Yesterday I ran some short thirty minute training at the CiCS PA Christmas Coffee Morning organised by Jenny Allsop and Jayne Halsey from CiCS. The aim of the training was to cover a useful process improvement topic that would also be fun and allow attendees to chat to one another. The first difficulty came when trying to select a tool that I could cover in enough detail to be useful and include an exercise all within half an hour. The second difficulty was that as the event was a drop-in so we wouldn’t know until the last minute how many people would turn up!
With this in mind, I opted to talk about the reasons for and benefits of standard work and standard operating procedures. We discuss standard work and its benefits as part of our practitioner and tools training but haven’t before delivered it as stand alone training, however I felt that the topic would be useful to those invited, could be covered reasonably quickly and would allow us to play with some Lego!
We were delighted to see so many arrive for the slot and quickly had to open another packet of fondant fancies! After a short presentation, the group split up into pairs and were each given written standard operating procedures on how to build (out of Lego) either a camel, alpaca or crocodile and an envelope containing the correct Lego to do so.
The teams were then given five minutes to complete their standard animal and I think it is fair to say, there was mixed success. Many commented that the written standard ops were difficult to follow and understand.
The teams were then asked to dismantle all their hard work and were handed a picture of the finished standard Lego animal and given five more minutes to complete their own. This round was much more successful and most of the teams completed their animals before the five minutes were up.
After the exercise I discussed with the group which standard operating procedure they had found most useful and the majority opted for the picture, however, some preferred the written instructions. The aim of the exercise was to highlight the importance of thinking about your audience when writing your standard ops (some prefer text, some pictures) and to make them as clear and user friendly as you can.