Alumni interview with Green Belt graduate Ross Cronin

Ross is a graduate of our Lean Sigma Green Belt course.  Here is what he had to say on how the course has influenced his work journey since attending.

To start you might just fill us in on how you came to undertake your Lean Sigma education with us.

In 2019 the company I work for had a Process Improvement consultant come on board for 6 months who I worked very closely with. During this time I started to learn more and more about Lean and the different tools/benefits it can bring.

Without knowing it I was already using some of these tools day to day and throughout some projects we worked on. I was inspired to get my Green belt and as I studied previously in CIT (Now MTU) I came across the Stockil course.

Since graduating from your Lean Sigma Course how have you applied Continuous Improvement and what was most beneficial?

Yes I have. In my role as a Business Analyst Lead I have been able to apply the Lean tools I gained in my day to day work. A big part of my role is working on Process Improvement Projects, looking at the current state and identifying areas which can be improved to reduce inefficiencies.

The course has given me a set of skills and tools that I can engage which have made life much easier.

The most beneficial for me has been process mapping, Gemba, 5Why and being as visual as possible. I’ve also applied a lot of the people skills I learned – for example using a parking lot during workshops/sessions to make sure that everyone’s input is captured and valued, and it’s important that you facilitate and promote an environment where those involved in your project are open to contributing.

We have also recently decided to push Lean even more in our organization and establishing a team dedicated to Process Improvement using Lean Sigma methodologies which is very exciting to be a part of.

What areas have you found to be most difficult to deal with in your Continuous Improvement journey?

For me the biggest challenge has been learning to set expectations with stakeholders. Often people strive for perfection, but it can be very easy to bite off more than you can chew. What this course has taught me is that Continuous Improvement is exactly that, Continuous. It isn’t a one and done project and everything is solved, it’s a journey and it can be difficult to get buy in to that way of thinking. “How do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time”

Have you seen any significant change in the application of Lean Sigma over the last 3 to 5 years?

For me being relatively early in my career I can’t say if I’ve seen a lot of change, but I have noticed over the last 3 years the awareness of Lean has grown. I remember telling people I was doing a Lean Sigma course and always being asked “What’s that?” or “Isn’t that just for manufacturing?” where as now I see people know what I mean the second I say Lean.

It’s great to see that software/service driven organizations are adopting Lean more and more.

If you were to reinforce one key point you have taken from the classes you attended what would it be?

The power of a clearly defined and agreed Problem & Goal Statement. I think that everyone jumps to conclusions at times and feel that we know the solution before we have even taken a step back to look at the problem.

A mutually agreed problem and goal, which doesn’t jump to the solution, is a great way of keeping the team on track to what we are trying to achieve and when.

Is there anything extra you feel would be beneficial to the readers?

For anyone in doubt that this course isn’t suitable to your role or industry – ignore it! Continuous Improvement is relevant to every industry and I would highly recommend this course. Also don’t be afraid of data. It is very empowering using data to demonstrate tangible benefits continuous improvements can bring.

Alumni member and interviewee Ross Cronin is a Business Analyst Team Lead at Global Shares.

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