A summer intern tells all

– by Erin Dumitru

This summer, after completing the first year of my MPA program at UW’s Evans School, I joined King County’s Performance, Strategy, and Budget Office (PSB) as a Line of Business (LoB) Intern. I wanted to learn about the county, get more connected to the region, and apply my Evans coursework in a meaningful way.

I’ve learned a great deal about my own strengths in graphic design and communication, about King County’s Lean management system, and about the way King County agencies collaborate and operate. I had so many questions about acronyms and definitions, about relationships between agencies and nuances of PSB’s work, and there were always people willing to answer them. The projects I worked on felt meaningful and useful, never trivial. To put it succinctly – this has been a fantastic internship.

My work focused primarily on Line of Business  communications. A Line of Business is a set of related products that work to meet the needs of our customers. Public Transit is a great example:

transit-lob

The goal was to create engaging, readable, and flexible materials that would serve to inform new LoB participants about the process and the overall value of LoB Planning. Line of Business Planning is the process of defining LoBs, fleshing out their strategic and financial context, and making evidence-based decisions about the present and future.

Throughout my editing process, I checked in with people from around PSB. The feedback I received was always prompt, helpful, and kind. In my writing, I strove to be clear, concise, and correct, and to have sympathy for the readers who would eventually need to digest these new materials.

Over the past several months, the LoB team has been going through a check and adjust process. We’ve worked on refining our language, defining terms, dropping jargon, and streamlining materials. I really enjoyed being part of the check and adjust phase of this team’s continuous improvement efforts for a variety of reasons:

  • I got to see people reflecting on past processes and actually making change as a result of feedback.
  • I was a true part of the team because there was a lot of work to do!
  • I was able to get a broad sense for the work of many County departments.
  • I had the opportunity to work with people across PSB and to interview stakeholders from many departments and agencies

My work was concentrated in 4 areas: Infographics, Wordsmithing, the LoB Handbook, and our online and in-person Surveys.

lob

Using an existing logo, I created a color palette for the rest of the materials and tried to match fonts and overall style to newer materials being produced by PSB. I created a suite of infographics for all stages of the planning process, for use in multiple communications materials.

This summer’s Lean 4 Lunch gatherings also helped me gain a better understanding of how the County uses lean management tools.

Attending an Executive Briefing and the Council’s Financial Plan training helped me develop a broader sense of how financial decisions are made at the County. I also went to a few Executive Roundings, where I was able to see some LoB Planning efforts in action in the form of tier boards and other visual management techniques.

Overall, I felt connected to my work and excited about the improvements we were able to make to the LoB planning process.

Thank you, PSB, for a fantastic internship experience!

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