Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Continuous Improvement Bright Spot: VPF Situation Room

A key part of continuous improvement culture is "finding the bright spots" -- looking at who has had success making changes and operating differently.  Small changes can make a big difference!

The Issue:  The VP Finance Leadership Team wanted a more efficient, visible way to track projects and identify issues.  Regular "around the room" report-out format meetings were not allowing for quick identification of issues to address and items for awareness.

James Gorman and Judy DiVita compare Post-It notes in the
VPF Leadership Team Situation Room. 
The Improvement:   The VPF team and UVAFinance Continuous Improvement Committee members took a field trip to the Medical Center, where they got an inside look at how both the leadership team and medical staff use Kanban boards daily to quickly identify, assess, and solve problems.  Inspired, they brought this knowledge back to Carruthers Hall.

The Solution:  Carr-Collab-2 (the standup meeting room) became the VPF Team's "Situation Room."  It took a little while to identify the activities and functional areas it made sense to track.  After identifying a system that would work for the team, Continuous Improvement Committee members got out their painter's tape and built a giant Kanban that you can see in Carr-Collab-2.  Color-coded post-it notes indicate either a positive or general awareness callout (blue) or a situation that needs attention or is at risk (red).

The Benefits:  Although the team is still adjusting the new process to fit their needs, they're finding that their weekly standups in the situation room are much more focused on the most important information, opportunities to collaborate to solve problems, and sharing the information that people need to know.

The Bottom Line:  Employing a Lean methodology has allowed the VPF Leadership Team to function in (surprise!) a leaner, more efficient way, making the best use of everyone's time and addressing issues that impact all of UVAFinance and our stakeholders.

Got a bright spot to share?  Email bv8h@virginia.edu!

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