Yesterday myself and Rachel had the pleasure of delivering a bespoke training session to students on the MA Librarian course. It is the third year that we have delivered the session covering an overview of Lean (fundamentals and principles) and an introduction to process mapping. Something I am reminded of every time I deliver training is the importance of building time into the session for everyone to have a go and put the theory into practice, it is all well and good talking about types of process maps, practicalities (paper vs software) and the use of swimlanes but I don’t believe that it is until you have a go you really get a feel and see that process mapping (as easy as it may sound) isn’t as straightforward as you might think.
We tasked the students with brainstorming common Library processes that at least six of them had an awareness of. They selected; internal complaints, overdue and returns and split into three groups to map them. Immediately they all experienced the difficulty of mapping any process when you have not clearly agreed the scope (start and end points) as this led to confusion around what needed to be covered and who was involved. After some discussion these points were agreed and they began to map and experienced the difficulty that can arise when deciding where the activity lies in some cases and the complexity any feedback loop for example can build into a process map, this led a lot of repositioning of post-it notes, highlighting the value of doing it on paper first before putting it into software. By the end however through practice, guidance and teamwork we had some fabulous process maps that clearly showed the flow of activity throughout the process they had chosen (see below).
We have always enjoyed delivering the session and this year was no different, the students were enthusiastic and engaged and really threw themselves into the activity making the session a pleasure to deliver.