Students Staff

The Continuous Improvement Network

The CI Network is an informal group of staff within the University, who are interested in or responsible for change and continuous improvement activities. The group meet every two months to share experiences, best practice, and to support each other.

The sessions consist of practical interactive activities, case studies, presentations, and sharing of work or approaches and new ideas. They also offer an relaxed and friendly environment to network with other people doing similar work.

If you are interested in joining the group, or if you have any suggestions for topics that you would like to discuss or hear about at future meetings please contact the Strategic Projects Office.

CI Network meetings

  • 23 February 2018, 1.30 - 3.00, NTC.2.01


    Case study

    Emma Appleton will be taking us through the process review her team conducted on the budget setting process for professional services. Emma’s case study will highlight how the changes generated by the review have been implemented, as well the impact continuous improvement has had on her team.

    Continuous Improvement activity

    This session will give you the opportunity to feedback on any continuous improvement activity that you have been doing over the last year. We are interested in hearing about any reviews you have been part of and how CI has been embedded into your teams or, if it hasn’t, what have been the barriers and how can we better support you.

    What to think about when planning a process review

    This session will be a practical guide to running your own review. We will guide you through the steps you need to take and the tools that can help you along the way. This session will look at the importance of clearly setting out your scope and objectives as well as baselining and identifying benefits. We will also share presentations, wall art and checklists that you can use in your own reviews.

    How to book

    This session is suitable to staff at all levels, please feel free to invite your colleagues to attend. Bookings can be made through the HR Organiser.

    If you have any particular areas you would like to have discussed, or would like to deliver a case study or get support for a particular project, please contact the Change Team on

  • 9 November 2017 - Summary of meeting

    Summary of the joint Project Managers and CI Network Meeting - 9 November 2017

    Introduction to new SPO staff

    We welcomed Lucy and Leila to the Network. Lucy is a Project Manager and will work closely with staff in departments and professional service areas on specific strategic projects.

    Leila is a Project Governance Office and her role is split between the Strategic Projects off and the Governance Office, both in Strategic Planning and Change. Leila provides support to Project Managers, helps to manage the Project Management Framework, and provides secretarial support to project related committees.


    We held a network event where participants could meet with staff working on similar areas of work and discuss any issues or queries they had with staff from SPO and the wider network.

    Continuous Improvement Tools

    We looked at CI tools that can help support staff working on projects and wider teams, including Visual Display Boards, RACI, Skills Matrix, BOSCARD, Root cause analysis, evaluating work, Brainstorming, Spagetti Map and SIPOC. All of which are available on our CI Tools webpage.

    Skills Analysis Survey

    Some of you may have completed the skills analysis survey last year, if so you will be able to review your results here. For those of you who haven't heard about it before, the skills analysis is an opportunity for you to measure your project management skills and identify areas where you may need additional support. We then use the findings to develop tailored training and network sessions to try to bridge those gaps. In this session we will review last year’s results and discuss your training needs for the upcoming year.

  • 28 June - Summary of meeting

    Summary of June CI Network

    CI Games

    We looked at games like 'Standard Pig' which help to create standards in work and service, and help to show how instructions, although they may seem clear and well thought out to the author, can be ambiguous and confusing for the users.

    CI Champions

    We started to identify the skills and training that a CI Champion might need to have in order to allow them to really develop CI activity within their area. As well as looking at how formal the role should be and how best to make it work across different areas.

  • 19 April 2017 - Summary of meeting

    How we can support you

    Debbie Brooke talked us through how we are building a stronger culture of change and continuous improvement at the University, and what we can do to help staff to deliver continuous improvement activities.

    We discussed a range of opportunities, such as shadowing and mentoring staff delivering Lean activity, attending team and section/departmental meetings and conferences, delivering presentations as an introduction to Lean and continuous improvement, brainstorming and workshop activities, and tailored training to support specific groups of staff.

    Give us a call if you would like to discuss this in more detail, or if you have an idea of how we could help your team.

    What are you looking to get out of the Lean Network?

    We had a practical session which looked at the types of activities and different subjects that staff would like to see at the Lean Network. The themes included:

    • Lean Network session ideas
    • Areas staff would like to review
    • Additional support needed

    The feedback from the session is available, and will be used to build the agenda for both future sessions, and for additional training and development activities. If you would like to add additional subject areas or support to the list, just drop us a line.

    Case Study

    Wendy Clifton-Sprigg came along and gave a great presentation on the Lean activities they carried out as part of the Student Services Hub, including an overview of the improvements that were made in the various areas. The Student Services Hub was a pilot for Lean here at the University, so it was great to hear how it all started and see how much it has achieved.

    The presentation from the April session is also available online.


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We run a regular training programme covering topics such as Project Management, Lean, Benefits Management, Change Management and Process Mapping. All courses are advertised through HR organiser.

Lean tools

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A range of tools, templates and guides to support Lean and Change within the University. The BOSCARD and Quad of Aims will be invaluable when working out the detail of your objectives.

Project one stop shop

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The one stop shop (.pdf, Essex users only) is a guide for Project Managers. It outlines the work required at the different stages of a project, together with toolkits, templates and guides for each piece of work.


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Lean is a methodology used to make improvements to processes and day to day work. Using Lean can help you to identify the work you do that adds value, and remove any wasteful activities.