A Day in the Life of Director of Process Excellence and Change Management

Have you ever wanted to know what it would be like to work in a different job or industry within process improvement? PEX Network's twice monthly "A Day in the Life" series continues this week with Diane Francisco, Director, MBB of Process Excellence and Change Management at pharmaceuticals company Covance.

My alarm clock wakes me up like a police siren blaring next to my head. "Really?" I think to myself as I reach to shut off the noise, "Is it really 4 am already?" I open one eye to validate my fear. Yep! It is time to get up and get going.

This is the start of my typical day.

The night before I had set out my work out clothes and my work clothes, so that they were easily accessible and no time would be wasted looking for things. I head to the basement workout room for a session of P90X, which provides me time to clear my head before I get my kids up and off to school. After 90 minutes, I am headed upstairs passing my husband who has begun his workout. It’s 5:30 am, I grab some coffee and get ready for work.

Diane Francisco is Director of Process Excellence and Change Management at Covance

In the next 90 min, I will have cooked breakfast for the three ‘men’ in my life as well as myself, practiced the week’s spell words with my two sons, and assembled the pre-made lunches into their proper boxes. The morning’s activities have been standardized or choreographed to ensure that we are out of the house on-time. Lean principles are at work, though my kids would probably not understand that they are following them.

It is 7 am and all four of us are in the car. My husband and I carpool to work most days. This morning neither of us have conference calls - rare but has been known to happen!

We drop off our youngest son and sign him into the before school club. Hugs and kisses and good-byes are said. Then we are off to the middle school to drop off our eldest son. "Don’t forget that you need to take the bus home," I remind him.

And now for the 30 minute drive in to the office. On our way in, my husband and I review the evening’s schedule. We discuss what activities the boys’ are attending and who would be the designated driver. We decide that I will be taking the boys to Scouts tonight. I quickly schedule this in my blackberry with a reminder. I have found that a bit of pre-planning and scheduling is the best way to keep things running smoothly.

Its 7:45 am and I am at my desk. I look at my schedule today which has been planned out to minimize transportation waste, all my meetings will be in the same building today. At 8 am my first meeting starts, so I have just enough time to get some tea, i.e. more caffeine!

Most of my day will be on teleconferences or in meetings discussing the project portfolio, developing the strategy or approach to a new process improvement opportunity with a co-worker, creating a new training module, and coaching a black belt on their project. I look forward to a Future State Value stream mapping session with a group of leaders and subject matter experts from one of the business units that I support. This meeting goes really well. You can feel excitement and energy from the group as they create the picture or map of their future processes.

My work day ends following my last call with one of our sales leaders. I am feeling satisfied that my introduction of Hoshin Kanri was well received and that implementation of this approach, linking all of our process improvement efforts to the company strategy, will be successful.

I pack up my laptop and meet my husband at the car. On the drive to pick up our son from school, we discuss and re-confirm the evening’s schedule. The night processes have begun: helping with homework, preparing and having dinner as a family and then off to Boy Scouts- standard work for a Tuesday night.

The evening’s activities are complete and it is now 9 pm. The boys are finally in bed. Setting out my work and workout clothes for tomorrow, I think about the events of the day. My thought is, "I am lucky! -my days are never the same or boring. The opportunity to connect with people and problem solvers inside and outside of work is very rewarding. My days are like an on-going PDCA cycle. I plan, I do, I check and then I ADJUST!"


Do you want to share your story with PEX Network? If you work in process improvement we'd love to hear what your day is like! "A Day in the Life" submissions should be between 700-1000 words and can be sent to us at info@pexnetwork.com. Please include a brief professional biography, and a jpeg photograph. Please note: submission does not guarantee publication.