Re: “Baking in” SCD…

Planning for Change, some evidence. Here’s a little follow up to my post,¬†“Baking in” SCD.

I’ve been forwarded this link which is exceptional in it’s brevity and information. I suggest anyone in HE should read it’s from the, “Leadership foundation for Higher Education” and is called, “Adaptive capability in higher education institutions“.

It looks at 4 Universities and they change they went through with details from staff at all levels involved.

Some of the major points I thought were interesting.

  • Enterprise Enablers – in Plymouth Uni. 60 people who were enthusiastic about the changes from across the spectrum of the University. These people helped champion the change from all walks of the University staffing.
  • Town Hall meetings – Places to have open and frank discussions about the changes with the VC’s and people at the top.
  • Details reports on the actual state of the University – Senior staff having access to the correct information
  • A reason – The changes reported as successful had or created an urgent need
  • Removal of staff – Blindly reducing the headcount, left staff un-happy. But involving the unions, discussing reduced working hours and structural changes left staff with a better morale
  • Students suffer – There’s a massive tripartide relationship at Universities between Academics, Staff and Students. Balancing changes appeared to adversily affect the students.

“Baking in” SCD tools to our staff’s daily appetite

Recently I started scratching the surface of SCD here at Warwick University by reading a couple of online resources. Then last week I planned to and meet some of the core team. The chats we had introduced some really interesting new discussions and concepts to me around change programmes.

SCD is a massive change programme here at Warwick University and it stands for Simplify, Collaborate and Deliver. It’s the concept that we can reduce waste on our tasks, work with each other and deliver change rather than just talking about it.

Here are some initial theories I’ve been knocking about in my head since that first chat and I wanted to ruminate and share them. Please bear in mind they are all TOTALLY un-tested and un-researched. For me this write up is more a process of going with the raw thoughts and seeing what rises up from it.

The thoughts are all based on, how do you “Bake in” SCD to peoples’ daily working lives? I’m sure this programme is going to be very successful. However, in my mind the questions which rose to the top were, how do you make change programme in any institution more than just being a whim for staff, some training imposed from above or worse… a new expensive fad which fades! How do you “bake it in” so that when ANY staff member has a work problem there’s something in the SCD toolkit to call upon as naturally as picking up their phone?

btw. “Baking in” is a term to describe that there’s no extra input needed, you’ve got access to it easily. You’ve baked in cranberries to that pie so you don’t need to add any separately. It’s just there, baked in.

Herd immunity

A well known medical term and practice for immunising a population against disease is Herd Immunity. The theory and practice is, you don’t have to immunise everyone, but at least a certain percentage of the population to prevent widespread pandemic… Obviously I don’t think the staff are herd, or that there’s a disease, but the point is that the population is resilient even if not everyone is immunised. Is there cross over in the theory here where if enough of the staff are trained in dealing with Waste and Change (SCD) that as a University we are resilient?

How would we know when we’ve hit that point or herd immunity status, what KPI’s and monitoring would you introduce to know we are “immune”.

Trickle down SCD

In the same way that “Trickle down economics” doesn’t work, how do we make sure this programme doesn’t fail from “Trickle-down change”? How do we inspire, support and sell grass-roots change?

Is there a way to create equality of access and interest in SCD so it’s “Four Legs Good, Two Legs baaaaaad”?

How can we make a culture where everyone feels the same responsibility and expectation of each other to practice and learn from it?

How can we make make sure we use people’s skill and enthusiasm¬†across a spectrum of the Payroll Grading, the Departments and Skill sets?

Culture eats process for breakfast

It just does.

So why would most people here care about LEAN and SCD? A lot of people just want to get on with their job. Would purposefully identifying enthusiastic people lead other people change their culture?

Include it as a DPR requisite

Well if it’s that freaking important, how do we back that up and make it more than an avoidable fad?

How do we make sure it doesn’t go away, could we include a couple of questions or tick boxes in staffs’ reviews to remind them if they’ve practised SCD this year or not?

People do like to learn and would enjoy SCD, however they also have their day jobs. How do we make it a common thing for everyone to muck in with? Could we attach it to merit pay? How could we highlight and celebrate people who have purposefully called on SCD to solve a problem?

Done!

Anyway, there’s my initial and wide-ranging thoughts on a new subject. No answers yet, just questions! Also, I really enjoyed these pictures from this blog, have a look

https://hakanforss.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/are-you-too-busy-to-improve/

are-you-too-busy-to-improve2 are-you-too-busy-to-innovate1

Simplifying Digital Reporting Tools in WMG, Warwick Uni

As we’re speccing and delivering more digital systems at WMG, Warwick University, we’re beginning to re-evaluate how we handle reporting from each and every system. It’s becoming clear that every online application or process seems to implement a different set of reporting tools by default.

Currently we have 2 which output custom .csv’s (comma separated values), another system that you only get reports out if the developer is available and we have 3 more systems planned for release in the Summer all with reporting requirements.

Clearly we’re need to start offering a more unified interface for our users, so we can,

  • reduce the strain on developer time per. system (a premium)
  • simplify the learning requirements per. system per. staff member
  • improve product delivery time

As a potential solution I’ve been looking into clever add-ons from elastic.co, which as a dev is my favourite. However, that would be a new system for admin staff to have to learn. Also, we can’t implement it on all the systems, just a few of them.

Another potential system might be Microsoft performance point, however, no-one here knows that system. Also, we’re unsure of which technology stacks it will hook into.

However, we’ve discovered a more generic solution that would build on our staff’s Microsoft Office skills rather than learning technologies and it can access any technology stack.

It appears that Microsoft has an add-on called “Power Query” which connects directly to Azure, SQL and Mysql databases. With a read-only database account for staff and administrators, they would connect directly to the database and with some guidance access and work on real live data. If we were to organise a shared OneDrive folder with the queries and charts in, then we would reduce the team’s adoption.

This way, I won’t need request time to build custom reports on every project, unify our reporting technology to one piece of software and reduce the cost of licensing to our current Office 365 licence.

We’re at the stage where we are going to trial Power Query and I’ll report back on our findings.