Monday, 20 July 2009

Stop, Start, Continue

Lively session last week at a meeting of our Section Heads with the Executive Team. We brainstormed in three groups around what we should stop doing, what we should start doing, and what we should continue doing. Each group had a go at all three flipcharts, then we each picked our top priority in all three categories. The process was as good as the outcome, and we managed to find plenty to talk about and discuss. We didn't all agree with each other and that lead to some lively debate.

The "STOP" suggestions ranged from attending pointless meetings, moaning, and thinking narrowly, to fluffware (my favourite!), dithering and obsolete systems. The top priorities were (in no particular order):

• Making commitments without resource
• Waste of time meetings
• Support for too many systems and services
• Ridiculously complicated processes
• Making errors and ignoring, ie not learning from, them
• Moaning

START had a whole range of suggestions including many about how we work particularly promoting cross team working, reviewing and/outsourcing more systems including the portal and the VLE and a lot of suggestions around knowing our costs.

And top of the list were:
• Prioritising more effectively
• Cost /benefit analysis of current activities
• Promoting what we do
• Producing software with user-friendly interfaces
• Thinking of user requirements from the start
• Reducing the number of incidents through clear processes and communication

The things we wanted to continue were around valuing and developing our staff, innovating, providing core services and having a friendly and helpful attitude. Those with the highest scores were:

• Innovate
• Focus on quick wins (80/20 rule)
• Value staff
• Supporting Faculties
• To have a sense of humour
• Using common sense

So, that's just a flavour - we filled about 12 flip charts. Some very specific things listed and some very general. Now we're going to have hard decisions to make over the next few weeks about what we stop, start and continue and this discussion was very helpful and a good start.


Anonymous said...

Prioritising actually means making hard operational decisions. For example; The person maintaining a legacy system is also working on a project to replace it with a whizzy Web 2.0 widget. When that legacy system goes down, as it inevitably will, do you (a) ignore it and tell the person to crack on with getting the replacement up and running (b) pull the person off the project work and tell them to fix the legacy system, thereby getting the aggrieved users temporarily off your back?

9 times out of 10 option (b) wins out, and the prospect of getting the new system up and running fades further and further into the distance.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris Sexton said...

To the anonymous person above who's post I've just removed.

You asked "Why delete valid comments? What is the blog for if not to receive feedback?"

Valid comments are fine. Rude or abusive ones aren't.

If you want to hide behind an anonymous cloak, fine - that's the easy way out isn't it?. If you want to actually engage with me, have the guts to say who you are.

Anonymous said...

Valid comments are fine. Rude or abusive ones aren't.
Even if the comment had been rude or abusive, this is still your rule, not anyone else's!

Chris Sexton said...

It's also my blog, therefore my rules. If you don't like it, don't read it.