Distributed Office: ‘DO’ Training

The term ‘Distributed Office’ was coined in an effort to describe the reality of our working lives since March 2020, when we said ‘au revoir’ to our desks in UCD and returned to our kitchens/lounges/bedrooms to set up office. 

We started to look at re-inventing what ‘the office’ meant in this new environment – what we do in it, the things we need (material, space, equipment, systems), the people we work with, the experiences shaped and created, and the ability to access and use the help we need in doing all of this. 

For more background, check out this article on The Distributed Office – the journey so far…   

We listened to colleagues around UCD describing particular challenges as they adjusted to this new reality.  We devised a series of short (1 hour) training offerings which aimed to meet some of these needs. 

Our new DO Lean series was launched in October 2021.  For more on this, see Distributed Office: DO Lean

This series offers bite-sized, one hour sessions, where we introduce you to Lean skills which you can apply in your day to day work. As with all our training, the sessions are open to all colleagues and can be tailored to suit teams too. 

Following is a list of our other DO sessions, check the InfoHub Booking Centre to see current availability and to make a booking. 

DO: Keeping teams connected using Google Currents

This workshop looks to the way we work together, as a team, on a day-to-day basis, addressing the question of “How can I keep my team connected and informed while working remotely?” using Google Currents. Through this workshop you can discover virtual alternatives to ‘bumping into’ your colleagues in the corridor, or by the water-cooler!  Currents will not only connect you with your own team but will also provide a channel of information from within the wider UCD Google Currents community. 

DO: Joining a Team Remotely 

This session is for those who lead or manage people as part of a team and aims to provide some answers to the questions “How can I make sure my new team members know what they need to know and are learning what they don’t yet know?” and “How do I get new team members up to speed and part of our team culture?”

We’re all constantly adapting to working remotely, figuring out how to do in an online world what we used to do in the office.  Even for well-established teams, getting on top of the day-to-day can be challenging. For new members of a team, this can be an often isolating, sometimes overwhelming experience. 

The goal of the session is to do two things – to give you a chance to explore the experiences of a new team member with other team leads, identifying trends and common challenges. Then we will look at some tools, approaches and techniques that can help you support new members of your team.

DO: Getting to the root of a problem

How many times have you made a fix only for the problem to resurface, or another issue to crop up in its place? How often have you struggled to convince someone of what the right thing to fix is? This workshop looks at how we can challenge our assumptions using root cause analysis to address the question of “what is the right thing to fix so the problem goes away for good?”

Using Agile’s favourite remote workshopping tool, Mural, this session looks at different techniques for root cause analysis and when you might choose them.  Participants also get hands on experience of getting to the root of the problem.

DO: Painting the Customer Picture

This session is for those who plan, develop and operate processes and services for their ‘customers’.   “How to do we paint and use a clear picture of our customers?”

 We do lots of work for our ‘customers’.  We ask them lots of questions and learn lots from them. Sometimes we need them to do stuff, sometimes we are meeting a need of theirs, sometimes both.  Sometimes this is on-going, sometimes it is for a project.  How do we make it easier to work out this dynamic and make the most of our time and energy?  

This session aims do two things – to look at the ‘our needs’/’their needs’ dynamic and to introduce the ‘value proposition canvas’ as a way of painting the picture of your customers, what they need/want, what you offer them, and what you need from them. And then how you can use this in developing processes and services, and in running your day to day business.

DO: Streamlining Meetings

Meetings are a great and necessary part of office life but how often to you think ‘great, another meeting’? How often have you had ‘if only…’ thoughts about a meeting. “How do we help meetings work for us?” This session will help to identify concrete things you can do, and the motivation to act on some quick resolutions.

DO: Workshopping Remotely

This session looks beyond our day-to-day work by addressing the question of “how can I run a successful remote workshop?” Using Agile’s favourite remote workshopping tool, Mural, we will look at how to set up and run a successful workshop.

DO: Where are we now?

A key to making change, of most kinds, is knowing what you are changing. If you do not know where you are leaving from on your change journey, you are already lost.  “How do we map where are we now?” This session will help you map out where you (and your team) are now, giving you a key element of looking at how you will go to where you want to go.

DO: Project management for operations management

ow to you start to build project management techniques – planning, scheduling, executing and controlling – into your management of operations?  What project management thinking do you need to use when getting ready to address issues or challenges arising in operations or, indeed, in getting ready for a project. 

This session is aimed at: those running teams or units. 

Session goals:

  • To lay out some key project management techniques that can be used in running your operations.
  • To look at some tools (i.e. certain kinds of documents and how you go about creating them).
  • To put the ‘agile’ into this thinking.  (Not UCD Agile, but the principles of agile).

DO: Planning and tracking: Planning  

How to we make sure everyone knows what to do, how it fits together, and the contribution it makes overall?  How do we make sure we have the resources we need to do it?  How do we know it’s working and how do we cope with the unexpected? “How do we make sure what we are doing, day to day, gets us to the outcomes we want?”

Aimed at  team leads and managers. 

Session goals:

  • Outline an approach to planning and tracking for teams and units. 
  • Introduce the overall planning and tracking journey. 
  • Work through developing the plan for an example business. 
  • Develop just what is focused on in tracking.

Here is a document containing an outline of the workshop process which you can use with your own team when planning: DO Planning and Tracking: Planning

DO: Planning and tracking: tracking

How to we make sure everyone knows what to do, how it fits together, and the contribution it makes overall?  How do we make sure we have the resources we need to do it?  How do we know it’s working and how do we cope with the unexpected? “How do we make sure what we are doing, day to day, gets us to the outcomes we want?”

Aimed at  team leads and managers. 

Session goals:

  • Take the handover from planning and setup the tracking needed. 
  • Look at the different kinds of action and how they be tracked. 
  • Explore the team aspect – planning and tracking is not just for the team lead or manager. 
  • How and who do you keep informed of progress.

Please find attached a document which outlines how a tracking conversation can take place with your own team: DO Planning and Tracking: Tracking

DO: Evidencing the Benefits of improvements

You are putting time and effort into improvements.  How do you: know and show what ‘better’ looks like; use evidence to uncover opportunities and justify going after them; recognise and share your successes; and build best practices?  This session explores various metrics, indicators and approaches you can use to provide evidence of the benefit of change.

Session Goals:  

  • Using data in setting up and scoping your improvement
  • Using a ‘measurable benefits’ data plan
  • Building a data wall
  • Using performance measures to highlight the benefits and identify new opportunities.