Thursday, 31 January 2013

Let there be light, paint and coffee

Last time we wrote about the difficulty we had experienced in identifying and ordering the table and chairs for our meeting room. Well, our next five day rapid improvement event (RIE) will be held in the new meeting room, and time is of the essence to complete the work.

In spite of the snowy weather, delaying the delivery of chairs, we have managed to maintain momentum. What else does a meeting room for a LEAN Rapid Improvement Event need? It may seem obvious, but one of the main requirements is wallspace. Having clear walls for process mapping and post-it notes is preferable: pictures, windows and other fripperies are distracting, and can impact on people’s understanding of the process. One of our colleagues recommended whiteboard paint which can be applied to walls; after further investigation we were able to source the paint. The paint dries quite rapidly, but needs five days to ‘cure’: once this has happened, it transforms the entire wall into a whiteboard, an ideal surface for post-it notes and also to write on with whiteboard markers.

We have also noticed when running meetings elsewhere that lighting has an impact on the mood of the room, and perhaps, more importantly, on whether you can read what is written on the walls. We consulted our colleagues in Estates, and they identified some wall-washers (bright lights) that can be placed along the edges of the walls, to illuminate the wall. First fix happened yesterday and final fix is due to be completed tomorrow, which is the last working day before the RIE.

We mentioned, in our last blog entry, that it is is important for our participants to be comfortable, this includes providing appropriate refreshments at meetings and events. We discussed a number of options to ensure that people can get their caffeine fix, and agreed that a hot drinks machine was the most suitable piece of kit to buy. We sourced a hot drinks dispenser that offers an array of hot drink choices (a variety of coffee blends, hot chocolate and fruit tea options), the helpful supplier delivered a temporary machine on Wednesday (he has had a delay with the supplies) and we have been promised our own machine by mid-next week.

We may need to have a very early start on Monday morning, to bring things all together; but we are so incredibly impressed with how supportive and inventive colleagues have been in helping us get this far.

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