Monthly Archives: March 2019

International inspiration and useful tools at Lean HE

Leah March
Process Improvement Facilitator
University of Sheffield
Mark Boswell
Business Enhancement Manager
Middlesex University London

Lean HE 2018 Conference, Tromsø summary guide

This summary guide (pdf available Leah March and Mark Boswell guide for Lean HE) was created following our attendance to the Lean HE Conference Tromsø in November 2018. The aim of the guide is to highlight useful tools and topics shared throughout the conference and to provide some tips on making the most of the conference experience. We give some possible next steps in relation to both attending the Lean HE 2019 conference and applying for the UCISA bursary funding which allowed us to attend.

Keynote speakers

Professor Tove Dahl, Professor of Educational Psychology at The Artic University of Norway

Professor Dahl’s session started with a powerful story from her own working life about the difficulty of adopting new technology when she had not been equipped with awareness about the change nor the skills to readily use it, and the frustration and rework it resulted in. She also spoke about the need for courage to adopt change and the importance of equipping people with the necessary desire and tools to make mustering that courage and overcoming the difficulties easier.
You can read more about Professor Dahl’s blog about courage here.

Niklas Modig, Author, inspirational speaker and researcher in Lean and operational excellence

Niklas Modig’s inspiring presentation was split into two halves. The first concentrated on explaining the ‘efficiency paradox’, and the challenge of achieving flow efficiency alongside resource efficiency, across an extended process.
The second half was focussed on how he facilitated the first half of the session in a way that enabled his audience to reach their own conclusions, rather than provide conclusions for them, ensuring greater buy-in to the outcomes.
You can watch Niklas here explaining the efficiency paradox and other key areas of Lean.

Professor Torbjørn Netland, Head of Chair of Production and Operations Management, ETH Zurich

Professor Netland’s session talked about the close relationship between Lean and digitisation and that Lean and digitisation should collaborate in order to deliver effective process innovations. He also spoke about the power of Open Process Innovation and the importance of breaking down silos both within our organisations and between our organisations in order to utilise the wide range of knowledge and expertise to drive innovation – the more ideas there are the higher chance there is of good ideas.
You can read more about Torbjørn’s work by visiting his website ‘Better Operations’ to find out more about him and access useful links to his publications and blogs.

Key Tools

  • General

Pecha Kucha Lean HE Style

For those that have not seen or delivered a Pecha Kucha before, the concept originated in Japan whereby twenty slides are shown for twenty seconds each. It is a clever way to ensure that presentations are concise and fast paced. Several different institutions (Edinburgh Napier University, Leicester University, University of Twente) delivered presentations in this way, all telling their story.
You can read more about the Pecha Kucha presentation style here PechaKucha.org.
  • For you and your team

Inspiring Lean in Your Organisation – University of Strathclyde and CQUniversity

The session explored four key elements of the Lean Leadership model, which acted as a useful model to encourage others to brainstorm how they can both adopt lean themselves or encourage others to do so. We also completed a Lean Leadership Development plan with activities that we were going to undertake as individuals. You can see a template of the tool in the presentation via the ‘Key Tools’ link above and a summary by Graham and Graeme here.
  • For your projects

No Flip Charts Required! – University of Cambridge

Linda Spinks introduced us to a tool called SIPOC Extra that she has been using in recent workshops. The tool encourages workshop participants to consider key process steps one by one and answer questions incl. ‘who is involved’, ‘what is produced’ and process metrics. It was a useful tool to encourage thinking and discussion amongst staff unfamiliar with thinking about process, and allowed for quicker write-up and feedback. You can see a template of the tool in the presentation via the ‘Key Tools’ link above and a summary by Linda here.

Using Lean to Address Institutional Risk – University of Waterloo

A really helpful session which demonstrated how institutional risk can be calculated and used to evidence the need for improvements and as a way to encourage (particularly senior stakeholders) to drive change institutionally. I particularly thought their Risk Management Reporting Template and associated quantifiable metrics to be a useful tool to demonstrate and inform key stakeholders of risks and help plan for the future. You can see a template of the tool in the presentation via the ‘Key Tools’ link above and a summary by Kimberley and Kim here.

The Games People Play – Christine Stewart, Macresco Ltd/Cardiff University

Christine demonstrated the use of the ‘penny game’ to engage groups in activity which demonstrates the challenges we create for ourselves when batching work during multi-step processes.

Useful software

Menti: Laura Hallett from York St John University used Menti throughout her presentation to encourage audience participation and gather feedback on the session. It was really easy to join the session and Laura had a really good response rate. If you would like to learn more about Menti you can do so via their website.
Padlet: All sessions, including keynote speakers, were created within the conference Padlet in the order of delivery. Throughout the conference delegates were able to use Padlet to provide instant feedback linked to the sessions they attended. This was then immediately available to all other delegates to review, enabling follow up either with presenters or attendees to learn more where comments sparked interest or ideas. If you would like to learn more about Padlet you can do so via their website.

Value of networking

The team at The Arctic University of Norway did a brilliant job of fostering a relaxed, open and supportive atmosphere throughout the conference. This made networking with other delegates (of which there were 150 from around the world) much easier. Networking can be a really useful way to hear and share ideas, tools and techniques. Many people at the conference also remarked that it renewed their energy through the contagious passion of enthusiasm for the work. It can also allow you to make invaluable contacts for the future, be that for coaching, support or to call on if facing a similar problem or project.
Tips for effective networking
  • Don’t be afraid to sit with/talk to people you don’t know
  • Don’t assume because institutions are very different there aren’t things you can learn from one another
  • Follow people on Linkedin
  • Join mailing lists like the one managed by UCISA PCMG which are great in helping you to reach out to colleagues in the sector to ask for support and advice. You can join the UCISA PCMG mailing list hosted by JISC via the JISCMail website.

Next steps  

Finally, we would like to say a huge thank you to UCISA for enabling us through their bursary the opportunity to attend such a wonderful, engaging, thought provoking and interesting conference.
If you would be interested in attending the Lean HE 2019 Conference in Michigan, you can find out more here or if you would like to be part of the Lean HE community, you can join their regional mailing lists via the Lean HE webpages.
 Interested in finding out more about a UCISA bursary, then visit UCISA Bursary Scheme.

Bursary gives winner the courage to innovate and take up new challenges

Leah March
Process Improvement Facilitator
University of Sheffield

Lessons learned from the Lean HE Tromsø conference

In October 2018, I received a UCISA bursary to attend the Lean HE 2018 Conference in Tromsø thanks to being one of the very lucky beneficiaries of the UCISA bursary scheme. It was a brilliant week with many informative, interesting and applicable sessions.
The conference brings together many people working in change and improvement roles within HE around the world.

On a personal note

I found attending the conference thoroughly invigorating. It reinforced my pride and passion for working in business improvement and confidence in my skill set and its place within the sector. It also provided me with the ‘courage to change’ my own situation (Professor Tove Dahl spoke powerfully about courage in her key note). I applied for and accepted a new role within another HE institution.

My team

It encouraged me to devise with my team new approaches to stakeholder engagement, particularly in light of the recurrent theme of reducing stakeholder time for project/improvement activities and stakeholder exhaustion with ‘change’ projects. I have adapted my approach to rely a lot less on conventional workshops, instead embracing user shadowing, stakeholder interviews/drop-ins and project showcase events. This has been more time heavy on me but has allowed me to better fit around the requirements and workloads of the project stakeholders.

Institutionally

A recurrent theme of the conference was the importance of combining different but complementary methodologies. I was recently made responsible for creating The University of Sheffield’s approach to service design and I took my learning from the conference and made sure that I incorporated best practice from different methodologies (Lean, Systems Thinking, Six Sigma, Service Design) and other industries rather than allowing it to become too wedded to a single one.

More widely

I have shared my experience and key take home messages via a UCISA blog and have also recently created a summary guide with fellow bursary winner and conference attendee, Mark Boswell. The aim of the guide is to highlight useful tools and topics shared throughout the conference and some tips on making the most of the conference experience. It also includes possible next steps in relation to both attending the 2019 conference, and applying for the UCISA bursary funding which allowed us to attend.
The conference really showed me that there is a huge support network within HE both UK based and across Europe, Australia and the Americas, and the value of reaching out to this network, which can provide you with great insights, reassurance and ideas about how to optimise your work. I am still in touch with some of the people I met at the conference via Linkedin and email and feel like I have a bigger network of support than before.
Interested in applying for a UCISA bursary? Then visit UCISA Bursary Scheme.

Learning how to future proof integrations at Integrate

Bryony Lloyd
Information Services Developer
University of Lincoln

Integrate 2018, London, 4th– 6th June

In June 2018, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Integrate 2018 conference, run by Biztalk360, thanks to the UCISA bursary. This consisted of three days of talks from Biztalk experts and also industry leaders who are utilising this technology. Being able to listen to these industry experts about how they utilise the technology in their environment, as well as the draw backs and the advantages, has enabled me to adapt the developments in order to make the most out of the Biztalk environment.
Other benefits of the conference included learning about the direction Biztalk is going in from their developers. Bringing this back to the team has ensured we can plan for how we future proof our integrations. Personally, being able to hear about the direction and new features being introduced has been far more effective than just reading about it on the internet. This has enabled me to widen my knowledge of their plan which again has allowed us to start discussions within the team on how to future proof our integrations. Although nothing immediate has happened since, the knowledge gained from the conference has enabled me to participate in discussions within the department and with Microsoft about the best way forward for our setup.
After coming back from the conference, I spoke to the team about the options we have. We have also started looking into other options presented at the conference such as Logic Apps on Microsoft Azure. At the conference, the interface and the basics of how the interface works were demonstrated with hints and tips on how to use certain features and how to get the most out of it. This has put me in a better position to share my knowledge and experience with the team.
In the next six months to a year, we will be looking at how the Biztalk environment is set up and how we are going to ensure we are getting the most out of it. This might be changing to or incorporating other technologies such as Logic Apps and Microsoft Azure in order to achieve this.
Interested in finding out more about a UCISA bursary, then visit UCISA Bursary Scheme.

Educause inspires an Agile approach for bursary winner

Richard Goodman
Learning Technology Team Manager
Loughborough University

Educause 2018

In 2018, I was one of the lucky recipients of a UCISA bursary, which enabled me to attend the Educause conference in Denver, Colorado. The Educause conference is something that has been on my radar for 20 years, and it’s no coincidence that it is celebrating 20 years this year. The younger me would have been overawed at the sheer size of this event, but after having presented at and attended conferences for the last 20 years, I felt ready for it.
It is an absolutely enormous event, with around 8,000 attendees registered this year. That’s over ten times larger than most of the UK conferences in this area, which is why they need a venue the size of the Colorado Convention Centre to host it. I sought advice from past attendees (including past UCISA bursary recipients), and one common theme was “don’t be overwhelmed” as well as being prepared for very long days.
Educause brings together all of these thousands of people under the broad heading of technology in education, with a broad mix of attendees from junior learning developers through to project managers and all the way up to CIOs and CTOs. UCISA very helpfully hold an informal networking event for UK attendees, and this was very useful for putting faces to some of the people that I had been interacting with on Twitter in the weeks leading up to the conference.
I threw myself in headlong to each day, up at silly o’clock every day to take part in “braindates”, sharing experiences of learning technology with international colleagues from universities and colleges, and a nice guy from a start up company who are looking to get into the world of online learning with an interesting web tool.
The conference schedule was absolutely crammed with loads of conflicting sessions, and it’s the sign of an engaging conference when there’s so much to go to and too much to choose from. Sessions on learning analytics dashboards, student data, accessibility, ITIL, change management, projects and relationships, privacy and ethics and onboarding were certainly a varied bunch, with a good mix of listening and more interactive sessions where I made some contributions to the topic. The conference was utterly exhausting but hugely rewarding.
I came away from the conference with a head full of ideas, many of which will take some time to implement, but some of them formed the basis for some 2019 resolutions in terms of running projects and building relationships. My team are looking to run more Agile projects in 2019, and one of the key challenges is getting buy in from other areas of the university for this methodology. An Agile approach provides multiple opportunities for engagement throughout the project lifecycle. A “business ambassador” from the area of the business where the solution will be used is assigned to the project. The role provides the business perspective for all decisions related to the way the solution’s fitness for business purpose is defined and implemented. Working closely with the solution development team, the business ambassador guides the evolution of the solution, bringing other users’ input and ideas to the project as required.
As a true ambassador, the role is responsible for the day-to-day communication channels between the project and the business. The business ambassador must have the desire, authority, responsibility and knowledge to be able to ensure that the right solution emerges to meet the business need. This does not necessarily imply a senior position within the organisation, but a level of empowerment during the project to fulfil the role and an allocation of time to fully participate in the project as required. It was very useful to hear stories from other institutions about their approaches to this.
The conference hashtag #edu18 was a very busy one, and many of the conversations have continued long after the conference. I’ve expanded my personal learning network and have some new contacts on Twitter that I’ve been interacting with since the conference. During the trip, and since my return, I have shared my experiences of the conference on the ALT EMLT blog, the UCISA blog and on Twitter via my own account and the UCISA DEG account. I also spoke to a number of attendees at the recent UCISA DEG event on Immersive Environments about my experience and some of the technologies I had seen in Denver.
I have met with colleagues at various levels within the institution since my return, and have encouraged many of them to apply for a future UCISA bursary so that they might be able to take advantage of it in 2019 or beyond in order to help them with their own development goals. The UCISA bursary presents a unique opportunity for recipients to attend an event which can benefit themselves, their team, their department, their institution, and their wider network with the HE sector.
Interested in finding out more about a UCISA bursary, then visit UCISA Bursary Scheme.