Friday, October 12, 2012

Restructuring, Refreshing, Revitalizing

We are in the process of restructuring, refreshing, and revitalizing ITS...all with the objective of bringing you better service and responding to the needs cited by you, as a community, in the recent ITS survey.

The Moran Report highlighted many areas that required focus. Rather than try to accomplish "the world" and do little with many initiaties, we have taken on what we perceive to be the top three initiatives that will help the institution: 
  • Increasing Service Levels
  • Resource Management
  • Project Governance
We all have a sense of what "Increasing Service Levels" means. "Resource Management" and "Project Governance" may be terms that are a bit sketchier to many.
Resource Management involves how we use our resources within ITS. Within ITS our main resource (besides equipment) and most valuable asset is our people. I think of our ITS staff as a resource box. That box, for each person, contains 2080 hours per year (52 weeks x 40 hrs/wk). We have 28 boxes (28 staff members). The hours within the box are consumed by categories of activity (see chart below)...vacation/sick leave/training...maintenance (updating software release levels, applying fixes, etc. - like changing the oil in your car) (fixing items that are broken; responding to service calls)...tasks (under 40 hour pieces of work; we get 100's of these requests!!)...and projects (over 40 hour pieces of work). Tasks and projects are discretionary topics. We need to perform maintenance and support...and of course, take vacation!!...but what projects we take on and what tasks we take on is discretionary as an institution. My desire within ITS is to take on the tasks and projects that have the greatest value to the overall organization. It is not for ITS to define the projects of greatest value; that priority must come from outside of ITS. Setting the priority of projects, the ITS project agenda, is the subject of Project Governance.

Project Governance will be accomplished by the ITAP (Information Technology Assessment and Planning) Committee. This committee is comprised of individuals from across the college...respresentatives from each of your functional units (see list of members, below). Through a structured process, this committee will bring projects forward for consideration; they will evaluate and prioritized the 68+ projects that we have queued up on campus. We can't do all things at once, but we can work through the institutional priorities in an organized, prioritized manner. That is what ITAP will help us with. ITAP is an extremely important committee to this institution; it sets our IT agenda. ITAP is advisory in nature...advisory to the Senior Staff, who will review the prioritized list of projects and authorize funding. ITAP will only work if all technology projects are reviewed through this arounds undermine the process and the team. Work arounds will get us back to the frustrating place that we are currently in.

ITAP Committee Members

Our first ITAP meeting was held a couple of weeks ago. The ITAP team is a great, great team. It is absolutely the right group for this type of work. Over the next few weeks we will be prioritizing the institution's projects. Make sure you are getting your project requests to your ITAP representative. We will be developing the ITS agenda.

Where will all of this bring us?

We will experience several major lifts!

First, we will have a prioritized agenda for projects in the college. Today, we have 3-4X workload for our current resource capacity (for projects). Things don't get done. There aren't due dates. People in the institution are frustrated. This will change. Timeframe: it will likely take ITAP a couple of months to thoughtfully move through the project list.

Once we have a prioritized project list, we will forward load our resourcing plan within a sense, pre-allocating our time. Projects will be estimated by skill type and thoughtfully managed. We will all have a proper sense of expectation, and ITS will deliver. "Outlyer projects" will be easily managed. We will be in a position as an institution to determine what projects we want to take out of the box to put the outlyer in...or, determine exactly what incremental resources are needed to accomodate new initiatives or outlyers. Simple. Straight forward. Highly manageable. Communicative. We will get a lift.

I am very excited about where all of this will take us. I love working with this community. You are a highly competent, good hearted group. I'm grateful to be here.

The subject of my next post will highlight the changes we are making in the Service organization.

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