Edinburgh Universities Lean Coaching Circle

Post date: Mar 12, 2018 3:58:24 PM


Richard Arkless

Senior Business Analyst

Student Systems Partnership

University of Edinburgh

Email: richard.arkless@ed.ac.uk

Back in 2016 a group of us from the University of Edinburgh attended the Lean HE conference in Stirling. A mixture of old and new to Lean, we all left the event full of inspiration and ready to put our ideas into practice when got back to work. For me though, came the familiar story of my day job getting in the way and stalling my initial flurry of enthusiasm and before I knew it a year had gone by! But importantly, over this period that initial energy didn't completely vanish and Lean was always there at the back of mind.

So, finally I resolved to 'do something'! I was aware that I worked locally to Steve Yorkstone (who I knew was something of a Lean HE guru) and decided to get in touch to see if could help put some structure around the Lean ideas I had been brewing since conference. We met for coffee and I explained that part of what I wanted to do was tap into enthusiasm I had seen from the conference attendees and somehow harness this. Steve suggested a Lean Coaching Circle that we could open up to colleagues working at universities in the Edinburgh area.

This seemed like an excellent and uncomplicated idea I could put into practice immediately. Invites went out to local colleagues we knew had an interest in Lean and in December 2017 we had our inaugural meeting.

We decided on a simple format, and used part of our first session to come up with a straight forward terms of reference.

The format of our sessions:

· Frequency - We would meet for a couple of hours, every couple of months and review this after a few sessions.

· Size - We are currently a group of 10 and will stick to this size for the first few sessions while we find our feet.

We aim to do the following in each session:

· Update - each member will have the opportunity to give a progress report

· Lean techniques - each session an example of a lean tool or lean thinking will be explored

· Hot seat discussions (2/3 each meeting for about 20 minutes each) - The person in the hot seat shares a problem which is then discussed with the group who will hopefully come up with suggestions for changes or improvement. Those in the hot seat will then feedback at the next meet up.

· Close - the group will reflect on how the session went.

We also agreed to:

· Treat everything discussed in the session as confidential.

· Behave appropriately, as we would all expect to in our day jobs.

· Be there for the full session.

· Be prepared to contribute. Bring a problem and/or a success to share.

· Take part in the hot seat discussions.

It's early days, but we’ve have had two sessions so far and feedback has been very positive and everyone wants to carry on. In true Lean fashion we plan to keep reviewing and improving the format and possibly expand the group. We're also going to track the improvements we make where we can measure the benefits.

So, if you're in HE in the Edinburgh area, and interested in getting involved, please get in touch.