

Step 4-Determine Root Cause. Air Force leaders often find themselves addressing problems which have been solved many times when previous problem-solving efforts were directed at symptoms of a problem rather than root causes. Root cause analysis often involves applying a tradeoff between digging as deeply as possible as opposed to finding the deepest point within the team's sphere of influence. The correct root cause should be validated by using the same data usedto define the problem in Step 1.

Step 5-Develop Countermeasures. Step 5 is where potential root causes are addressed with countermeasures. Consideration should be given to the most practical, efficient, and effective countermeasures. Valid countermeasures will close performance gaps and should move the organization closer to the ideal state. When developing countermeasures, strive for process improvement change that is sustainable and repeatable. At the end of Step 5, obtain a vector check to ensure strategic alignment with the desired outcome is still moving in the appropriate direction. Remember, the impact of a solution is a combination of the quality of the solution and the acceptance of the solution by people who implement it. Judiciously involving employees in the development of countermeasures generates buy-in and ownership of the solution and its success.

This step incorporates the Idea Finding, Solution Finding, and Acceptance Finding aspects of the Osborn-Parnes model.

Note that the techniques discussed in this handbook's chapter on Developing Ideas can be particularly useful when developing countermeasures. Defer judgment and allow a period of time to let ideas flow freely (brainstorm potential countermeasures, even those that may seem odd or unusual) before evaluating and selecting a solution.

Step 6-See Countermeasures Through. Step 6 is seeing countermeasures through to execution and tracking detailed implementation plans for each countermeasure approved in Step 5. Reviews and progress checks should be updated regularly on all tasks until countermeasures have been implemented, or until deemed unnecessary.

Step 7-Confirm Results and Process. Step 7 compares the results of implemented countermeasures to the identified performance gaps, improvement objectives/targets, and the expected outcome. Sustainability and repeatability of the improved process should be verified. Results are measured by data and analyzed to confirm the project's intent. Processes should be monitored for performance relative to the baseline developed in Steps 1 and 2, relative to targets established in Step 3, and relative to the solution implementation. Illustrate confirmed results with appropriate data tools which link back to performance gaps and improvement targets. Incorrect root-cause determination is the most common mistake made during CI efforts. If targets are not met, it may be necessary to return to Step 4.

Step 8-Standardize Successful Processes. Step 8 is the most commonly neglected step of the entire practical problem solving method; however, it is important to ensure the results of the efforts made in previous steps are codified. In Step 8, consider the answers to following three questions:

- What is needed to standardize the improvements? Possible answers may include a submission to the Airmen Powered by Innovation Program or change requests for technical orders, instructions, manuals, materiel, and suppliers.

- How should improvements and lessons learned be communicated? The wing process manager should be made aware of the success. Inputting information into the Air Force CI portal, conducting key meetings, writing publications, utilizing public affairs, informing the chain of command, or populating data collection sites.

- Were other opportunities or problems identified by the problem-solving model? This project may have identified additional problem-solving opportunities that should be recognized and addressed.

2019 AFH-1

13.13. Practical Problem Solving Method

At the core of Air Force CPI is the practical problem solving method, a standardized and structured approach to problem solving in the commercial industry, and adopted by the Air Force. The practical problem solving method, as shown in Figure 13.1., is an eight-step process used to clarify problems, identify root causes, and develop appropriate countermeasures to achieve change.

Step 1-Clarify and Validate the Problem. The first step to effective problem-solving is to clearly understand the problem, often best accomplished by developing a problem statement. A well-defined problem statement uses data to identify where the problem is occurring, determine the impact of the problem, and compare performance against a standard with scope and direction. A problem statement does not assume a root cause, solution, or countermeasure, but should include visual tools to depict the current state. The who, what, when, where, and significance of the problem statement should be validated by data. This is done by collecting and analyzing data to validate the existence and magnitude of the problem. If data does not exist, the effort should be paused to collect and analyze the needed data before moving forward.

Step 2-Break Down Problem and Identify Performance Gaps. Understanding what appropriate data is required and the ability to interpret that data is paramount to performance gap analysis. Step 2 effectively frames and supports the problem in Step 1. Once the problem statement has been identified and answers the who, what, when, where, and significance of the problem, further analyze the data in comparison to the expected outcome. The expected outcome is the objective from which to measure the gap between the current state and end state (the expected outcome) and highlight opportunities for improvements (also called the performance gap).

Step 3-Set Improvement Targets. Air Force leaders establish a vision of what an organization will strive to become (the ideal state). In Step 3, process owners or project managers set improvement targets based on expected outcomes and strategic goals and objectives. Targets help define the required performance levels to achieve the desired end state. Targets should be challenging but achievable.

Step 4-Determine Root Cause. Air Force leaders often find themselves addressing problems which have been solved many times when previous problem-solving efforts were directed at symptoms of a problem rather than root causes. Root cause analysis often involves applying a tradeoff between digging as deeply as possible as opposed to finding the deepest point within the team's sphere of influence. The correct root cause should be validated by using the same data used to define the problem in Step 1.

Step 5-Develop Countermeasures. Step 5 is where potential root causes are addressed with countermeasures. Consideration should be given to the most practical, efficient, and effective countermeasures. Valid countermeasures will close performance gaps and should move the organization closer to the ideal state. When developing countermeasures, strive for process improvement change that is sustainable and repeatable. At the end of Step 5, obtain a vector check to ensure strategic alignment with the desired outcome is still moving in the appropriate direction. Remember, the impact of a solution is a combination of the quality of the solution and the acceptance of the solution by people who implement it. Judiciously involving employees in the development of countermeasures generates buy-in and ownership of the solution and its success.

Step 6-See Countermeasures Through. Step 6 is seeing countermeasures through to execution and tracking detailed implementation plans for each countermeasure approved in Step 5. Reviews and progress checks should be updated regularly on all tasks until countermeasures have been implemented, or until deemed unnecessary.

Step 7-Confirm Results and Process. Step 7 compares the results of implemented countermeasures to the identified performance gaps, improvement objectives/targets, and the expected outcome. Sustainability and repeatability of the improved process should be verified. Results are measured by data and analyzed to confirm the project's intent. Processes should be monitored for performance relative to the baseline developed in Steps 1 and 2, relative to targets established in Step 3, and relative to the solution implementation. Illustrate confirmed results with appropriate data tools which link back to performance gaps and improvement targets. Incorrect root-cause determination is the most common mistake made during CPI efforts. If targets are not met, it may be necessary to return to Step 4.

Step 8-Standardize Successful Processes. Step 8 is the most commonly neglected step of the entire practical problem solving method; however, it is important to ensure the results of the efforts made in previous steps are codified. In Step 8, consider the answers to following three questions:

- What is needed to standardize the improvements? Possible answers may include a submission to the Airmen Powered by Innovation Program or change requests for technical orders, instructions, manuals, materiel, and suppliers.

- How should improvements and lessons learned be communicated? The wing process manager should be made aware of the success. Inputting information into the Air Force CPI portal, conducting key meetings, writing publications, utilizing public affairs, informing the chain of command, or populating data collection sites.

- Were other opportunities or problems identified by the problem-solving model? This project may have identified additional problem-solving opportunities that should be recognized and addressed.

2021 E6 Study Guide

12.17. Project Management Planning

Once options are developed, the most important and time-consuming aspect of project management must occur -planning the project. Planning a project involves activities that answer the questions who, what, when, where, and how. Techniques of special importance to use during planning are gathering important information, creating a work breakdown structure, and conducting a task analysis. Regardless of the method of planning used, the completion of the tasks in a sense of order and timeliness, made foreseeable through the task analysis, ensures project completion is more likely to succeed.

Work Breakdown Structure. A work breakdown structure is a technique based on dividing a project into sub-units or work packages. Since all the elements required to complete the project are identified in the work breakdown structure, the chances of neglecting or overlooking an essential step are minimized. A work breakdown structure is typically constructed with two or three levels of detail, although more levels are common, depending on the complexity of a project. Such a structure for your project will permit you and others who see the work breakdown structure to readily identify what needs to be done, spot omissions which might later affect the outcome of the project, and make suggestions for improving and expanding the work breakdown structure. The amount of breakdown is an element the project manager and the project team must decide upon.

Task Analysis. Similar to the work breakdown structure, the amount of detail needed for a task analysis depends on the task involved and the desires of the project manager and project team. The more complex the project, the greater the importance of detailed task analysis. Information contained in the task analysis, which is not depicted in a work breakdown structure, includes task milestones, how the milestones can be measured, and resources or requirements. Project managers may delegate the task analysis for each task to the appropriate person. Once compiled, final decisions on task assignments and budgetary concerns can be addressed. The task analysis is what provides the crucial information for determining how the tasks of the project interrelate. It is imperative to establish the proper sequencing of tasks prior to beginning a project to ensure the efficiency of the project.

2019 AFH-1

13.17. Project Management Planning

Once options are developed, the most important and time-consuming aspect of project management must occur -planning the project. Planning a project involves activities that answer the questions who, what, when, where, and how. Techniques of special importance to use during planning are gathering important information, creating a work breakdown structure, and conducting a task analysis. Regardless of the method of planning used, the completion of the tasks in a sense of order and timeliness, made foreseeable through the task analysis, ensures project completion is more likely to succeed.

B-SMART Objectives. Ultimately, the goal of project management is to achieve the objective of the project in the most logical, sensible manner. Once realization of the steps of project management is attained, accomplishing these steps requires understanding of B-SMART terminology. Throughout any project, beginning with Step 1, the concept of B-SMART should be taken into consideration. B-SMART is an acronym, which has been given a number of equally valuable meanings, depending on the context or circumstances.

B - Balanced: Ensure goals are bold yet balanced across the multiple fronts of organizational output and multiple targets.

S - Specific: Specific objectives/targets should answer who is involved, what is to be accomplished, where it is to be done, when it is to be done, which requirements and constraints exist, and why (purpose) the objective is being accomplished.

M - Measurable: Establish criteria for measuring progress toward and attainment of each objective/ target/ milestone until the desired objective is met.

A - Attainable: Ensure applicable resources are available and objectives/tasks (within acceptable levels of risk), are possible. It may also be helpful to use action-oriented statements rather than passive voice.

R - Results Focused: Link to the mission, vision, and goals and ensure they are meaningful and relevant to the user. Good objectives must be obtainable, yet purposeful.

T - Time-Bound: Provide date for completion. Targeted dates provide periodic and overall accountability.

B-SMART Objective Example: A B-SMART objective is one that is understandable, quantifiable, and precise. When the principles of B-SMART are applied to a project, a project objective (such as renovate the office area) will be considerably more defined. A B-SMART project objective would look like: Complete a renovation of the office area by 30 June 2021 at a cost not to exceed $12,000.

Work Breakdown Structure. A work breakdown structure is a technique based on dividing a project into sub-units or work packages. Since all the elements required to complete the project are identified in the work breakdown structure, the chances of neglecting or overlooking an essential step are minimized. A work breakdown structure is typically constructed with two or three levels of detail, although more levels are common, depending on the complexity of a project. Such a structure for your project will permit you and others who see the work breakdown structure to readily identify what needs to be done, spot omissions which might later affect the outcome of the project, and make suggestions for improving and expanding the work breakdown structure. The amount of breakdown is an element the project manager and the project team must decide upon.

Task Analysis. Similar to the work breakdown structure, the amount of detail needed for a task analysis depends on the task involved and the desires of the project manager and project team. The more complex the project, the greater the importance of detailed task analysis. Information contained in the task analysis, which is not depicted in a work breakdown structure, includes task milestones, how the milestones can be measured, and resources or requirements. Project managers may delegate the task analysis for each task to the appropriate person. Once compiled, final decisions on task assignments and budgetary concerns can be addressed. The task analysis is what provides the crucial information for determining how the tasks of the project interrelate. It is imperative to establish the proper sequencing of tasks prior to beginning a project to ensure the efficiency of the project.