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Lean Bench in Action

See how the Lean Bench program works.

About the program

UC San Diego is embarking on a journey of growth and renewal across all areas of the campus, including growth in student enrollment, student success, teaching programs, research, staffing, and recruitment, just to name a few. In order to prepare for this growth, it is important to start by reviewing and optimizing all relevant business processes and systems. Although this is a sizable undertaking, it can be achieved through diligent planning, institution-wide support, and incremental output.  A comprehensive chancellor-endorsed initiative called Enterprise Systems Renewal (ESR) will help initiate the Lean Bench to accomplish this goal.

Optimization of business operations and process improvement are critical to the success of initiatives like ESR. This is the perfect time to leverage the growing Lean Six Sigma expertise within our own institution to review and accredit campus business processes for “Lean-ness,” called the Lean Accreditor Review. At the onset, the Lean Bench of experts will focus on the ESR initiative as their first body of work for review. Hundreds of business processes in the realms of Financial, Payroll, HR, Student and Research administration will be in scope for review prior to implementing, automating or configuring these processes for new systems. The ESR program is slated to run over several years starting with the Financial systems/ processes, then on to HR, Research and Student.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Bench Manager: Responsible for managing the roundtrip lifecycle of Lean accreditation, including exception case management. 
  • Lean Bench member: Responsible for facilitating discussions and producing documentation which leads to review and accreditation of an assigned process.
  • Governance Body: Responsible for resolving exception cases and reviewing recommendations for processes to be implemented.
  • Project Leads: Consist of key players representing both the business and technology areas, as follows:
    • Change Lead: Responsible for communicating the change and rallying support for adoption of new processes. This role is often served by the key Business/Process Owner for that project who is accountable for the entire process, from its design to operations, performance and continuous improvement. Process owners collaborate with others to provide optimum end-to-end service delivery. 
    • Build Lead: Subject Matter Expert (SME) in a given business realm, responsible for designing and configuring the process in the selected system. Understands key functions of the system. 
    • Technical Lead: Responsible for technical design and implementation of system solution, in addition to integration to related systems.
    • Project Manager: Responsible for managing entire project timeline, tasks, and resources.

Lean Bench accreditation and workflow

The Lean Bench workflow is an ongoing process. See the steps below:

Start: Business Process Inventory icon

Start: Business Process Inventory

The Change Lead (representing the business) identifies key processes and groupings of activities to be slated for Lean review and accreditation. This is referred to as the Process Inventory. The client then requests Lean Bench assistance.

Identify icon1. Identify and prioritize

Bench Manager coordinates with the project leads to identify and prioritize the business processes and activities for Lean Accreditor Review.

Match icon2. Match

Bench Manager matches the processes with available Lean Bench members. Matching is done so that the process is outside of the bench member’s normal business duties in order to provide neutral facilitation of review.

Process review icon3a. Process review

Lean Bench member works directly with the project team members, including change lead, process owner, SMEs and project manager, and leverage the projects resources.

Apply Lean icon3b. Apply Lean methodology

Bench member applies Lean Six Sigma methodology to facilitate process review.

Facilitate recommendations icon3c. Facilitate recommendations

A pre-determined standard set of deliverables is produced. Lean expert makes recommendations to the Governance Body. The recommendations may be one of the following:

1) An approved and accredited process
2) An agreed improvement plan for the process
3) A process that needs to be retired
4) An exception to keep and implement non-lean process

Governance review and approval icon4. Governance review and approval

Governance Body endorses the recommendation and the project team is engaged to work through the implementation and rollout process.

Track status and metrics icon5. Track status and metrics

Lean Bench manager tracks status of all accreditor review outcomes and metrics using measurement standards that are relevant to each project.

Project management icon6. Project management

Project Manager for that project tracks activities, deliverables and timelines for all aspects of work, including Lean Accreditation Review.

The cycle continues by circling back to step 2, cycling through processes, and cycling through Lean Bench members.