Cath Convery, of Explosive Learning Solutions.

The IT Department at Oxford University’s Department of Engineering Science has engaged the learning and development consultancy, Explosive Learning Solutions (ELS), to provide Lean IT training and consultancy.


From June to October this year, ELS ran two courses for the Department, each with 11 students, as well as three follow-on workshops. The two courses followed the APMG LITA (Lean IT Association) syllabus, with one workshop designed for leadership and management, while the other two workshops focused on how to compile an A3 planning and problem-solving sheet.


According to ELS’s Head of Operations, Cath Convery, the head of the IT Department needed to continue to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its provision of IT services to the university’s Department of Engineering Science. This involved bringing the department together to work more as a team to deliver an improved service to its customers.


“Being familiar with the concept of ‘Lean’, the Department head felt that this would be the most effective vehicle to use to achieve his aims,” Cath added.


ELS opted to deliver APMG LITA courses to the members of the department.


APMG International is a global accreditation and examination institute, which accredits organisations to deliver training courses and consultancy services for a broad range of professional certification schemes. Its certification schemes, examination and accreditation services support the goal of enabling organisations and professionals to maximise their effectiveness through use of the latest methodologies and core competencies.


According to Cath, the APMG LITA courses not only gave the department a standard and widely recognised performance capability but also provided proof of continuing professional development (CPD) for the department’s members by means of a formal qualification. Cath added this this approach also confirmed, for the learners, that their employer was investing in them as employees.


In addition to the courses, the follow-on workshops were designed to help embed Lean thinking and promote a sense of teamworking into the department culture.


The courses and workshops were well received by all who were involved,” said Cath. “Indeed, the head of the IT Department has stated, ‘…the team found the training to be both interesting and engaging.


“‘Throughout our experience working with ELS we have found them to be flexible, responsive and helpful. Administratively, ELS are reliable and straightforward to deal with and we consider the training and consultancy services offered to be of a high standard.’”


Lean Principles are concerned with:

  • Increasing customer value.
  • Eliminating waste (work that does not add value).
  • Management as a facilitator.
  • The involvement of all employees.
  • Continual improvement.
  • Preserving value with less work.


Lean IT is an extension of Lean Principles, applied in an IT environment. The Lean IT approach is a way of thinking and acting, focusing on organisational culture.