HOW TO Initiate
Jesse W. Brogan
President, The Management Upgrade Shop
Management Engineering is the application of basic industrial engineering in the office environment. It does for management and internal support what traditional industrial engineering has done for efficiency in productive efforts. Application to Army Management provides a means to accomplish a larger Govern-mental purpose (performance management) in an area uniquely equipped to do the initial application.
This is no add-on management improvement program; it initiates a change that is effective at the level of organizational culture. It discovers an existing performance-management within the Army, and expands it from its present encapsulated area to address Army administration in general.
The Federal Government mandate is performance-based management. The modern Army’s management system is not performance based, and appears actively hostile to performance basis.
Attempts to bring performance-based management into areas controlled by Army management have yielded reduced performance while retaining inefficient and expensive administrative structures and processes. The challenge facing the Army is to keep its current effectiveness, while it institutes performance-based management.
Meeting the Challenge
This is a recommendation for correction, for instituting performance-based management where it is now missing. This is to be accomplished through basic management engineering, the application of efficiency engineering principles to the operation of an organization.
This paper identifies and defines the challenge in terms amenable to application of a cure.
1. It addresses the general direction necessary for accomplishing that cure.
2. It provides specific examples of applications that can increase effectiveness while reducing organizational costs.
3. It links this cure to current management practices in the Army that can be applied with assured effect.
Beyond this, the cure is general and instituted through potent understandings that are already well accepted for dealing with similar problems in management. These understandings can reflect back into the areas where the modern Army is already highly effective. There are additional performance-area benefits from the application of basic engineering to office-area operations.
For foundation, the Army management system is loosely based on the work of Henri Fayol, who presented his management understandings in the early decades of the 20th century. His efforts were directed to administrative necessities for gaining performance, not to performance itself.
The challenge that faces the Army approach to management is fundamental, beginning with the definitions used for management and its associated work efforts. Army management is now defined by five functional activities – planning, organizing, coordinating, directing and controlling.
For performance perspective, it is easily possible to do all of these without producing anything. These are basic activities undertaken by managers in fulfillment of their duties, but are not performance determinates.
In the current Army approach, leadership is distinguished from management by the following: Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. Both doing things right and doing the right things are also possible without gaining performance. This is especially true when “doing the right things” is defined to be performing the five processes, rather than gaining a performance through others.
The challenge can be restated: the Army management system has no foundation in performance. In general terms, Army managers above the first-line supervisory level are only rarely held accountable for gaining anything through the efforts of the organization over which they have direct authority. There is no effective performance-management.
This becomes clear when asking the functional question – What is the measurable difference between an Army management success and a management failure? The lack of any clear answer encapsulates the challenge that this paper addresses.
As a practical example, there have been major contracts for performances that have doubled in cost. Yet holding the military leader personally accountable to the extent of being taken out of authority over future contracted efforts is rare. The current system tolerates major performance failures!
Inability to gain performance is not a problem in itself. The failure to gain performance through the system of management controls and authorities is just a symptom of a deeper problem within Army management.
Performance-based management has its first foundation in the
work of Frederick Taylor, a contemporary of Henri Fayol. He defined management as “gaining performance
through the efforts of others,” which is similar to the definition used by
Due to the nature of the times, Fayol’s approach was much more attractive for meeting management requirements, especially in bureaucratic areas that had no obvious products that could define successful performance. Fayol’s principles of administration were eventually applied to larger administrative efforts with good effect, yielding organizations that were able to control massive amounts of resources and keep their use in reasonable coordination.
Fayol’s work was especially attractive to organizations like the military that had to have rigid authority structures to fulfill its primary mission. Fayol’s work effectively addressed administration as performance of four administrative functions.
Administrative management was further defined by Fayol’s
fourteen principles. Early administrative
management did not consider itself to be subject to performance-management
purposes, and did not apply
Corrective Activity Requirement
We are not addressing any self-healing situation. Existing senior management in the military has no effective orientation to organizational performance; and is not going to voluntarily promote management that is based on performance.
Correction will involve a proactive and designed effort to establish a new management foundation, one that is at least friendly to performance management. At a minimum, there should be someone who is personally accountable for each and every performance requirement placed upon any Army element; and the Army manager will have to be given control over the resources necessary to gain that performance. That same person will have to be held personally accountable for the success or failure of the performance.
A Viable Direction for a Cure
A managed performance arrangement is already the case when it comes to running military campaigns. Every military action is given to someone who accepts responsibility for a performance. In a military action, an officer is given a specific military objective, with defined results to be obtained through the efforts of those who answer to his or her command.
The challenge faced in this paper can then be redefined. The challenge is expanding the Army understanding of “how to run an effective military campaign” into “how to operate an organization.”
This direction of correction is both possible and is likely to yield the desired result.
There are two aspects to this new direction. The first is technical, addressing how it is done. The second is motivational, addressing how it can become something that military officers will implement.
The second appears impossible only when addressed in terms of modern Army management, which has no existing performance foundation. It becomes possible when performance management is required along with sufficient external stimulus to make it happen.
The first direction for the cure is to show how it can be done, including how internal and external Army leadership will address the cure to those who will implement it. The second is to provide the impetus that will get leadership to do what must be done.
Technical: How it can be Done
The keys are found in examining the necessary activities associated with managing a military campaign. Each commanding officer is given something that must be accomplished; and directive control over the resources that will be used for making it happen. Failure to accomplish the assigned results using the resources provided will threaten the accomplishment of the plans of the next-senior officer; and what that next-senior officer must accomplish will support the plans of the one in charge of the military campaign.
The first key is that sense of value that connects the activity of the lowest-level officer with the accomplishment of the larger efforts of which it is a part. In this environment, a failure to meet even a smaller objective can threaten failure for the larger organizational effort. Each officer is enlivened by the sense of importance, a feeling that the success of the larger military effort really can depend upon the performance of the local mission.
This defines one important part of our curative action, the discovery of “what must be accomplished” for the Army to be a success, expressed in terms that can be communicated down to the smallest part of the larger organization.
Motivational: How to address this to Subordinate Leaders
The potency of the general theory applied above is obvious when communicating performance-management to subordinates. It will be communicated by the same means that are used in communicating performance requirements in a military campaign. Once there is a definition of “what must be accomplished” by the Army, then the rest of the effort follows naturally. It includes developing and assuring the method of performance, and identification and dedication of the resources necessary to assure it.
This will institute a different motivational attitude than that now encountered in administrative management over the Army.
Specifically, if senior military leadership has discovered what must be done for the Army to be a success, subordinate officers don’t get asked to buy-in to a senior-officer’s military plans. Command directs performances that will get it done. While a leader may tap subordinate expertise for the best way to assure the performance, the result will still be directives that assure accomplishment.
Performance as a New Foundation
Management engineering is the application of basic efficiency engineering to the efforts that gain organizational performance; it provides key understandings that function as management tools. One such tool is the need for a new concept of what the Army must accomplish.
Management engineering is the direction for solution. It results from the application of Frederick Taylor’s approaches, but applies these to the structuring and operation of organizations, with specific attention to efficiency of performances in the office environment.
For scoping, management engineering is engineering rather than management; it does not perform management. It provides managers the tools that will be most effective for gaining accomplishments through others. It is a support specialty.
As engineering, it is problem-oriented, but it is also technical-professional support for those managers who will make the decisions, and will take the actions that implement a solution to management problems.
The First Rule of Management Engineering
Management is an essential;
You cannot improve management
by replacing it with something else.
With management defined as “gaining a performance through others,” this rule puts limits on activities that will be included in the efforts that will yield a systematic orientation to performance management.
As an initial efficiency concept:
There are only two purposes for any organizational element in an efficient organization. The first is performing mission. The second is supporting those who perform the mission.
Management is not part of performance; in an efficient organization, the efforts of managers will support performances accomplished by those who directly perform the mission.
Any effort that neither does organizational performance, nor supports that performance, can probably be terminated without loss. This even applies to administration. “Doing the right things” is not a separate specialty supporting activities by others. Accordingly, it is not to be approached a separate purpose for any leader. It is a part of administrative management, which exists only to fulfill the value-adding purpose of management.
Henri Fayol’s process-based approach may be descriptive of what managers do, but is inadequate for assuring efficient performances. The key to efficient management is not that it performs necessary processes like controlling and directing, but that it supports and/or adds to performances that are managed.
To put this into our military-campaign perspective, the efforts of each level of Army leader adds value by assuring subordinate performances. As a practical example, the senior officer in a military campaign provides the junior officer with all that is necessary to assure accomplishment of an assigned military result.
When addressing military actions, the leader in charge is directly responsible for the care, maintenance and expenditure of assigned military resources. The commander starts with the clear purpose defined by the military action that is the basis for putting someone into command. This commander assures that his fighting people are supported by everyone else under his command, all the way from supply and information efforts to medical services.
Performance management for the Army as an organization begins with the establishment of “a performance that must be accomplished,” if senior Army leadership is to be a success. This performance mandate becomes the driver for a military effort that has to be efficient and effective. This same level of performance purpose is needed for performance-based administrative efforts.
Tool: Customer-Product Analysis
The engineered tool for establishing these key products is “Customer-Product Analysis.” This technique recognizes the ultimate importance of a working relationship between the organization and those who assure its continuance.
Step 1: Follow incoming resources back to find the decision-makers who determine to provide the Army with resources. These decision makers are defined to be “Functional Customers.”
Step 2: Identify what these functional customers both receive and value as a basis for their resourcing decisions. All things that meet these two criteria are, by definition, “Functional Products.”
Functional products are “what must be produced by the organization” if is to continue in existence and remain healthy. The must-do mission of the organization is delivering functional products to functional customers.
In the terms used above, the organization will be successful when it earns its resource base through delivering functional products to functional customers; and is likely to fail if it does not. Delivering functional products to functional customers is the performance driver that can unify internal efforts within all levels of the larger organization.
The Army is funded by Congressional action; the “functional customers” of the Army are members of Congress. There are also secondary customers who have influence with these primary decision-makers. There are also indirect customers who give feedback to these same primary customers. Still every focus comes back to the members of Congress whose decisions will determine the resources available to the Army to continue its existence and effectiveness.
Management engineering approach continues by addressing functional customers and functional products in terms of customer investment. Effective organizational activity will require intimate knowledge of the value that the customer will receive, and of the cost of gaining that value.
“Investment potential” is inherent in the product delivered, and includes such intelligence as will identify resourcing to assure the health and welfare of the Army organization.
Important to this recognition of product, the usual operation of the military, including maintenance of weapons systems and personnel, becomes an internal product, a product that is not delivered to decision makers to earn income, but is maintained as a subordinate part of assuring military value to those who will fund the organization. The investment potentials that the Army provides to members of Congress are the real source of value delivered; and delivery of this value is how the Army will “earn” its operating resources.
This product is to be an effective plan for action, with investment of resources indicated as sufficient to assure planned results. Performance management is undertaken to gain planned results through directing those provided resources.
Primary products probably include a presentation of an ability to militarily threaten other nations who might be adverse to our national purposes, and to minimize military threat by other nations to our interests.
With this, our Modern Army has a peace-time military mission to accomplish, and it will need resources to direct to mission accomplishment. The difference between organizational success and failure will be inherent in delivering functional products where they have to go to be effective. Instead of a military objective, this provides a performance objective for accomplishment through military management.
Engineered Tool: The Concept of a Performance Module
A performance module is itself an engineered tool; it is the building block of every efficient organization. Understanding this tool starts with the example of the smallest operating unit in a military action. This is a single leader in direct charge of a number of soldiers.
Key points include the singular purpose given to that “local manager” in gaining a military objective. It includes the concept of a team, which both includes the officer as a key team member, and recognizes that officer as the one in charge. The team has a singular military objective, with vision maintained by the local leader.
Key efficiency considerations include superior officer abstention. Superiors do not give alternative or multiple objectives to operating subordinates. They do not step in and redirect members of the working team while it is engaged in its assigned military performance. They do not add secondary missions that might distract the group from its primary purpose.
Superior-officer impact includes support for the action team, both moral and physical. The superior officer effectively teams with junior officers to perform a management function that supports performance by the soldiers. The superior and subordinate managers form a superior team with an assigned objective. It forms a separate module with its own unique performance purpose.
Efficiency results from bringing these same considerations into the design of the larger Army organization.
Application begins at the most senior level. The objective is delivery of functional Army products to appropriate functional customers. Implementing an approved plan gives performance objectives that are supported by a clear difference between successful and failed performance. These are objectives that must be met for the health and welfare of the military organization, even as military-action objectives must be met for the effective waging of a military campaign.
In a different perspective, the single leader who is made responsible to implement a performance-management objective will need to be given sufficient resources to succeed in delivering the desired results as a functional product.
This single leader will not be able to personally direct the large resource base needed to meet any major performance objective. There must be a structure for action.
Efficient structure is created based on internal product requirements. In any larger effort, there will be internal products that must be gained through subordinate leadership if the larger performance objective is to be reached. These, like the objective itself, provide a basis for establishing performance-based subordinate elements. An officer, a military manager or senior leader, can be made responsible for providing that necessary internal product; can be resourced to make it happen; and then can be held personally accountable for gaining the desired result by applying the provided resources.
Performance is based on a deliverable result that separates success from failure. Every performance part of the larger organization will share in this concept of success.
Engineered Tool: Vertical Division of Management
Another key to understanding the efficiency aspect of modules is approaching management as work that must be performed by someone. A module is a basic performance unit; and each module created by use of this logic is manageable by its inputs and outputs. It will be a success or a failure by its ability to deliver its product through use of the resources given to it for that purpose.
This vertically divides management responsibility – an effort that has proven very difficult in the current Army management structure. Once responsibility for gaining a defined product through assigned resources is given to a subordinate, any further responsibility for directing those within the subordinate area also passes to that subordinate leader. The assigning senior leader only retains responsibility for exception management, and does not interfere unless unforeseen or otherwise exceptional needs arise.
The senior leader is only directly responsible to manage his local resources, those that are not dedicated to a subordinate performance effort. Thus the work of management is only done once, and done by the most appropriate officer.
Selection of subordinate modules is a matter for the art of management with a few general rules. The first is the application of productive purpose. Wherever there is a product where delivery is necessary for success of the next larger productive result, there is a point for establishing a performance module.
Management is always local. If a subordinate function is physically remote, then it will need a local leader; and the arrangement of a module is appropriate. If there are a number of remote areas involved in a single subordinate product, this could well indicate an efficiency-based need to consider reorganization. To be personally accountable for a performance, a module manager must be in direct and effective charge of those who are engaged in assuring the module product.
Also, the module manager answers only to the next superior module manager, the one who needs the subordinate-module product to succeed in providing his or her own superior-module product. Any third-party authorities who might interfere with this operational relationship are to be exceptional, and to be managed as such.
Engineered Tool: Structure of the Module
Part of what makes using modules efficient is the ability to hold each module manager personally responsible for generating the desired output product. That happens only when sufficient resources are dedicated to that module manager to assure the performance. Relying upon support from third-party authorities is an exception, not a benefit.
Like that lowest level military unit, a performance module is a complete performance unit. All of its necessary internal support is part of the module, and the local module commander is there to assure that this support meets the needs of the module’s working members – those who assure that the module product is delivered as required.
This is one aspect of how that local module commander is able to assure that his support organization does in fact render the support needed. There is no intervening authority that might have any other purpose. The focus of the module is on the product that it must produce to be a success in its own operation.
As a general efficiency rule, the purpose of any internal support effort within a module is to provide support. Support groups never put work requirements upon any other part of the organization. This is especially true for superior-module support impacting work in subordinate modules, which are themselves managed by product and resources consumed. This is so different from current Army-management thinking that separate emphasis is necessary.
In another viewpoint, the internal support of the module is support for the module only. It owes nothing to support efforts in superior modules. For efficiency, a support group serves only the module in which it exists.
The leader in a subordinate module is part of the superior module, and is a representative for his or her subordinate module. The subordinate-module assignment of product responsibility is also the personal management responsibility of this subordinate-module manager.
Every module is inherently manageable by its cost and performance. Performance management is part of its very structure.
Now we can start putting this together into a cogent structure. We have established an initial definition of what must be accomplished. This product includes a delivery of information that connects Army funding with an ability to threaten nations whose purposes are adverse to those of decision-making Congressmen, and an ability to minimize the threat of hostile actions by foreign nations.
Now things start to come into focus in more familiar terms. The requirement for this will include the design, development, purchase and maintenance of weapons systems, and the preparation and maintenance of manpower to use those weapons. It will include the ability to transport these weapons and people to the point of application, and to militarily manage the actions that will bring them to bear for a purpose valued by those decision-makers.
This brings us to the major difference from today’s management efforts. The type of planning that is required to accomplish a combined Army-action and Army-administration mission is based on the specific goals that are valued by decision-makers. These decision-makers are representatives, and representatives may have to sell their decisions to their constituents. This is further guidance for how the Army must communicate value to these decision-makers. The Army plan for success will contain the communication of military value to the public, so that it can be presented by decision-making congressmen.
There are questions to be answered. What is necessary and convenient for a military establishment that will be able to contain and respond to foreign hostility? What level of flexibility should be planned into the Army, so that it can respond to unforeseen needs? What is an appropriate maintenance level for men and equipment? What will be required when the Army has to go from a maintenance state to one of military activity, and how much of the change will be funded up front to allow action before there is separate/exceptional Congressional support?
These are all questions to be answered by a performance plan; and that performance plan will be approached as a primary product for delivery to decision makers so that they fund the Army’s continuation and effectiveness. That plan must be prepared at the level that will be deliverable to decision-makers, and will meet their needs for communication to their constituents. That plan will be a primary investment tools for the decision makers, through which they decide to assure proper resourcing for the Army.
There will be no separate plan for “security issues” unless these are to be separately funded security efforts. There may be a secured area within the general plan that will only be disclosed to decision-makers. Communication support for constituents may have to be adjusted accordingly. Such functional-product development will require the highest form of strategic management thinking.
The value of this approach to planning is obvious. The Army will have something that it “must accomplish” if it is to be a success; and it has the additional purpose of communicating this “must fund” concept to decision makers. Once money is committed, it is unlikely to ever be challenged or withdrawn so long as planned performance is achieved.
When this new type of plan is resourced it provides a foundation for actions within the Army that “must be” accomplished if the Army is to be a success. This is development of the key component for performance-based Army management. Implementation of the plan up to the level funded contains an effective promise that the military leadership has made to its congressional decision-makers.
To make this general approach effective, the larger elements of the plan must be fulfilled by subordinate military authorities. There is likely to be a schedule of military hardware to be developed, purchased and maintained to meet potential performance requirements for that hardware. For performance management, some specific subordinate can be made personally responsible to accomplish this performance element; and be given control over planned resources with the purpose of assuring the result.
With this, we have a performance product that “must be delivered” if the Army is to expect future funding for its continued equipment-based efforts. This meets our requirement for performance management. The success of the superior effort is dependent upon the success of the subordinate.
The Army will have to maintain the readiness of officers and soldiers at a planned level, and this will be a measurable performance that can be assigned to a specific officer with responsibility to make it happen with resources provided. Again, the fulfillment of this responsibility is necessary if the Army is to be a success in the viewpoint of those whose decisions fund it.
The Depth of Change
This describes no minor change that can be gently accomplished. Changing from authority-based to performance-based management affects the culture of the Army. Where an authority-based system treats cost overrun in the purchase of a weapons system as a normal variation, the same would, in a performance-based system, be a performance failure for the one responsible to meet the performance objective. The planning (a senior management function) would have failed, and so would the planners. Someone would be accountable for the failure in performance; someone would be accountable for the failure in planning.
The cozy relationship between military planners and those in the military industrial complex would become much more business-oriented. Cost failure would become Army failure, witnessing a deeper failure in Army management.
As with a military campaign, the necessity of success at all levels would have to become a part of the operating environment. This was the goal to be accomplished in this paper. Part of the effect is assuring that senior leadership knows how to manage, to gain performance through direction of Army resources.
The logic is a continuation of the common sense of every commander. If any subordinate officer does not know how to be a success at gaining a performance result, they should not be given authority to act as subordinate leaders assigned to gain it.
This change is so basic that it will affect even the Army definition of leadership. Leadership will no longer be definable as the non-performance “doing the right things.” Leadership will be redefined to “Gaining the desired outcome” through the efforts of the organization.
The separation of leadership from management – which is traditional for Army management – will no longer be tolerated. Officers who are unwilling to perform to the plan that is promised to Congress are likely to find themselves out of command. It will be an Army where the thinkers support the doers, instead of the other way around; and that is a major cultural change.
Switching the Army from an authority-based system that is tolerant of failures (such as cost overruns and manpower training weaknesses) is not going to be an easy shift; it is going to require substantial management leadership. Someone is going to have to plan that change, and present an intelligent investment plan to Congress for resourcing the changeover effort.
Reversing a segment of the military culture, even with the obvious example of military actions being within that same culture, is not going to be done without substantial consequences. These will include such potentials as abandonment of Army careers by those who find performance-based management unacceptable.
The Army is uniquely able to handle this type of strategic planning. Army leadership has working parallels in the handling of casualties in military actions. Army leadership is specially prepared for the type of strategic thinking that yields a desired result in an area that involves great conflict and individual hardship. Their working tools for this are probably superior to those available from other sources.
The changeover begins by requiring a plan for the changeover. Once the changeover becomes the goal, the Army has the ability to find the commander to be in charge, and to begin the process of establishing the battle plan to make it happen.
Congress has a part to play in this action. The officer selected for this duty will have to be put into effective command over the action, and this is unlikely to occur without separate legislation. There are too many conflicting authorities in the existing Army management system. Other senior officers are likely to resist, or even to defeat, the change in continuation of present priorities. This officer has to be in authority to enforce discipline over all Army officers for the purpose of assuring the change.
Management engineering has an applicable general rule: The one who is put in charge of the change is also to be put in charge of the resulting situation. This officer will have to accept personal responsibility and accountability for running the organization after it is changed. This puts performance basis even upon the change. The one with authority to establish the change will end up being personally accountable for the result. Failure will not be a viable option.
Elements of Culture Change
One of the first casualties of the change will be management by regulation. In a performance environment, regulatory management will be approached as an aggravated form of micro-management. The subordinate area is managed by product and cost, not by process requirement. Again, the change will be made at a culture level.
This change is endemic, and the benefits can be presented by
example through a short study of property management. The property management system for
The performance-based alternative recognizes that the logistic purpose is support, not management control; and support work is never to be placed upon those who receive the support. The only reason to have a separated support group is for it to provide the support that others need.
The indicated property support effort requires action by the logistic experts. They go out and physically observe and track property. Signature tracking is still required, but the logistic experts are the ones who fill out their own internal logistic paperwork.
Two people could easily observe each piece of equipment six to ten times a year, and prepare all the logistic paperwork. This would multiply the ability to control and maintain Army property. It accomplishes this major improvement using only a fraction of the cost now expended on this one minor logistic-support function.
The more important effect is not in logistics, it is the lifting of logistic support work from those who are focused on organizational performance. Performance people can be more focused on generating the products that will make the larger organization a success. Performance management initiates a very different culture than that now in place.
It puts managers more in charge of performance, and increases their ability to assure performance through those working under their command.
This example is not unique, but is indicative of almost all internal support efforts that are controlled through regulation. The cost of regulatory management is inefficiency for both the support function and for the performance function that it exists to support.
The effect is also endemic. Consider the operation of an Army Base, now a separately management performance area managed from the level of an Assistant Secretary of the Army. It is indicative that there is no such thing as a measurable failure or success at operating army bases!
Management starts with performance; and Army bases in the
In terms of our functional product, the domestic Army base does not threaten foreign nations with military action, and it does not interfere with their ability to threaten us. It is internal support. Base services are to be managed at the level of the performances that receive base-operations support.
The performance will belong to others. The Base is a means for providing necessary and convenient internal support for meeting productive purposes. Bases may or may not be the most effective way of supporting performance.
Internal support efforts are subordinated to the performance areas they support. Support efforts within any module are to be missioned and funded by the leader of the module. Support resources should be determined by what the module’s subordinate performance efforts need in order to assure the generation and delivery of their necessary performance products.
With performance-based management, attempted control by those higher in the organization would be micro-management. Army-level value is not delivered by managing a support organization, but by gaining products that are necessary if Army management is to be a success in delivering its functional products to its functional customers.
Even if an Army base is mandated from above as an Army-level investment, the base-level officers who have responsibility to operate these support organizations will have to answer to module managers in charge of the areas that receive support. This is necessary if performance managers are to be fully accountable for success in performing their military purposes; and support managers are to be fully accountable for their supporting efforts.
There is still a valid place for general regulation, but not for establishing centralized and mandated processes. The commander with a performance responsibility is also responsible for establishing and maintaining such internal support efforts as will meet the requirements of those subordinate performance areas under his immediate control. Regulation can provide intelligent guidance.
Also, centralized support efforts like military supply, can provide internal support at the centralized level. It is reasonable to offer support to subordinate commanders, and these subordinate commanders can offer the same to their subordinates.
If the support is truly supportive, it is likely that the subordinate commanders will welcome it. If not, other options should be sought out and implemented. The value of support for a local process is determined by those who receive the support; and this need is not generally known to managers above the local-module level. Their senior-level investment must be at their level, and should not interfere with the operation of subordinate modules that they have been entrusted to subordinate officers.
The Engineered Estimating Process
A final engineered tool is necessary for intelligent process, that for establishing the resource-cost information that will support the performance objective. This is the engineered tool for change management
The management-engineering tool is a performance management concept for estimating. It starts with the performance concept and it follows its general logic and approach toward establishing a reasonable promise to perform.
The same general logic will be employed as that used by a military commander faced with a military objective. He has to energize and distribute his subordinate military resources to accomplish that central objective.
The military application starts with a clear statement of the objective, which will only be sufficient when it is clear enough to distinguish between a successful and failed military operation. Then the personal effort of that commander will succeed or fail as the subordinate operation under his command succeeds or fails.
The performance-based change effort for the Army starts with defining the functional product. That product will be valued by the decision-makers who will receive it. When there is a clear and measurable distinction between a successful and failed effort, then product delivery will adequately define successful performance; and successful performance will define success for performance management. Accepting the Army-level product as a performance responsibility establishes the largest performance module, the Army as a whole.
Visualization and planning that identifies, designs and delivers the value to decision-makers is the primary productive effort for Army management. That effort can either be assumed by the most senior manager, or be assigned to a subordinate for performance.
Ability to succeed at the military mission proceeds with an ability to determine subordinate mission objectives that will, if accomplished, lead to a successful military conclusion at the senior level. These are assigned to subordinate commanders. Subordinate commanders, following the same basic process, assign responsibility and accountability to their subordinates. The second-tier officer will address those subordinate objectives that will result in their successful performance of what the superior commander set them to do.
Each military commander is given charge of resources felt to be sufficient to accomplish the military objectives that are assigned. The most-senior commander endeavors to distribute available resources to subordinate commanders in support of their performances, reserving such as seem reasonable to handle exception situations that arise. Second-tier officers, of course, do the same for their subordinates, attempting to reasonably assure that their subordinates can accomplish what is directed so that the larger purpose is met.
This general logic is applied until all the military mission is planned for immediate action. While this is a continuing process based on command priorities, operating environment, interim results and resource capacities, there is a general and systematic logic to the application of resources to accomplish the military objective.
The Army, as an administrative organization, has a different challenge when it comes to resources. The resources are not fixed, even though they tend to be fairly stable. They are now distributed to subordinate areas in accord with a modifiable proposal generated for that purpose and blessed by Congress.
Performance management provides a different foundation, one which opens the potential for more effective planning and resourcing.
Estimation is the effect of having second-tier officers come back to the most senior manager with estimates of what it will cost to satisfy the performance objective that has been assigned. They, of course, have the same relationship with their subordinate performance managers. This process goes down to the most basic working element that has a performance responsibility.
The roll-up at each level adds the cost of the local resources needed for local management and administration to assure proper and effective support for all the assigned subordinate performance areas. To this, some reasonable amount is added in support of a level of expected changes and alterations that are likely to occur in the local operation.
Once performance responsibilities are set by this engineered estimating method, the establishment of resource requirements can be a fairly short process, a matter of a few days for each layer of performance responsibility. Then the performance will be assured by a known resourcing that is effective throughout the organization.
The only valid reason for returning to the decision-makers for increases after they have resourced the effort will be an exceptional amount of change, such as might be encountered if the Army is called into a major and active conflict.
The Final Word
This is not just a challenge for the Army administrative organization. The focus of administrative management upon performance has impacts that echo back to the operational side of the military. A clear functional knowledge of the flow of value can have great impact on the efficiency of military operations.
For example, the current military supply system is justly touted for its remarkable ability to deliver the goods to where they are needed. With the current military structure where supply is managed from a central location, the costs of achieving that end are remarkably well hidden. Decisions are not being intelligently made on the basis of cost and value.
When cost is examined, we find that much of the cost has been hidden in customer organizations, where every customer group has someone trained to perform supply transactions.
The time to train these people is a cost of supply administration. The time that these workers spend on gaining supplies and materials from the centralized supply system is hidden supply cost.
In a similar sense, there are unique financial and property tracking requirements that are placed on customer organizations. This is also a logistic cost, with effort incurred by customers in order to gain supplies. It is hidden cost of the supply system.
While it is difficult to quantify these costs, it appears that they are in excess of 5% of the manpower cost of the military. One out of every twenty people is a very stiff price to pay just to have the materials for war available when and where they are needed. For peace-time, it is unacceptable.
The challenge is in administrative management; and so the solution will also be in administrative management. Application begins with Customer-Product analysis. The purpose for the existence of this support organization is to meet the supply needs of those who have war-fighting responsibilities. The organization needs to get materials to the users when and where they need them to perform their war-fighting preparation and performance.
The general support rule is applicable; support organizations never put work requirements on working elements of the organization. They provide the support they exist to provide. We want the war-fighting elements concentrating their resources on fighting wars, not on getting their own supply. It is up to a supply-support group to maintain knowledge of support needs in serviced groups, and to satisfy them.
Management engineering provides a test for the success or failure of an internal support effort. A supply effort will be a success if there is no threat of failure in any operating element due to lack of adequate supplies and materials.
By this performance-based shift in administrative vision, resources for support are shifted out of the operating organizations, and into the support group. These groups are remissioned to provide the support that assures success in operating groups, rather than providing a way for these groups to get their supplies and materials.
The cost of providing supply support is likely to drop dramatically, even as the support is made more certain because accomplishing support becomes a logistic expert’s measure of success. Beyond this, the working elements of the organization can be more effectively focused on what the larger organization must accomplish to be a success in its operation.
The larger effect of the shift of administrative management into performance mode is that it can also focus its own energies on supporting performance, rather than just trying to perform the functions of administration as its operation. The purpose of administration is subordinated to, and becomes part of, the performance purpose of the organization.
Management engineering puts the manager more in charge than is possible in authority-based systems, and assures that management adds value to what performance areas accomplish.
More Management Engineering
Management engineering is an emerging specialty, promoted by
The Management Upgrade Shop, a
The first-level textbook for this new area, Techniques of Management Engineering, is written to provide industrial engineers with basic management engineering tools, or to provide management analysts and working senior managers with technical expertise in organization-level efficiency. Additional information is available at the website:
The annotated course summary available on this site presents the scope of basic efficiency engineering in management. As engineers make tools, this work provides a basic tool set for the working manager, and for his or her technical support.
Jesse W. Brogan
The Management Upgrade Shop Army Employee