Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Lean and cake

This week we've been fortunate to have a visit from Heidi Fraser-Krauss from St Andrew's University, following our visit there last week. She came down to talk to staff from a number of departments including Student Services, Finance, HR, ACS, External relations and of course CiCS about what LEAN is, and how they've implemented it in St Andrews. A very informative presentation, and lots of good disucssion and questions.  What came across more than anything is the need for senior management support and a champion. LEAN also needs managers to relinquish some of their "command and control" and let the people who actually do the job suggest changes, and then help to facilitate the changes. This can be hard, and  many people I've spoken to about LEAN agree that one of the biggest barriers to change is middle management. The manager's job is also to set challenging targets - there's no point starting to change a 3 week process to get it down to two and a half weeks - go for a day, or an hour. Challenging is the polite term - I preferred Heidi's description of "pant-wetting" targets. So, lots of things to think about but a very positive attitude from everyone there, and I think we've probably got enough momentum now to get on with it.

Other meetings this week include a newly reinstated CiCS/Library Liaison group, where we talk about matters of shared interest. Research data storage, the Library's new technical architecture, learning spaces (including our plans for Information Commons phase 3), and how we support international collaborations were all on the agenda. The latter is an interesting one, and focused a lot on licences, both of electronic resources, and software, and the many different licening models we have for both. Some  allow access to our international collaborators, some don't, and some we just can't work out whether they do or don't.

We had the second of our coffee and cake meetings with a random selection of staff yesterday, and as ever, the cake was excellent I'm told. We're always happy to get feedback on how these things have gone, and suggestions for improvement. We have tried to find an informal space to have them in, and someone suggested a pub yesterday. Not sure about beer and cake.....

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