The USM’s Journey to a Rapid Improvement Event

By Jeremy Britton & Amy McDonald, UCD Agile

What is Continuous Improvement?       
Continuous Improvement is an ongoing effort to improve services or processes. A Continuous Improvement culture supports individuals and teams to evaluate and improve their services or processes considering their efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility. These improvements can be incremental over time or breakthrough moments.

The Unified Support Model – a foundation for Continuous Improvement            
Over the last 12 months, the Unified Support Model has been developed and rolled out across the College/School Offices and in Registry. The Unified Support Model works to ensure the consistent delivery of high-quality support to and a unified experience for students and staff.

During the rollout, the USM Project Team worked with teams to establish a baseline and gain an understanding of the individual teams as they were: how they worked together, what their shared purpose or ‘WHY’ was and how they operated their processes.

The USM Learning Team was also established during this period. The initial purpose of the Learning Team was to bring together staff in the offices operating the USM to share insights, expertise and feedback on the rollout of the USM itself. Once the team started meeting regularly, it became apparent that this forum was more than the sum of its parts, with the focus growing to incorporate more than just the rollout itself. The team has become a platform where members can:

  • share best practice, expertise and experience;
  • drive convergent continuous improvement for services across the offices;
  • enable and inform change driven by University Strategy; and,
  • engage with University initiatives (e.g. the SASR Operations Group).

The USM Learning Team – Driving, Shaping and Owning Change

As the Learning Team began to share expertise and experience, certain ideas and suggestions for process enhancement began to surface. It became clear that a framework was needed that would allow for the capture and analysis of these ideas and make tangible and informed changes possible. This was where the Rapid Improvement Event played an integral role.

On the 22nd October 2019 the USM offices held their first Rapid Improvement Event, focused on standardising the local operation of processes supporting the Continuation Policy. If you would like to read about the Event you can find more information here.

What next?

As the USM develops and the Learning Team grows in experience, we are eager to keep the momentum going. The lead-up to the Rapid Improvement Event on Continuation has highlighted what can be achieved by providing people the opportunity to  feel part of a culture that recognises and supports the work they do and a framework that allows them to take control of their unique circumstances. We are looking forward to seeing and supporting the ideas that continue to surface over the coming year.