Ginger is a mental health tech startup that is “reinventing mental health care by coupling data science and virtual delivery to provide immediate, personal support for anyone.”
At the beginning of Ginger’s engagement with Epic Teams, the company had just announced a $50M Series D investment round. With its sky-rocketing demand for services, the organization needed to scale its abilities to serve more members.
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Ginger needed to equip its Care team, which includes the services and operational units, with improved abilities to reduce friction points and streamline key workflows.
They were particularly interested in working with a partner who could demystify agile ways of working for non-technical leaders and teams. They also needed someone who could “get into the work” with them - not just deliver a generic training. For this reason, Ginger chose Epic Teams.
In consultation with Karan Singh, the COO, Dana Udall, the Chief Clinical Officer, and Desiree Pascual, the Chief People Officer, we co-designed and implemented a 2-month work system transformation sprint for 5 teams of Ginger’s Care Unit.
The Work System Sprint consisted of:
- 1:1 Interviews: We first met with team leaders to understand current challenges
- Work System Diagnostic: We administered a short diagnostic to gather observations from team members on the state of their work systems
- Learning Labs: We brought the 5 teams together for 6 live sessions (delivered through Zoom). In these sessions, the team learned how to:
Identify “time thieves” in their work
Visualize their work using the Kanban system
Map and improve important workflows with a Kaizen approach
Plan projects in a way that balances member needs with team capacity
Run daily huddles and retrospective meetings
- Application Sessions: This is where the rubber meets the road. We met with each team individually to provide customized consultation for designing their work systems and improving workflows.
- Grow and Tell Session: At the end of the two months, each team presented their operational improvements, as well as shared lessons learned and next steps for continued progress.
In the Learning Labs and Application Sessions, Ginger’s teams shared openly about what’s working, what’s not, and what needs improvement. A high sense of psychological safety contributed to the rapid uptake of the approaches offered.
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In just two months, the 5 teams (re)designed and improved 11 processes and projects considered essential to the unit’s success. In addition, the teams began the migration of their workflows into one centralized portal so that they could have unit-wide visibility into all existing work.
In a follow-up assessment of the engagement with team members, we learned that:
100% agreed that “What I learned is important to our team’s success.”
100% agreed that “I am able to apply what I learned.”
100% agreed that “We now have effective ways to improve our work processes.”
What did other team members find valuable about the experience? In the feedback form, team members shared:
- "I liked breaking down the current processes to have a visual example of inefficiencies."
- “Identifying inefficiencies in our workflows was invaluable. I also like that we got really intentional with our communication."
- "I appreciated learning how to make our work more visible. We also have a common language to discuss workflows, time thieves, etc"
- “I loved learning about WIP, time thieves, and tracking projects with boards."
- "I enjoyed having the time to slow down, review, and plan."
- "The time to think and learn as a team to improve our processes is something we have not yet done a lot of before. I’m glad we know how and when to do this moving forward."
- "Overall, I found this to be a really positive experience. I appreciate Dr. Arvizu’s time and learned a lot!
- "Dr. Arvizu is a great facilitator. She is super knowledgeable and knows when to step up and step down to support learning and team-building. Thank you!"
Moving forward, the Care Unit will be working on continued implementation of improvements and will have the opportunity to further their learning with more advanced work system design approaches in the future.