IANA Business Excellence Explained

by Leo Vegoda on January 4, 2010

“Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better” — Émile Coué de Châtaigneraie

For the last couple of years the ICANN community and board have set staff a strategic priority of excelling in core operations. In the current draft strategic plan for 2010-2013 the emphasis has focused on the IANA Department, with a headline priority of excelling “in IANA and other core operations”. At the same time, ICANN staff has been working hard on making sure that the IANA functions are delivered to an increasingly high standard.

In 2009 we started working on introducing a framework for ensuring systematic improvements to the way we deliver the IANA functions. We want to make sure that we don’t just get better at what we do: we want to systematically review what we are doing, identify our strengths and areas for improvements, identify a schedule for introducing improvements and then review how successful our improvements projects have been.

Systematic, Sustainable Framnework for Improvement diagram

We’ve been providing explanations about this work at various community meetings over the last few months, including at the ICANN meeting in Seoul.

We are implementing our systematic improvements using a well-proven framework: EFQM. The European Foundation for Quality Management’s framework is similar to the frameworks used by the Baldrige National Quality Program in the USA and the Deming Prize in Japan. We chose to use the EFQM framework because it’s not just widely used in Europe but also in the Middle East and parts of Africa. It is a very international program, much like ICANN.

As part of this work we’ll be performing a self-assessment later this month. This will give us a baseline against which we can measure ourselves as we work on improvements. Holding the self-assessment in January allows us to make sure that we can incorporate any improvement work into the FY2011 budget planning process.

The self-assessment will result in lots of ideas for how we can improve the way we deliver IANA services but we’ll initially be focusing on a small number of improvement projects. We’ll be reporting on which improvements we choose to start with following the self-assessment later on this quarter and throughout the year.