Examining the ongoing challenges of delivering high-quality, value-added ERP services in Higher Education.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2014 Resolutions (a bit belated)

It’s a little late to record 2014 resolutions and goals, and while it would be fine and dandy to blame the polar vortex or whatever they’re calling today’s surprise blizzard (surprise to me, anyway, who knew nothing of the sort was coming until mid-afternoon), I have simply neglected to schedule blogging time into my schedule… Too bad, because one of my resolutions for the year was to reaffirm last year’s botched goal of posting 52 blogs this year. I’m already three weeks behind schedule!

On the professional side of things, this year proves relatively straight forward to define in terms of top-line objectives: go-live with Campus Solutions, or at least the first components of it, at my institution. When the project started last May, it felt downright cozy to speak of the first go-live being a full eighteen months hence… But there is nothing cozy about a ten-month target. That is practically tomorrow.

Major milestones wait between here and there: experiments with Amazon EC2, mobile application development, complex data conversion programs, and a bushel of customizations. Much of our work this year, while supporting the proximate launch, lay the foundation for the next two years of expansion and transformation. Not to suggest there’s pressure on everything going perfectly.

Of course, it won’t go off without a hitch, which is one of the many reasons we need so badly to be agile. This in itself is a risky proposition, as highlighted in my presentation to the project steering committee last week; they had some reservations about blazing trails in the application of Scrum to PeopleSoft but I stood by my belief that this approach will ultimately serve us much better as an organization. Most projects here have fallen victim to a reality that enhancements only happen during the initial implementation or costly triennial upgrade projects; we strive to be dynamic, always moving forward, always improving and evolving – and I believe the agile mindset is critical to achieving that vision. My goal for 2014 is for the teams under my leadership to thrive and to foster an environment that lets them do so. Their success and failure will be the metrics by which to judge how I did this year.

The other major area of growth for me this year is UX – watchers of my blog / twitter know that I’ve been learning this space in dribs and drabs. My personal resolution is to become fluent in this arena and build a competency center that will calm the skeptics and show that we actually can deliver an enterprise system that (some) people actually like using (not all – it would be lunacy to suggest such an outcome). To achieve this I have to immerse myself, read everything, follow everyone with UX in their Twitter bios, hire some great people into my team, participate in activities, champion the cause, maybe build a few wireframes...  In other words, just some light dabbling here and there. It's my own fault -- I'm the knucklehead who put "excellent user experience" right in the project vision statement!

As for all the normal life stuff -- hoping to keep the balance best as I can, despite project demands, keep reading, tweeting, cooking, and running! Plus I've got to shed some pounds before my big college reunion in early June!

So there you have it, 2014 goals in five paragraphs. Stay tuned to hear how it goes.


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