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Agility Series Training

Agility, the University of Alabama Continuous Improvement Program using Lean Higher Education as a guide, launched the Agility Series Training in 2022 and continue during 2023. We have new and improved courses for the 2024 Series.

Training sessions are offered in-person and registration is available in UA LMS.

Topics and Schedule.

Click on the title of each course to access the registration page.

Cultural TopicsMethodology Topics
Psychological Safety – Jan 10, Feb 8, Mar 5, Apr 3, May 9.

This course introduces the concept of psychological safety and how to create an environment where employees feel comfortable questioning old processes and contributing with new ideas.
It includes examples of behaviors that support psychological safety, the psychological safety & performance model, and how to foster psychological safety in a team.

Note: Psychological Safety is a prerequisite to participate in other Agility Series courses.
Lean in Higher Education (LHE) Part I – Lean Overview and Tools Introduction  - Jan 25.

This course presents an introduction to Lean concepts applied to higher education. Lean is defined as a set of practices and tools to improve efficiency and effectiveness, eliminate non-value-added activities, and create needed value.

The first part of the course includes these topics:
* Lean in Higher Education definition, overview, and benefits.
* Lean tools and practices summary and examples of tools per purpose, including Gemba Walk, Flowchart, 5S, and Visual Management.
Change Management - Jan 17, Mar 26.

Change is a constant in our lives, from technology, processes, methods to people, and affect the way we perform our activities.

The change management course presents concepts on how to implement and lead changes more smoothly and to have those changes better accepted.
Lean in Higher Education (LHE) Part II- Non-Value-Added Activities  - Jan 31.

This class is the second part of the Lean in higher education course. It presents the concept of value stream mapping as a vital part of continuous improvement and describes the 8 types of non-value-added activities that exist in any process.

During this class, you will start identifying non-value-added activities that are present in your work or processes and possible ways to eliminate them.
Problem Solving - Feb 21.  

This course presents ideas on how to improve through problem-solving, expanding your horizons of problem-solving beyond tools and methods.

Topics included: The problem statement, cause and effect, integrating intuition, ideating and selecting solutions, people solve problems, problem-solving culture, and the four types of problems.
Note: This course is a prerequisite for the Root Cause Analysis session.
Root Cause Analysis - Feb 29.

This course introduces the concept of root cause analysis (RCA) as a method of identifying the causes of a problem or issue. Presents how to identify factors and breakdowns in the processes or systems that contributed to the problem and determine how to prevent them from happening again.

The course presents the two most common root cause analysis tools: the Fishbone diagram and the 5 Whys, that you can start using to identify the causes of the problems in your daily work.
Elective - Liberating Structures – Mar 7.

This course introduces Liberating Structures, a collection of interaction patterns that allow you to include everyone in a group (from extroverted to introverted and from leaders to team members) to work and innovate together.

In this course, you will learn alternative ways to approach and design how people work together using additional options to the conventional group interactions.
Process Improvement Overview  - Mar 27.

Every process has the potential to do a little better. Or, in some cases, a lot better. This course presents a methodology and the benefits of process improvement, to guide your improvement initiatives to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and overall performance of your processes.

The process improvement methodology presented is composed of five phases, and the course focuses on the first two:
* Assemble the right people
* Define the current state
* Collect current state data and analyze root causes
* Design the future state
* Develop an implementation plan
Brainstorming Strategies - Feb 13.

In this course, you will learn some new techniques to energize your brainstorming sessions, including reversal, random, metaphorical thinking, and fantasy chain brainstorming methods.
Adding these techniques to your repertoire will help your teams develop more and better ideas. They are also excellent ways to sustain interest and engagement when you are brainstorming with a group.
Data Analysis and Metrics  - Apr 10.

Manage your improvement initiatives metrics more efficiently and effectively. The class will cover the proper use of metrics and their frequent misuse.

During this course, we will also present some of the tools used to collect information (e.g., check sheets) and to analyze, measure, and display data, including histograms, Pareto charts, and control charts – process behavior charts.
Elective - Process Automation  - Apr 23.

Process Automation is defined as the use of software and technologies to automate processes and functions to facilitate and improve your processes as part of your improvement initiatives.
 
In this class you will learn about the following process automation solutions:
· Business Process Management (K2 – electronic forms)
· ECM – Enterprise Content Management (OnBase)
· Electronic Signature (DocuSign)
· RPA – Robotics Process Automation (UiPath)
Elective - Collaboration Tool – Miro - Apr 24.

Miro is a visual online collaborative whiteboarding platform for teams of any size, where you can create and upload content, collaborate with others, and share your work.
The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the Miro tool, present the general uses and templates and allow you to interact and familiarize yourself with the tool.
PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) - May 16.  

This course presents the PDCA (Plan-do-check-act) cycle, a four-step problem-solving model that emphasizes the importance of learning from improvement. As a circle with no end, the PDCA cycle should be repeated again and again for continuous improvement.

It also presents the Kata technique that will allow you to start applying the PDCA problem-solving routine to improve your processes as a daily routine.

Presentations and related material:

See the presentations related with these courses on this link: Presentations.

Contact us at agility@ua.edu for your professional development training needs or for consultation and facilitation of your improvement initiatives.

  • Agility Continuous Improvement Essentials Badge

    In 2024, we will start offering the Agility Continuous Improvement Essentials Badge. Earners of the badge have a fundamental understanding of an approach used to increase the value and performance of the processes in which they participate, and a basic understanding of concepts, methodologies and tools that support employee engagement, problem-solving and continuous improvement efforts.

    Learning Plan and Criteria for the Badge:

    1. Attend the 10 mandatory in-person courses of the Agility Series Training: Psychological Safety, Change Management, Lean Overview and Tools Introduction, Non-Value-Added Activities, Brainstorming Strategies, Problem-Solving, Root Cause Analysis, Process Improvement, PDCA, Data Analysis and Metrics.

      2. Attend at least 3 elective courses from the other available classes in the Agility Series Training.

      3. Attend the final Agility Series Workshop.

      4. Present an Agility Effort Documentation.

      To earn the badge, it is required to complete the courses and requirements in a two-year period.