Tag Archives: business process management

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.

Benefits of a steep learning curve by a UCISA bursary winner

Sara Henderson
Graduate Intern (Student Champion)
Student Systems Project (Corporate Information and Computer Services)
University of Sheffield

 

 

Sara Henderson was funded to attend this event as a 2017 UCISA bursary winner

Being awarded a UCISA bursary to attend the UCISA Support Services Group (SSG) 2017 conference was a highlight of my working year. Although SSG was not my initial choice, I felt privileged to be accommodated by the scheme nonetheless. Below is an account of how my attendance has positively shaped my professional development, institution and how this interacts with the wider HE IT sector.

For context, I am no longer working at Student Lifecycle Project at the University of Sheffield (formerly Student Systems Project), but the experience of UCISA-SSG has still had a lasting effect on my experience of the sector, as I will detail in the following paragraphs.

Professional development

Many aspects of the conference were a steep learning curve. Although I had attended conferences before, these were alongside my peers as an undergraduate, whereas UCISA-SSG17 allowed me to network with established and influential people in the sector. In some ways this was challenging – introducing myself and my involvement in the Project made me feel slightly vulnerable, but everyone I spoke to was interested and encouraging in equal measure.

Most notably, I was asked to speak on the Panel session – the headline event of the conference. Members of the panel were James Smith, Director of IT Services, Birkbeck, University of London; Adam Kearns, Students’ Union Postgraduate Office, University of Bath; Sebastian Barnes, IT Support Specialist, Leeds Beckett University, and myself. Although I was taken aback by the offer, I’m glad it was given relatively last minute, as it didn’t leave much time for the nerves to kick in. I had given presentations and spoken on a panel and in front of moderately-sized groups of people before, but never on this scale. I was accompanied by confident and competent speakers who luckily had most of the spotlight, and despite the topic areas being somewhat unfamiliar I was still able to draw on my experience as a student and university staff member. I was extremely proud of myself for accepting such a daunting but exciting opportunity, and grateful to UCISA for the experience.

Institutional benefit

Unfortunately, I was unable to present my experience of UCISA to student representatives at the University of Sheffield as I had hoped to, because the recruitment of said students was delayed for the duration of my contract on the Project. The time-scales and priorities of such a major business change project are extremely variable, so this is to be somewhat expected. However, I did share my experience with colleagues, conversationally rather than formally, and believe my attendance at the conference had a genuine impact on Student Lifecycle Project.

Firstly, I’m reminded of the ‘Adding Value with Values’ talk given by Alistair Reid-Pearson, IT Manager at the University of Huddersfield. I was heavily involved in the communication and marketing of the Project to stakeholders, and contributed to the development of our ‘Vision’, including our core values and principles. We acknowledged the importance of gaining buy-in from our team by inviting everyone to participate in the process of developing this piece.

Secondly, the electric discussion by Paul Boag, ‎User Experience Strategic Designer, Boagworks about User Experience How to start a user experience revolution’ carried through all the work I’ve done since hearing it. Being heavily involved in the prospective student enquiry management element of the project, I helped design enquiry categories in the new system, and formulate FAQs for student support and guidance. From content to layout, I began every consideration from the user’s perspective, as championed by Paul.

Lastly, Francesca Spencer’sTechnophobe Testing – an experience of providing a service to those who fear, dislike or avoid technology’ put accessibility at the forefront of my mind when supporting the development of software and services. I made it my priority to advocate for the needs of all staff and students, be it ‘technophobes’, disabled or differently-abled people, by urging their inclusion in the room.

Wider sector

It was a pleasure to contribute my dissemination to UCISA’s website (Part 1: Fresh meat and learning about user involvement and Part 2: Not in the IT crowd (and that can be a good thing) ), and I hope this was well-received. I connected on LinkedIn with some of the people I met at the conference, which has since provided plenty of reading material and food for thought, and allows me to learn from the hard-work and perseverance of others in the sector.

Interested in finding out more about a UCISA bursary, then visit UCISA Bursary Scheme.

Lean in Higher Education conference – key learning

Marion Malcolm
Business Improvement Team Lead
University of Aberdeen

Australasian Lean HE Conference 2017, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia

Marion Malcolm was funded to attend this event as a 2017 UCISA bursary winner

In November, I was able to attend the Australasian Lean HE Conference, courtesy of a UCISA bursary. I had a range of key objectives for attending the conference, one of which involved networking with practitioners from across the globe. The 150 delegates at the conference came from across Australia, Asia, New Zealand, Europe and North America.

My key learning points from attending the conference were:

I will be blogging further about the event including what my key next steps will be, and further information on my presentation on ‘Lean Training to Lean Projects’.

Interested in finding out more about a UCISA bursary, then visit UCISA Bursary Scheme.

EA for managing change

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Ian Ellery
Head of IT Architecture
Canterbury Christ Church University

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so, here I am at the IRM enterprise architecture conference  . The opening introduction promised a mixture of talks about the theoretic as well from those who have actually done it. We were also told that there were representatives from over 30 countries and all continents (except Antarctica!). A glance at the delegate list showed that I am the only person from a UK university, with just three other university representatives. This is reflected in the talks, with lots of emphasis on product delivery, profit margins and managing a business across multiple international locations. However, there was very little that I didn’t feel could be translated into the UK higher education sector in some way.

The opening keynote was from Ashley Braganza, a professor at Brunel Business School. He spoke passionately and length about the fact that, when it comes down to it, everything is about change. Business process management leads to enterprise architecture which leads to project and portfolio management: but all of these are really about managing change.

Theoretically, everything that is being done should link back to organisational strategy, but in practice it rarely does. He used an excellent analogy of the strategy being a mirror. When SMT look in the mirror, they see their strategy reflected back at them. But the mirror is then broken apart and each SMT member takes away a piece that reflects their part of the strategy. The mirror is then broken down again and again until every individual in the organisation has their own piece of the mirror reflecting their objectives. But the big picture, the reflection of SMT’s real vision, has been lost. And unfortunately, it is the enterprise architects who are usually called on to fix things! My reflection on this (pun definitely intended) is that either we fight this and try and get a coherent strategic vision, or alternatively, perhaps we embrace it and welcome the fact that EA is the place where corporate strategy becomes visible.

To finish, Ashley reflected on different change models, which he felt were all lacking. He was especially vitriolic about Kotter’s eight steps to change . Finally, one of the phrases of the day which totally resonated with me: the problems, in his view, are that we have 21st century models and methodologies, working within 20th century organisations led by people with 19th century mindsets. By the latter he meant a Dickensian obsession with counting things. Budgets, REF, TEF… sound familiar?

UCISA has an Enterprise Architecture community of practice which may be of interest.