Friday, August 15, 2008

Leadership Council Message

By Ernie Nielsen

“We succeed individually. We prosper as a community.”1 This simple statement, penned by the CEO of Miller Freeman Company, was in grateful response to the Salt Lake community’s overwhelming support after an employee was killed in downtown’s freak tornado of August 1999.

Prosperity, “a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition,”2 moves forward our OIT community, and the greater BYU community, when there is appropriate attention to all four aspects of an organization’s culture; namely, attention to our customers (collaboration), our employees (cultivation), the quality of our services (competence), and the way we get things done (controls).
The Reengineering Alternative, Richard Schneider

Our ability to continue on the road of prosperity – not in the financial sense, but rather in the sense of progress – is guided by our leader’s view of the interaction of these four cultural aspects. Kelly Flanagan took the reins of OIT following the consolidation of IT services here on campus. In the first meeting we had with Kelly as managers of this new “OIT,” he gave us direction and focus by asking us to be closer to our customers (collaboration), which he expressed in his desire to be more “customer responsive.” He wisely cautioned us to not lose sight of the importance of quality, controls, and employee development as we focused on meeting the needs of our customers. He asked us to focus our quality efforts, our employee development, and our process development towards being more responsive to our customers. Here is his view:
The Leadership Council supports Kelly’s view and seeks to follow his guidance. One tangible evidence of this support is the representation of the Executive Account Management team on the Leadership Council.

Under the direction of the OIT Leadership Council, the Navigator Team has been tasked with facilitating the finalization of the development of integrated processes. We are consciously dedicating significant employee time and attention to this effort. As we do so, there could be a false perception created that “process” has become our OIT focus. In fact, the attention we are giving to process development and integration is in an effort to mature our processes to the appropriate level, with a focused eye on providing world class customer service in the higher education arena. Process becomes a contributor to our collaboration focus–the means to the end.

Some examples of processes supporting excellence in customer service:
  • Stakeholder Reviews – in the Development Lifecycle – ensure that all stakeholders, including the customer, have frequent and formal inspection of the output of development. Starting with requirements review, continuing through design review and user acceptance, the customer is invited into the development process frequently to ensure that we are on the right track, and to capture their changing needs, in a timely manner, as their environment changes.
  • Requirements Management – in the Product and Service Management Process – ensures that there is a customer-focused means for gathering and understanding requirements, with an eye towards managing all requirements through the development, project, and support processes.
  • Project Team Development – in the Project Planning and Management Process – ensures customer participation in all projects by first asking the question, “Which functions are most affected by the success of this project?” when developing the Project Team.
  • Release Readiness – in the Production Services Process – ensures that we incorporate the customer acceptance and support requirements before we place a service into production.
It is true that the process work we do and the processes we follow add steps to our ultimate goal of meeting our customers’ needs appropriately. More importantly, it is true that following the processes helps us to be predictable in our delivery, consistent in our quality, and reliable in our support of our customers. And these qualities of being predictable, consistent, and reliable keep us on the road of community prosperity, “a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition.”

1Deseret News, August 15 1999 unabridged v1.1

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