Universities, like any organizations, can have waste. Listed below are some questions to help uncover waste:

For example: Let’s take the waste of waiting and apply it to university processes.

  • Where are students waiting? Is the waiting excessive? And, what might the root causes be?
  • How long are students waiting to find out if they are in a certain class?
  • Are students waiting a long time for exam results?
  • How long are students waiting to know if he/she has been accepted into the university?
  • How long does it take to get a new course approved?
  • How long does it take to create a course catalog and where in the process is there waiting?
  • How long are students waiting in lines on campus? (cafeteria? book store? etc.)

Let’s look at the waste of over-processing:

  • Which processes might have over-processing? Are there processes that seem lengthy or over-complicated?
  • How many forms must be completed for admission?
  • How much information is needed on forms? Is all the information necessary? How many approvals are needed?
  • How many people touch one piece of paper to get it processed?
  • What kind of University administrative processes seem over-complicated and require multiple steps, approvals or touches?

These are all questions to help “see” the waste. Hope that helps!

Tracy O'Rourke

Tracy is a Managing Partner & Executive Advisor at GoLeanSixSigma.com. For almost 20 years, she's helped leading organizations like Washington State, Cisco and GE build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.