WST Summer School: a look back

By Josephine Aylward, UCD Agile

Our annual Work Smarter Together Summer School took place online from 13th to 15th July for the second year in a row – we’re all looking forward to  2022 being the year we get to see our colleagues in person at an event.  Over 150 colleagues registered, with most attending multiple sessions.

When planning this year’s offering, we took on board feedback from previous events, keeping the sessions short – on average 1 hour – to make it as easy as possible for colleagues to fit the sessions into busy schedules.

Throughout the event, Google Currents was in full swing with regular updates posted in the Work Smarter Together Community

Resources: You’ll find a brief recap on the sessions below, and you’ll find resources for many of the sessions on the WST Summer School page. 

We had two external partners delivering sessions:

On Tuesday 13th and Thursday 15th, we ran the popular Yellow Belt training with our partner SQT.

If you missed this and would like to attend, our next Yellow Belt will run on 9th – 11th November – book now via the InfoHub Booking Centre. 

Also on Tuesday 13th, we held the second day of a two-part session on change management – Taking Charge of Change – with Stepstone Consulting. Contact us at if you’re interested in this training. 

DO Lean Series: Delivered by Michael Sinnott, Olga Murdoch and Eimear Kelly

 We were delighted to launch our brand new DO: Lean series (part of our Distributed Office training) which offers for the first time an introduction to Lean in bite-size chunks, making it easy for staff to engage with.  Keep an eye out for upcoming offerings in the DO: Lean series.  Offerings will include:

DO Lean: Think Lean; DO Lean: Defining Success; DO: Planning and Tracking; DO Lean: Process mapping; DO Lean: Getting to the root of a problem; DO: Project management for operations management

Keep an eye on the InfoHub Booking Centre and the Staff ezine as we’ll be scheduling another round of this DO Lean training in early Autumn. Don’t forget that all our training sessions can be booked for your team – so if you’re a team leader and want to bring your team up to speed, just contact us at to arrange a session. 

Orientation – how do we welcome students we’ve already welcomed?

The Orientation Management and Coordination Team (Jason Masterson – Student Services, Aisling O’Grady – Student Advisers, Michael Sinnott – UCD Agile, Emma Caron – Registry, Aoibhinn Nic Giollamhartain – Dean of Students Office and Niamh Nestor – Student Advisor) presented Orientation 2021 plans and gave an opportunity for attendees to share what they were doing to welcome Stage 2 students in September.  

Check out the latest from the team with this Orientation update.

 DO: Online Events: 

Delivered by Eimear Kelly and Olga Murdoch

Building on the success of the online version of the Work Smarter Together event held in March 2021, Eimear and Olga facilitated a workshop to share the lessons learned they’d learnt.  The aim was to give participants a chance to explore the experiences of those who run online events, identifying trends and common challenges and to look at some tools, approaches and techniques that can help staff to host an online event.

The participants were given a DO Online Events checklist  which contains all the tips and tricks learnt from the experience with the WST21 event and from the workshop participants. 

Anyone can excel: Delivered by Gregori Meakin

Following the success of the Excel Learning Community, Gregori Meakin’s Excel session was very popular with a full house of attendance.  

Gregori is a self-confessed fan of Excel and always happy to encourage others to experiment with it in applying Excel to day-to-day processes that can improve our work by using data that is available to us. In this session, Gregori shared his knowledge of Excel,  covering areas like:  VLOOKUP vs XLOOKUP, Reshaping Data in Power Query and Excel’s Power Query, Data Merging,and Data Flow

After the session, he shared Anyone Can Excel Tutorials as a guide though the content covered.  Included in this document are demonstration files and short videos demonstrating the features covered.  I particularly liked the video on using the XLookup function, a new addition to Excel’s arsenal of Lookup functions – really helpful, thanks Gregori!

After the event, Gregori encouraged colleagues to post comments, ideas, questions in the  USM Community Hub in Google Currents, so that we can all share the learning.  If you are interested in developing your Excel skills further, you can join the Excel Learning Community through the USM Community Hub or by contacting Gregori –

Transform your digital office experience with Google Workspace

Delivered by: Peter McKiernan and Aidan Curran, Enterprise Applications Group (EAG) IT Services

Peter and Aidan’s presentation focused on streamlining day to day Office tasks and highlighted the benefit of adopting a common set of digital tools across your team to make everyday administrative and office collaboration challenges much easier.  With the Digital Office,  your team can still collaborate “live” on documents, have that “water cooler conversation” and still feel positively connected to colleagues in your team.  Feedback from attendees was extremely positive, people praised the practical nature of the session with lots of useful tips and advice, and the way the session was delivered in an easy to understand but informative way. Don’t forget to check in on the Google Workspace Community for lots of useful information on Google Workspace. 

DO: Project management for operations management

Delivered by: Michael Sinnott, UCD Agile

In this session, Michael asked the question: What can I take from ‘project management’ and apply to how I manage the operations I am responsible for?

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?  Michael’s presentation is available here

Contact us at if you’re interested in this or any of our sessions. 

Wufoo Community Showcase: Delivered by: Catherine McDonnell, Elena Keany, Caroline McTeigue

 In this session, members of the Wufoo community gave an overview of some of the helpful features of Wufoo, and shared tips, tricks along the way.  A live demonstration of a Wufoo form was based on ideas from the audience. 

In addition, the new Wufoo User Group was launched, a community which will support Wufoo users in creating and maintaining Connectors.  The first meeting will be on 26 August. Anyone interested in joining the User Group should fill out the online form and the team will be in touch with more details.

Bring your own biscuits

And we couldn’t forget the BYOB session hosted by our own Olga Murdoch.  Bring your own biscuits is a fun and informal way for people to get together and bump into other UCD staff they may not have met otherwise.  Olga’s ice-breaker challenge took the form of a ‘gif’ competition where everyone picked a gif which depicted how they’d feel if told they could work from home indefinitely!  Everyone then voted on their favourite gif from the selection and although no prizes were awarded, we had some fun unleashing our creativity!

Our next Work Smarter Together event takes place on 20th October, we hope to see you there.