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What I've learned about process improvement during 4 months at PPI

Insight from our newest Partners in Public Innovation team member, Liz Barnard-Scott.

Today's post is from our own Liz Barnard-Scott, who's been working diligently behind the scenes in the past few months to help PPI manage our back office. We asked Liz to share what she's learned since joining our scrappy team!

“Lead by Example” is the phrase that comes to mind when I think of Partners in Public Innovation.

I started my journey with the PPI team in February 2024 as an Administrative Assistant. My role consists of email marketing, administration, digital marketing support and other tasks, working closely with the Director of Operations. It was my first time working in a fully remote setting. I honestly felt a bit out of my depth in the beginning, working on systems I had not worked with before. However, learning more about the processes created by the team to follow and implement, helped me realise that I was being set up for success. By simply following these processes and communicating, I had everything I needed to hit the road running and do my job to the best of my ability. 

When asked about process improvement, to me it’s making what you have better. My role within PPI has grown and I have become more confident using these standard processes, which enable me to learn, use my knowledge and what the team has taught me to grow into my role even more. The processes have taught me how to streamline tasks and as we say “work smarter, not harder.”

One tool that assisted me greatly is our "Standard Work Documents," specifically one I created to streamline managing the mailbox. This mailbox is the information hub and keeper for the business and needed a “clean-up.” I was tasked with this job and before jumping into it, I was given the opportunity to create a Standard Work Document to help me navigate this task, but also to have a standard process saved for anyone else who may need it.

I initiated this new task by using a pre-existing template. I listed "older emails from the year before," "meeting invitation notifications," "system updates and deals," "responses from possible clients" (and a lot more) as categories of emails I needed to address. Noting all of these categories helped me to develop actions that I should take for each type of email and gave me a clear understanding of how to manage the mailbox. I created clear paths of what to do with each email that came through! After I drafted the Standard Work Document, I ran it past one of my colleagues, Co-Founder of PPI. Her insight and feedback was added to the Standard Work Document, and I was able to roll out this task one week after our feedback session.

Creating standard work for this new task allowed managing the mailbox to be seamless. The mailbox contained over a thousand emails, but with this simple process improvement tool, and some communication/feedback from a teammate, I was able to manage it in one day.

I check the mailbox daily and implement the process I created. The mailbox management is fluid and is a task I can tick off with a smile.

Thinking back to the beginning of my journey with PPI, the process improvement the company follows has helped me to have continuous growth in my role. I have the tools to start and complete a new task by following the systems in place and receiving feedback from my team through the communication channels we use.

I am able to improve not only myself but the amazing organization I am now a part of by using the processes the Partners In Public Innovation team (including me!) have created. 

We're so grateful to Liz for all of her help managing our invoices, our mailbox, our reference guides, and so much more -- taking whatever we throw at her with gumption and a smile. Here's to many more Just Do Its from Liz to come!

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