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Way of Work Tools for External Partners

The Michigan Department of Education's (MDE's) Way of Work (WoW) system was developed to build a coordinated and aligned department. WoW is informed by implementation science and consists of eight consideration areas - Defined Effort, Governance, Communication, Resources, Professional Learning, Technical Assistance, Data, Evaluation. When all the consideration areas are appropriately applied you build a coherent system.

Within MDE, consideration area teams design tools or create guidance that assists MDE staff with their work. MDE is offering WoW tools to intermediate school districts (ISDs) and local education agencies (LEAs), both traditional public school districts, and public school academies (PSAs) to help with their own coordination and alignment. The tools can be adjusted to meet your respective needs.

If you have questions about the tools, feel free to contact MDE at


The Top 6 Most Effective WoW Tools Used by MDE

*WoW Tool



The purpose of this document is to provide consistency for defining topics covered in a larger more formal meeting.

Quick Notes

The purpose of this document is to describe “Quick Notes” as an alternative to formal meeting agendas and meeting minutes by allowing each team member to raise discussion topics and document the conversations and resulting action.

Defined Effort

The defined effort is the agreed upon “Topic” or “Subject” of the project that will be worked on and implemented. The defined effort forms the basis for building a workplan and a reference point that keeps the implementation team focused.

The purpose of this document is to outline existing or new work to ensure successful implementation.

Team Governance

The purpose of this document is to outline how a team will work together to accomplish a defined effort (the work).


The purpose of this document is to outline how a team can develop and implement a simple communication plan.

Status Update

The purpose of this tool is to provide a defined effort status update on the progress, barriers, and upcoming activities of a defined effort team. Note: this tool has been adapted and used as a status update tool for different types of teams or activities.


*WoW tools developed by the Michigan Department of Education WoW Support Team. WoW is led by MDE's Office of Strategic Planning and Implementation (OSPI).