Skip to main content
Operational Excellence

How do I get started?

Shibboleth login

Step 1: Are you member of the University of Washington?

Step 2: Start with a problem facing your team, an area in which there is a gap between expectations and results, or inefficiency in your process that you want to fix. Discuss this with your manager or leader, and  contact us about setting up a Lean event—usually a three-day launch that focuses your team and customers on targeted improvements. We will then work with your Team Leads/Managers to produce a scope document that sets goals aimed at significantly reducing your gap. The launch would then be scheduled, team members would be named, and facilitators and resources would be secured. The launch itself is attended by your team and a team leader; all participants collaboratively map the current and desired/future processes, along with issues and ideas for improvement. The  final day includes a report out to your sponsors. After the launch, a Lean Coach will be assigned to help you through your 90-day improvement cycle.


Team Lead – Characterizes and begins to scope the problem for the team. Helps move the team towards generating and implementing ideas that will bring incremental improvement.

Sponsor – Sponsors assure the team goals align with their department’s objectives, they assist the team as needed, and attend scheduled step-backs to assess progress and offer support.

Team Member – The core of the team; those responsible for working daily to close performance  gaps, and who know best—and in detail—how work processes actually function.

Facilitator – Experienced UW employee—with practical Lean experience from their own team launch—who introduces the team to Lean and works with the team over the three days to focus team objectives and prepare for the 90-day improvement cycle.

Lean Coach – a UW employee practicing Lean in their home unit who helps a team through its 90-day improvement cycle and beyond, by working with the team to start and sustain habits that enable continuous improvement: establishing a daily rhythm of change; setting up a Lean visual board to track progress, developing metrics and indicators, and making progress toward goals that matter.