Process Palooza 2023 Recap: Workshops, Root Cause Analysis & More

LSS Workshop at Process Palooza 2023

By Derek Shue. From March 28-29, 2023, hundreds of members of the UC IT community gathered at UC San Diego for Process Palooza, a collaborative experience showcasing continuous improvement through competitions, hands-on learning, and interactive exhibits. The event, now in its 5th year, provides organizations and individuals the resources they need to advance their continuous improvement journey. I was lucky enough to attend at no charge as a UC San Diego student and document the highlights of my experience. 

Workshops and sessions

Image of the classroom during course entitled Practicing Waste Walks: Lord of the Rings As A Case Study
Process Palooza: Practicing Waste Walks: Lord of the Rings As A Case Study

Process Palooza offered a variety of sessions in which experts provided interactive presentations. I had the opportunity to attend three of these events: (1) Root Cause Analysis – breaking down an issue to isolate the core problem; (2) Writing An Effective Problem Statement – creating a detailed description to help guide problem solving; and (3) Practicing Waste Walks – improving efficiencies by mapping out the movement of resources through a project.

  1. Root Cause Analysis: “Jurassic Park” As A Case Study began with the room split in groups as we brainstormed reasons why the fantasy dinosaur park may be losing customers. Afterwards, we mapped possible reasons into 8 “bones” on a Fishbone diagram, before picking the 3 most important bones. We then practiced asking 5 “whys” regarding why the factor is present, and finally testing the hypothesis ourselves. Eventually, we reached the conclusion that the reason for the park’s failure was in fact the dinosaurs. 
  1. Writing An Effective Problem Statement: “Home Alone” As A Case Study used the famous 1990 movie to guide us through the steps of crafting the pillars to a problem statement that will actually help us solve issues in our processes. These pillars are:
    1. What is the problem?
    2. Why is it a problem?
    3. Where do you observe it?
    4. When was this problem first observed?
    5. Who does this problem affect?
    6. How did we observe the problem?
    7. How often do we observe this problem?
  1. Practicing Waste Walks: “Lord of the Rings” As A Case Study mapped the main character’s actions from the famous film, and we subsequently chose events that were wasteful in order to practice waste walks. These eight wastes are: (1) Transportation; (2) Inventory; (3) Motion; (4) Waiting; (5) Overprocessing; (6) Overproduction; (7) Defects; (8) Skills

I personally enjoyed how each of these workshops and sessions used well-known movies and pop culture references to deepen our learning while also keeping us entertained and engaged. By attending these 3 sessions, I was able to learn important principles, strategies, and methodologies that I look forward to applying in my work and career. I would like to give my thanks to all the experts who gave their priceless knowledge at this year’s convention. 

The first day ended with a welcome mixer at UC San Diego’s Dirty Birds, where refreshments and delicious food were provided. Here, we got to network with dozens of amazing people who had traveled from all across the state to attend Process Palooza, before we were treated to a talent show featuring members of the UC IT community.

The Great Innovate Awards Ceremony

Image of the stage during the Great Innovate Award Ceremony
The Great Innovate Award Ceremony, on the final day of Process Palooza

The second day started with a welcome presentation that featured a campy but hilarious parody of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Baby Got Back, themed around Lean Six Sigma and process improvement. After more workshops, sessions, and a free lunch, we were invited to attend The Great Innovate Awards ceremony. Six teams spent the entire morning putting their Lean Six Sigma skills to the test on two, real business processes, and at the ceremony, we found out which teams our panel of judges (consisting of LSS experts, process owners and subject matter experts) believed provided the best process improvement recommendations. It was satisfying to see teams being rewarded for their hard work, and watch the winners celebrate on stage. The full list of winners will be announced on the Process Palooza website.

Walking around the trade floor, at the Cisco booth.
Walking around the trade floor, at the Cisco booth.

Afterwards, I walked around the trade floor, where various vendors had set up booths to talk about their company and inquire about potential partnerships. I spoke with members of Cisco, who offered insight into their company’s role – providing networking for various UC schools. I personally see the changes that they have implemented into UCSD’s website and login systems on a daily basis (most prominently Duo Mobile’s secure login system), so talking to Cisco representatives was an informative experience that offered me a backstage look at how these changes come to fruition.

Looking Back

Team members gathering and talking during Lean Six Sigma training course

Overall, Process Palooza was a highly worthwhile experience. I was able to attend engaging interactive workshops, learn countless skills and ideas, and meet dozens of people in the UC IT community. I look forward to attending again in 2024!

About the author

Derek Shue
UC Information Technology Marketing & Communications Intern
Undergraduate Student at UC San Diego