A: Lean is a cultural evolution. It is bringing the principles of customer focus, alignment, and continuous improvement together to bear results. The changes come from all levels and are systemic. The culture is based on respect for people and that respect creates a higher standard, a greater acceptance of experimentation, idea generation, and follow through on those ideas. When people share ideas and those ideas are followed up on, they then create a virtuous cycle that creates a culture where the workforce is more engaged. Engaged workforce that generates ideas for continuously improving product for their customers? That’s what Lean is all about.
Q: What does Lean stand for?
A: Lean does not stand for anything, it actually is about being lean, or trim. It refers to improving processes by working smarter helps to minimize waste within numerous areas of a company. Lean, a system for continuous process improvement, was developed primarily from the Toyota Production System (TPS), and helps to define what is value according to the customer, and organizing and improving processes to deliver what is needed, when it is needed, and with minimal waste.
Q: We’re not a manufacturing facility, how does this apply to us?
A: Lean has a focus on the customer, whether that is a car buyer or a faculty member, or another person on your team. The idea is for the School of Medicine operations to use the principles, which include the following: cultural enablers (respect for every individual, leading with humility), continuous improvement (seek perfection, focus on process, etc.), enterprise alignment (think systemically, create constancy of purpose), results (creating value for the customer).
A: Everyone! There was a cohort of 13 students who went through a year-long training in 2016. This year there is a cohort of over 30 students, including Marcia Cohen, a number of people from the Dean’s office, and many of your departmental DFAs. While these people are going through the official training program, we fully expect that you will become engaged through your leader, who may be participating, or be asked to be a part of a launch, or participate in daily huddles.
Q: How can I get involved?
A: You can get involved by deciding what you want to do next, then contacting the team! Do you want to have a quick orientation to Lean from one of the Lean team members? Would you like to visit other team’s visualization boards? Do you want to host a launch? Figure out what you would like to do and contact us!
Q: What is the Principle of Process Excellence and how is it different than Lean?
A: The Principles of Process Excellence is the Safety, Quality and Value statement created cross-functionally by the School of Medicine and the hospitals. It consists of the principles of Process Excellence and echos some of the primary tenants of Safety, Quality and Value:
We create value for our customers (Process Excellence: customer focus)
People are the most valuable resource (Process Excellence: respect for people)
We strive to be the best at getting better (Process Excellence: leading with humility)
Our leaders foster an environment for improvement (Process Excellence: continuous improvement)
Q: Who is Mike Martyn, what is he doing here? I keep hearing his name associated with Lean?
A: Mike is a consultant from Portland, OR who has been working with the School of Medicine since 2015. His mission is to lead the School of Medicine through an evolution, bringing Lean thinking to the 100+ year old school. He has worked with educational institutions such as the University of Washington as well as a number of for-profit companies such as Boeing, Dannon, Raytheon and Kraft. Mike is a former turn-around specialist and has held a number of senior executive positions, driving results in service and manufacturing environments.
Q: Why are we doing this now?
A: The best time to optimize is when things are going well. The School of Medicine is running well and doing great things, but can we be better? One of the principles of Lean is that there is always room for continuous improvement. However, as we continue to grow, we’re continuing to expand from a time when we could do everything ad hoc, to one where we need to have more thoughtful processes in place.
Q: How long is this going to take?
A: This is a journey of continuous improvement. There are companies who have been doing this for decades and still feel that they are learning and growing and are therefore not finished.
A: A huddle is a quick meeting, generally no more than 15 minutes, held at least once a week, ideally on a daily basis. During the huddle a team of people gets together to make sure they’re aligned on goals, winning or losing according to those goals, celebrating accomplishments, escalating issues, and developing ideas.
Q: What is a Launch?
A: A launch is a three day process that works through an identified problem with a group of 8-12 people. During the Launch the team will go through the following:
Mapping the Current State of the Process
Identifying Pain Points, Issues and Ideas for Improvement
Revisiting Goals and Metrics/Measures
Envisioning the Future State
Prioritizing Pain Points, Issues, and Ideas for Improvement
Identifying “Focused” Objectives
Discussing connection to current process/alignment with achieving goals
Discussing Next Steps and Commitments following the Launch
Q: What are these 30/60/90 day report outs about?
A: the 30/60/90 day report outs are follow-ups from the Launch process. After the Launch, the team gets together at least weekly and then follows up with a meeting for a larger audience every 30 days.
Q: What are these viz (vis, visualization) boards that I keep seeing?
A: They are a way to understand visually if the team is winning, and if anything needs to be escalated. Huddles are generally conducted near the boards and referred to as the team reflects on their progress. They generally consist of a way to visually know if the team is winning on their objectives, a place to track metrics that correspond to the goals, an area for kudos and celebrating wins, and a way to escalate issues. Boards tend to be colorful and hopefully fun, reflecting the team dynamic. They change frequently and everyone should have the ability to change it.