For Monique Pascucci, process improvement has become a way of life. Not only has the UC San Diego employee increased workload productivity and saved a particular department roughly $1 million, she has even restructured her closets and her kids’ toy bins to be their most efficient. “I see things and think ‘I can make this better,’” she says. And it’s all thanks to Lean Six Sigma.
Pascucci started her career in a traditional office setting, but craved something different. She dabbled in real estate before landing at UC San Diego, which was very different from what she was used to: There she learned how to negotiate contracts, and her superiors trusted her to lead projects, although that technically wasn’t in her wheelhouse. About the same time, UC San Diego Extension started offering scholarships for Lean Six Sigma, a business concept designed to improve processes and performance while saving money. Pascucci applied at her boss’s suggestion and was accepted. She hasn’t slowed down since. “I naturally thought that way—I really am a problem solver—but going there gave me credibility and tools I didn’t have.”
Lean Six Sigma inspired her to launch a reorganization and a workload redistribution in the department where she worked. Two promotions followed. She is now a senior project analyst/organizational consultant in the Office of Program Management and Business Integration, and is working on a project called UC Path, which is transforming payroll, timekeeping and human resources throughout the entire UC system. She’s also earned a project management certificate from Extension and has enrolled in an advanced Lean Six Sigma program.
Her biggest takeaway from Lean Six Sigma was learning to consistently look for the root cause of a problem, to find out why it exists in the first place. The focus, she says, is on the problem. “If you come in with a solution, it’s going to be hard to be open-minded to all the other possible solutions.”
Did this inspire you to improve on a process? Tell us about it in the comments.