Higher Education and Not-for-Profit Consulting

JM Associates is a boutique consulting firm to higher education and not-for-profits. We have been helping people and organizations transform the way they think and do for more than 25 years.

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Process Streamlining

How well are we doing the things we do?

Process Streamlining is focused on the incremental improvement of an overall business process by improving its individual steps.


The primary goals of Process Streamlining are:

  • reducing time
  • reducing complexity
  • eliminating bureaucracy within individual process steps


Working full time for several days over two weeks, a seconded team of 6 to 8 members is charged with streamlining a process (see Process Streamlining Methodology below). The team’s recommendations must be implementable in 90 to 120 days.

A variation on the full PS methodology is a Mini-Process Streamlining project, where the scope of streamlining is narrower, and implementation is measured in weeks.

For a complete overview of JMA’s Process Streamlining methodology, download our Process Streamlining Overview (PDF).

Process Streamlining Methodology

Prior to PS Launch
  • Develop Case for Action, End Results and Constraints, and Start and End of Process parameters
  • Pre-map process
Training, Mapping & Brainstorming
  • Train Team Leader, Process Owner, Scribe and Team Members
  • Review and verify mapping of current process and plan for external research
  • Identify attributes of each process step
  • Brainstorm and do external research
External Research / Redesign
  • Brainstorm and do external research
  • Design new process
  • Finalize design and plan report
  • Write report
Post Process Streamlining Report
  • Present report to Sponsor(s)
  • Plan implementation and execute

Business Process Reengineering

Are we doing the right things?

Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is focused on fundamentally rethinking and radically redesigning a business process to bring about dramatic improvements in performance (Hammer & Champy, The Reengineering Revolution).


The primary goals of Business Process Reengineering are:

  • radical change
  • dramatic outcomes
  • transformation or replacement of an overall process


Working full time, a seconded team of 10 to 12 members is charged with redesigning a process to meet End Results. Team recommendations form a blueprint of the new process. Multiple projects result from the recommendations.

For a complete overview of JMA’s Business Process Reengineering methodology, download our Business Process Reengineering Overview (PDF).

Business Process Reengineering Methodology

Current Process Mapping
  • Mapping of current process
  • Note forms used, departments involved, resources used etc.
  • Evaluates functional effectiveness of the process in terms of service, client feedback, resources, backlog, duplication, and acceptability of output
  • Develop an extensive list of possible solutions to achieve the End Results (the more improbable, the better)
  • Calls, site visits, interviews, etc. with other organizations
  • Periodical and web research
Initial Design
  • Draft new design for the process
  • Map and write up new approaches
Walkabout Interviews
  • Interview stakeholders affected by the new design
  • Discover what information may have been overlooked
Final Design
  • Incorporate community input into the BPR Team’s work
  • Finalize the new design
Report and Presentation
  • Report writing
  • Full Team presents report to Executive Steering Committee and Project Sponsors

Strategic + Tactical Planning

Strategic Planning

A Strategic Plan is a design document that articulates an organization’s Mission, Vision, Principles, and Strategic Initiatives. It is a blueprint to guide an organization’s future directions, culture, initiatives, and projects. A Strategic Plan reflects the institutional mission and vision; trends and drivers; and stakeholder needs and should have a multi-year, institution-wide perspective.

The true success of a strategic planning effort is not only producing a Plan but actually being in the position to use it to guide annual tactical planning, daily operations, decision making, hiring, etc. The process used to create the Plan is as important as the document produced. Change management for staff and the community as well as marketing to build support from peers and senior leadership need to begin as the plan is being produced, not when it is finish.

The process used needs to be understood and supported across all levels of the institutions. Staff and the community must be involved in developing the Strategic Plan and have ownership. Planning must be open and inclusive, supported by senior leadership, staffed by a Working Group — and be a partnership among the organization, stakeholders and facilitators.

Tactical Planning

A Tactical Plan is created to managed the implementation of projects during a set period of time (usually one or two years). The Plan comprises strategic and operational projects, which are scheduled and executed based on their priority, dependencies, the availability of human and other resources, and institutional cycles.

A Tactical Plan is a working document that needs to be actively managed throughout its life to reflect changes in individual project timelines and deliverables — and the impact of these changes on other projects in the plan.

Additional Services

In addition to our Process Streamlining, Business Process Reengineering, Strategic + Tactical Planning, Senior Management Advising, and Facilitation Services, JM Associates also provides:

  • One-on-One Coaching Services
  • Change Management and Communication Planning
  • Organizational Planning
  • Service Reviews
  • Industry Research and Environmental Scans

Contact us to discuss how we can assist your organization.


Why We Are Different

  • Our sole focus is on the higher education and the not-for-profit sectors.
  • Our principals are directly involved in every engagement.
  • We have extensive knowledge of planned and implemented solutions at other organizations.
  • We have a proven track record that can be measured by successful implementations and the length of our engagements.
  • We have a broad network of contacts with whom we interact regularly, and with whom we can connect clients to enable peer interaction.
  • Our principals and associates have been senior employees of major universities, and have consulted with organizations worldwide.

More Than 80 Years Combined Experience

JM Associates brings more than 80 years of combined experience working in and consulting with institutions of higher education and not-for-profits and in industry. This background provides us with knowledge and expertise that recognizes the mission and unique cultures of these environments, as well as their drivers, decision structures, and processes.

Client Partnerships

We always partner with our clients to achieve desired end results. Our methodologies involve staff and client participation to gain important insights, capture institutional knowledge, and build ownership of solutions developed.

Proven Methodologies

Our methodologies are have been developed and tailored for the unique environments in higher education and not-for-profits. While many of our services are based on proven methodologies, work with each client is tailored to the organization’s unique culture.

Contact us to learn more.


Proven Experience in the Higher Ed & Not-for-Profit Sectors

We believe that the ultimate test of a firm’s success is their track record with recent and relevant engagements. JM Associates offers proven experience in completing projects to the overwhelming satisfaction of our clients.

Higher Education



Client Quotes + Interviews

Below are quotes from clients and past members of JMA teams. Two themes recur: that the methodology is very powerful, and that it has transferrable benefits to all areas of the organization.

From Team Members

I really understand what my colleagues do now and have an even greater respect for them. I liked that we could just get down to brass tacks and get actual work accomplished without all of the usual red tape, procedures, and policies that usually turn a molehill into a mountain. I liked learning an effective methodology that I can apply to other areas of my work.

York PS Team Member

It was a huge learning [opportunity] for me as I am new to the department. It made the puzzle come together for me.

CRNBC Exam PS Team Member

This was a life-changing event.

UBC Human Resources BPR Team Member

PS is fabulous! Can’t wait to make the process run so much smoother for the candidates and for CRNBC!

CRNBC Exam PS Team Member

[I enjoyed] working with other staff outside usual work and coming up with a workable plan with buy in from everyone involved.

–CARNA PS Team Member

It was… fascinating… to deconstruct and reconstruct a process — I think having gone through it once will equip me to apply the steps to other processes more relevant to my job.

York PS Team Member

[I appreciated that] those people affected by changes in workflow process were consulted and included in decision making.

CRNBC Exam PS Team Member

Thinking out of the box… discussing new and creative ways of looking at things is stimulating and a ‘positive crank’ that carries on even when we return to our work.

CRNBC Learning Events PS Team Member

From Team Leaders

Leading a PS changed my perspective on what being a team leader is. It was an awakening. I used to be an advisor, providing information. Now I help others figure out what they’re comfortable with.

UBC Research PS Team Leader

PI projects offer the opportunity to identify synergies across the organization that might not have happened otherwise. PI provides the framework that allows smart, creative people to do things differently. [We’re] focusing on the process, not the technology.

UBC Student Recruitment BPR Team Leader

Case Studies

Below are case studies of our work with various organizations outlining project successes.

Process Streamlining of Course Scheduling

JMA assisted Wilmington University with a redesign of its course scheduling process.

Client Wilmington University
Process Course Scheduling
JMA Methodology Process Streamlining


Wilmington University faced a challenge. The University had experienced a huge increase in number of students, campuses and programs, and expected even more growth in the future. However, the Registrar’s process for scheduling courses, assigning faculty / instructors, and communicating course availability to students was becoming obsolete and rapidly losing ground.

The Provost and Registrar decided change was needed and assembled a team of seven staff to streamline the course scheduling process. The scope included creating and updating courses, determining demand and offerings, and communicating information about courses and offerings to students.

The team’s charge was to:

  • improve the experience for both those involved in the course creation process and those using the process to schedule courses
  • make the process intuitive and easy-to-use, integrated, effective, efficient and bureaucracy-free
  • reduce the number of course changes and cancellations after scheduling
  • provide optimized class sizes

Using JM Associates’ Process Streamlining methodology, and with facilitation provided by a JMA associate, the team mapped out of the existing process, identified the problems, brainstormed and researched fixes, and recommended to the sponsors changes to improve the process.


Wilmington University identified several major issues with the course scheduling process:

  • had evolved over many years, and changes introduced had often complicated things, leading to confusion, frustration, inefficiency and potential errors
  • work require to gather and analyze required information and create the schedule was tedious, with a lot of back-and-forth among offices and campuses
  • process involved too much paper and staff time
  • each division used a different approach, leading to duplicated efforts and inconsistencies
  • each semester’s scheduling was based solely on previous year’s data, with little known about longer-term trends or graduation requirement demands
  • frequent cancellation of low-enrollment classes and a lack of seats in high-demand classes, leading to further inefficiencies in faculty hiring and classroom usage
  • printed course schedules was immediately outdated, with students not always referring to the more up-to-date web site
  • course information was presented by program and site, but students couldn’t sort it in ways that would assist in course decision-making (time offered, location, division, major, etc.)


The team’s recommendations included:

  • define roles and responsibilities to eliminate duplication while increasing integrity and accuracy
  • eliminate paper-based processes and redundant steps and decrease tasks that do not add value
  • leverage student system features, capturing data only once
  • automate tasks to increase accuracy and decrease data entry
  • decrease preperation and publication time for the course booklet
  • provide continued analysis and information to divisions during pre-registration and registration periods so they can make course changes that reflect actual demand
  • establish consistent processes and procedures across all divisions to encourage cross-divisional planning and information sharing
  • deliver new, cross-divisional data on student class levels, new students admitted, previous demand, and dropped courses to help coordinators to make more informed course scheduling decisions
  • ensure faculty and divisions continue to be focused on course requirements and policies while the Registrar continues as the guardian of these policies
  • capture and leverage information about adds and changes in previous semesters to inform course scheduling in the future


The following document templates have been useful to many of our clients:

90-5-4-1 Systems Implementation Approach (PDF)
An approach for implementing a system that integrates leveraging vendor best practices with reengineering and streamlining processes to achieve strategic and operations goals.

Prioritization Toolkit (PDF)
Overview of JMA’s Create-Weight-Evaluate-Calculate approach to prioritizing a service requests, recommendations, projects, etc. along with sample criteria used by some of our clients.

Contact Us

T: +1 347.871.5087
E: info@jmassociates.com

JM Associates
410 West 24th Street, Suite 17E
New York, NY 10011-1309