Education Technology

UC San Diego’s Process Palooza: Leaning Toward Success

This is the first session of the last day of the conference at 8:00 AM, so if anything below is unclear or muddled, it was NOT the presenter, but me!


  • Mojgan Amini, Director Process Management & Continuous Improvement, IT Services, University of California, San Diego


Process Improvement Movement Engulfs UCSD

Backstory: Goal #5 of UCSD’s strategic plan is: “Creating an agile, sustainable, and supportive infrastructure by ensuring a dedication to service, people, and financial stewardship.” Various forms of the word “efficient” are used 11 times to further explain the goal.

  • Translation: be nimble, do more with less.
  • That means any savings in time or money gets directly reinvested back to the university’s core mission.

Continuous Improvement Mindset

  • Lean Six Sigma (LSS) is all about eliminating waste and reducing defects.
  • Process driven, data centric and people oriented approach to achieving business goals.
  • Over 1,600 LSS practitioners at UCSD who have earned Yellow, Green and Black belts.

Every new employee in IT gets registered for LSS training.

Momentum was Building

  • Community to bring together change management, continuous improvement and project management.
  • Major ERP effort with process optimization at its core.
  • Investment in LSS training and significant outcomes of LSS projects was increasing.

Harness the Collective Knowledge

We had the skillset, the interest and the need. All that was left was a way to bring LSS practitioners together. So we created an event called “Process Palooza,” a three-in-one event which included:

  • Process improvement competition – aka The Great LSS Race
  • LSS Learning tracks for everyone
  • Networking and community building

We weren’t quite sure what to expect, but we ended up with 500 people show up to this event! Whiteboards and collaboration, no laptops. Opportunities for networking and making connections included networking lounges and booths for departments and workgroups to showcase their projects, provide info, or ask for help

Real Processes, Real Results

The competition element of Process Palooza realized amazing results:

  • AS travel request process: $96K savings, 41% reduction in processing time, 50% reduction of rework, 50% reduction of advising time, increased customer satisfaction by 80%, increased process understanding by 100%.
  • Transportation Services new employee commuted: By implementing only a small number of improvements, achieved $105,000 in labor savings, 30% reduction of in-person procession, Full implementation of improvements slated for Fall 2018.

Business Excellence Community of Practice

A vehicle to carry forward the movement and continue to grow a continuous improvement mindset and our professionals. Benefits to university include: COPs can help you scale; create a support network for members, uniting change management, project management, continuous improvement and more.

  • Started in Fall 2017
  • Executive Board and Committes
  • Over 170 Members
  • Monthly events
  • Mailing list and Slack channel

Enterprise System Renewal

Our LSS process is reshaping the way UCSD does business. This includes: space management, financials, document management, admissions, identity management, HR/payroll, faculty review, data & analytics, research admin, student information, degree progress.

Lean Bench: software matters, but processes take center stage. We crowd sourced process improvement talent; a select set of campus expert practitioners of LSS methodology who engage and lead crucial efforts around process improvement, operational excellence, and business efficiency.

We track and measure all implementations and store this information in one place.


By Paul Schantz

CSUN Director of Web & Technology Services, Student Affairs. husband, father, gamer, part time aviator, fitness enthusiast, Apple fan, and iguana wrangler.

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