Week 9 – Building for Everything

Last week’s entry focused on ignoring boundaries. Boy, have we done that this week in spades. I feel like our current path is littered with remnants of silos in our wake. There may be a few who still feel they want to be very separate from our strong and determined technology team, but at every touchpoint they are responsive and open to the conversation. Meanwhile, this week everything we’re working on seems to gel. We are almost halfway through our 20 week challenge and I imagine that within the next 2-3 weeks we’ll start seeing and documenting additional formative improvements.

Example of stretching capacity.

It’s quite amazing how, when we test our personal capacity boundaries, they tend to stretch. I think many on the team are experiencing this, so we’re watching to ensure those elastic capacity bands don’t snap. What started out as a known entity – the comprehensive refresh of our ERP system, modernization of all back office operations, re-imagination and deployment of how we deliver technology to our folks – appears to have tripled in size and scope. No challenge sprawl, simply additional opportunities rearing their long overdue heads.

Can I just share how bizarre it is that our 20 week challenge started less than one month before COVID-19 hit Tulsa, Oklahoma with a fierceness? If you re-read our initial challenges, each and every one is better positioned to address when the campus is remote. Sure, initially the struggle was real, but it forced us to rapidly find solutions to most of our identified pain-points while envisioning all possible scenarios as we were literally swirling inside likely the worst-case one!

Most of our initial challenge revolved around deep improvement on all interactions with IT – administrative operations/systems, how we deliver to all regardless of location and device type, standardization of devices for cost-efficiency and sustainable support (complete), and the consolidation of IT talent from across the campus. Suddenly, parts of the rest of the campus are reminding us that it’s not all about IT, and they need some smart change too. And since we’re already driving, can they please hitch a ride?

So for our initially identified opportunities, we’ve added in a couple more along the way.

I am now serving as the executive sponsor for a university-wide project which relies heavily on the success of every feature of the #20WkTechTransformation. Our 20 week challenge is critically foundational to most future work. In addition, the larger project (there’s always a larger project, isn’t there?) is refining, streamlining other university administrative units in nearly the same way – focusing on people, process and service. Thank you sir may I have another! Thankfully, it’s not yet overwhelming as it’s really just more of the integral same. All leading to a very-familar-state-of-mine – shared services.

We are also all pulling together to try and get our faculty the support they need and have requested. A unified list of development and training opportunities for improving online teaching. For faculty, by faculty. Thankfully our faculty already have the stellar knowledge inside their heads, we just need to find a way to deepen their skills in delivering it in a quality way remotely. Looking at the horizon, we all feel a bit of hybrid course delivery happening – if not by need, then by choice. Our TU faculty are strong. They will excel in this space. They know what help they need to get there, they’ve requested it, we will find it and deliver it.

So here we are. Teetering on the edge of the halfway point. We increased our challenge by about 200% amidst furloughs and inconsistent city re-openings. My confidence is higher than ever because this IT team, our academic team, leadership, staff – we got this.

Stronger. Together.

Our status:

Halfway point coming soon…