The University Record, November 16, 1992

Team participation worth the investment in time, effort

Members of the first Quality Improvement Team in the Information Technology Division (ITD) to complete its work last week said they were “sad it’s over” and that it was “exciting being a member of a pilot project.” The team members work at ITD’s Network Operations Center on North Campus.

The nine members, who have met once a week for the past 13 months, gathered last week to celebrate their success and reflect on what they did in a conference room whose colorful “wallpaper” was composed of a number of flip chart sheets that marked particular milestones along their journey to completion.

Some of their accomplishments are measurable, others are not. But all agree that the effort was well worth it, citing an office that now “makes sure the whole place runs OK from the start,” and doesn’t just respond to emergencies.

Team member Serpil Bayraktar says membership on the team was “a great experience for me. It created customer consciouness, helped me learn to not just do the job but to meet the needs of our customers.”

“A chance to see the bigger picture” was one of the things that most impressed Linda Vas. “There were lots of problems and some affect others. We could solve one thing that in turn solved another.”

Both agreed with Tom Christie who said the experience was empowering. “It was good for morale, you have control over what happens.”

Vas noted that through membership on the team “you have some say. It’s a situation in which we are deciding and doing things, and getting them done. In the past, we recognized problems, but weren’t given permission to fix them. This gave us the means to do so.”

The three said they would miss being part of such a process but agreed that they already have adapted some quality tools in their everyday work routines, including use of an agenda and incorporating critiques of meetings. They also found brainstorming particularly useful. “With more people working on something,” Christie noted, “you get more ideas and can reach resolution more quickly.”

Other team members are: Sue Blair, Michele Davis, Dale Johnson, John Labbe, Gartha Parrish and Jim Zemina. Catherine Lilly was the group’s facilitator.