CAPOD (Centre for Academic, Professional and Organisational Development) is the unit within the University responsible for the vital job of specialised, professional training and development for staff and students. CAPOD has only recently been formed as an amalgamation of the services previously offered by SALTIRE, Staff Development and GRAD skills. The amalgamation of any departments in an organisation can cause problems in administration, often to the detriment of the intended purpose of the unit. Any given department will have a different history and culture of doing things, and in the case of CAPOD the disparate processes meant that course administration and organisation was less efficient and more time-consuming than it could have been. A lack of clarity between the respective duties of course developers and course administrators meant that although the process of course administration did work, it didn’t work nearly as well as it could do.


The Lean Event

We set up a five-day rapid improvement workshop with the aim of drastically improving the process of course administration at CAPOD. It was a typical programme, which endeavoured to visually map out the process of course provision in a coherent and aesthetically pleasing manner. Sticky notes are used to note down elements in the current process, in addition to the associated problems and solutions to that part of the process.

CAPOD Ideas Generation
Ideas generation

It transpired that a mountain of paperwork was needed in order for administrators to ascertain the details about a course. Notes of mistakes, ambiguities, and omissions would have to be raised by administrators, which, consequentially, meant that this paper trail would have to be sent back and forth between developers and administrators, causing problems between both. Lean endeavours to facilitate discussion and, at the very least, get people talking about the possibility of change. By the end of the week, CAPOD, with the help of the Lean Team, had managed to identify key problems, priorities, solutions, and come up with an innovative process to benefit CAPOD in the future.

CAPOD Project Solutions
Problems, priorities, and solutions



In the new process, course developers put all of the course information into PDMS software (Personal Development Management System) online. The Lean project facilitated a software change; PDMS was updated to include colour-coded internal tabs, which pertain to specific administrators. This ensured that the relevant detail for course administration was entered online by the appropriate staff member. Now, mandatory sections need to be completed by course developers before the course is passed on to administrators. This ensures a thorough process and degree of completion, and decreases the likelihood that the forms will be queried down the line. The whole project is a fantastic illustration of a collaborative effort between the Lean Team, CAPOD and IT Services.


“CAPOD developers and administrators now have respective ownership of their roles and the general process of course development.” – CAPOD Course Developer.

The updated PDMS software
The updated PDMS software



The biggest outcome of the five-day rapid improvement event was that roles were clarified. Course developers are no longer engaged in administration work, and administrators no longer have to keep asking for course information. CAPOD developers and administrators now have respective ownership of their roles and the general process of course development. In addition, new, regular training sessions have been introduced to educate staff in the updated process and software.

With the new system in place, course administration is now much smoother and more efficient. Looking to the future, CAPOD hopes to ensure a full range of development opportunities for all staff and students to help maintain the University’s place at the cutting edge of all research, learning and teaching activity.


“A really positive result. Thanks for all your help.” – CAPOD Manager

“Doing things visually with Post-its, its very effective.” – CAPOD Team Member