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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Minnesota Daily Offers ESUP Update

The Minnesota Daily ran an ESUP update article on page 4 of its Thursday, Jan. 31, print edition. (The article is also available online.) A big thank-you to everyone who made time in their schedules to help answer questions on deadline.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Weekly Update and Key Messages for the Week of 01/28/13

Systemwide Collaboration a Challenge -- and a Top Priority -- for ESUP
One of the most challenging aspects of ESUP so far has been identifying effective ways for the ESUP team and system stakeholders to collaborate across functions, units and campuses. Phase 1: Plan & Discover requires the participation of hundreds of people from all five campuses of the University, many of whom have expertise in multiple work streams, as well as ongoing responsibilities to their home departments. In Phase 2: Analyze & Design, the need for consistent, well-equipped meeting space and reliable tele-conferencing and collaboration platforms becomes even more important, since Interactive Design and Prototyping (IDP) sessions will require continuous engagement from key stakeholders several hours a day for multiple weeks.

This is clearly not “business as usual” at the University -- which is why ESUP has made collaborative work spaces, facilities, and technology a top program priority. This effort has pushed existing platforms like Google and UMConnect further, in some cases, than they were meant to go -- as a result, we continue to test new equipment and software for affordable and effective solutions to keep our teams connected wherever their members are. The goal is to develop a technology “tool kit,” with multiple options for work streams and users based on their specific needs for each particular session. The program has also reserved space across the Twin Cities campuses for fit-gap validation sessions and IDP sessions (which begin in February for the Student work stream) and is building out new conference space to meet immediate and long-term needs. In fact, ESUP is helping to pilot the use of such flexible meeting and work space at the University of Minnesota, with the hope that the space, technology, and practices developed by the program will help the entire University community.

“ESUP is committed to changing culture and organizational practices, as well as upgrading technology,” said program director Andy Hill. “We are working to ensure new ways of broad engagement and participation, including new technologies, collaborative spaces, facilitated meeting techniques, and more.”

In a perfect world, an IDP session would convene in the same space from start to finish, with no need to reset the room for whomever is using it next, no equipment to transport, and dedicated technical support in case something goes wrong. The challenge of finding enough space on campus that can be used several hours a day, several days a week, for several months is tough enough -- ensuring that it is consistent space, equipped for intensive, collaborative, and creative work by colleagues in multiple locations across the state, is daunting indeed.

We need your input! If you have specific concerns or ideas for facilities, technologies, or techniques to improve collaboration and engagement as the ESUP work streams move into the IDP process, please contact Tricia Conway at conwa012@umn.edu.

It’s Still Early, But Changes Are Coming!
As more people across the University learn about ESUP, we hear the question more frequently: What will this mean for me and my work? Those who use the Student, HRMS, and Finance systems on a daily basis have specific questions about key features and processes that impact their jobs (positively or negatively).

Users haven’t heard a lot of specific changes announced yet, in part because of the nature of the methodology being used. The Student work stream, for example, is just finishing Phase 1: Plan & Discover (informally known as the “What, Not How” phase) -- which is concerned with comparing the off-the-shelf PeopleSoft product to our current processes in order to solidify the scope of the project. In Phase 2: Analyze & Design, the Student team will delve into how our system and business processes should work through the IDP process. It is during this process that more specific changes to the system and processes will be identified and described.

That said, the foundational work undertaken in Phase 1: Plan & Discover is yielding specific improvements already. The HRMS work stream, for example, announced last week that the team has identified 133 earnings codes that can be inactivated (approximately 40 of which the user community sees) due to infrequent use or opportunities for streamlining.  This reduction in earnings codes will simplify the entry of HR/Payroll for the user community and the Office of Human Resources.  These codes will be inactivated in March 2013; user communications will share the details of this change in the next several weeks. Meanwhile,  in the Student work stream, the five campuses have agreed to use a single, consistent set of classroom characteristics when the University moves to its new class scheduling system, Ad Astra. These classroom characteristics are used to determine whether a given space is equipped and appropriate for a particular class or activity. Agreeing to a consistent list across all campuses  eliminates a modification to the PeopleSoft system required to maintain campus-by-campus characteristics.

The ESUP team and leadership are committed to sharing information and specific changes as this process unfolds! If you have questions about the process or progress of ESUP, please email esup@umn.edu.

ESUP at the Legislature
As part of the University’s response to the Minnesota legislature regarding administrative efficiency at the University of Minnesota, President Eric Kaler asked the ESUP team to prepare a brief update on the program and its progress to date. The one-page update was reviewed by the ESUP Executive Oversight Committee and shared with the president last Wednesday. The update is also available online.

New Team Members In Williamson
Several members of the Technology team (Application Development and Testing) moved into Williamson 150 on Monday. If you see new colleagues, be sure to welcome them and introduce yourself!

Register by Wednesday for the Portal Kickoff!
Wikipedia defines a web portal as, "...a website that brings information together from diverse sources in a uniform way." But what does that really mean? The U of M has myU, One Stop, and any number of online tools. But something is missing. Figuring that out is not a simple task. The real question is: "What SHOULD the portal be at the U of M?" Help us answer that question by attending the portal kickoff event.   Register for the event by Wednesday, Jan. 30, and learn more at z.umn.edu/portal.  If you can’t make the event, follow it on Twitter (#umnportal).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Weekly Update and Key Messages for the Week of 01/21/13

Sign Up Now for the ESUP Portal Kickoff! 
The Portal Kickoff event will take place on Monday, Feb. 4, from 2 to 4 p.m., with locations on every campus. The kickoff begins a University-wide conversation about creating an easy-to-use interactive web tool for facilitating access to information and services that are of primary relevance and interest to you and the University community. The event will include a short overview of the portal project and then move into World Café small group conversations about opportunities this project offers to the University community and strategies for being part of creating a new portal that delights the people who use it. Register for the event by Wednesday, Jan. 30. Learn more at z.umn.edu/portal

Cross-Functional Work Streams Essential to ESUP Success 
With so much focus on the “big three” work streams and PeopleSoft systems impacted by ESUP (Student, HRMS, and Finance), it’s easy to overlook the important cross-functional work streams that are essential to adoption of the upgraded systems and to the long-term success of the program. The Enterprise Data Management and Reporting (EDMR) work stream, the Portal work stream, and Technology teams focused on application development, identity management and security, infrastructure, integration, and testing are currently developing and socializing work stream-specific strategies and plans.

Each of these cross-functional teams has its own approach to coordinating with the other work streams. The EDMR team, for example, has been actively participating in Student and HRMS sessions to ensure that data management and reporting needs and concerns are surfaced to be addressed in the Analyze & Design phase. The Portal team includes representatives from each of the other work streams and will engage with those projects in coming months as the emphasis shifts from the business processes (the “what” of ESUP) in Phase 1: Plan & Discover to delivery (the “how” of ESUP) in Analyze & Design. And since ESUP is a business-led program, the Technology teams are developing strategies and plans to work in coordination and parallel to the other work streams, offering technical expertise and input when and where needed during the early phases of the program (before development begins).

All of these work streams are using CCI’s iterative Propel Methodology, adjusted to fit the scope and timeframe of their respective projects. Check back for more information on the ESUP Consolidated Program Plan and phase-by-phase timelines in the coming weeks! 

ESUP Quality Review Identifies Program Strengths, Needed Actions
In December, the Enterprise Systems Upgrade Program (ESUP) team hosted CedarCrestone (CCI) quality manager Vickie Cleary for the first of several program quality reviews planned between now and December 2014. Her report identified a number of important program strengths and gave ESUP a “green” (positive) rating for Overall Project Status, Schedule, and Quality/Performance. The report also identified several challenges that, left unaddressed, could negatively impact the program going forward. For more information, access the complete story and related materials here.

Gagner Assumes New Role ESUP
Assistant Program Director for Technology Mark Powell announced this week that Tim Gagner will assume Mark’s former role as project director for infrastructure. The two will be working closely to facilitate this transition. Please congratulate Tim on his new position!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Quality Review Identifies Program Strengths, Needed Actions

In December, the Enterprise Systems Upgrade Program (ESUP) team hosted CedarCrestone (CCI) quality manager Vickie Cleary for the first of several program quality reviews planned between now and December 2014. Her report identified a number of important program strengths and gave ESUP a “green” (positive) rating for Overall Project Status, Schedule, and Quality/Performance. The report also identified several challenges that, left unaddressed, could negatively impact the program going forward.

Program strengths (as summarized in the Executive Oversight Committee presentation below) include:
  • Outstanding Staff. ESUP is currently staffed with individuals who possess the subject matter expertise required to effectively and efficiently address the business and technical needs for the program. They are committed and passionate.
  • Remarkable Executive Support. Executive sponsorship is strong -- individuals have the support they require.
  • Pre-ESUP Activities That Strengthened the Program. Results from the activities that occurred at UMN prior to ESUP’s initiation have positively influenced the program. Activities and deliverables focused on business processes aided quick take-off.
Primary program weaknesses included:
  • Accessible Meeting Facilities. Convenient, available meeting space is scarce. Left unaddressed the situation could impact schedule. Action/Resolution: This issue is being addressed on an ongoing basis; ESUP meetings and sessions for January and February have been schedule in appropriate facilities.
  • Change Management Resource. A UMN Change Management leader needs to be secured and come up-to-speed quickly to meet the demand. Left unaddressed the scope could be impacted. Action/Resolution: Long-time UMN staff member Santiago Fernandez-Gimenez has been hired and began working in his new role this week.
  • Unmanaged Expectations. Individuals, to varying extents, are operating with different expectations about how the program, projects, and work streams will be managed. Action/Resolution: Program leaders are developing an action plan specifically to address this issue and other challenges identified by the quality review.
  • Technical Versus Administrative: History’s Impact. Negative aspects of previous UMN projects combined with an unspoken concern that the ESUP will be either technically or administratively focused rather than technically and administratively focused appears to be clouding ability to foresee success for the ESUP. Action/Resolution: Program leaders are developing an action plan specifically to address this issue and other challenges identified by the quality review.
The quality review consisted of a series of targeted interviews with selected ESUP team members, a more broadly distributed survey, analysis of the interviews and survey results, and a thorough review of program documentation to date. (If you were not contacted or surveyed as part of this first quality review, do not be concerned -- not everyone will be targeted for every review.) 

The next review is slated for the February/March timeframe and will focus on project initiation and planning for the Portal work stream as well as Phase 1: Plan & Discover for Student and HRMS. 

For more information:

ESUP Weekly Update Will Publish on Tuesday

The ESUP weekly update and key messages for next week will publish on Tuesday, Jan. 22, since the University is closed in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Enjoy the long weekend!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Weekly Update and Key Messages for the Week of 01/14/13

Phase 1 Activities Underscore ESUP’s Unprecedented Scope
One of the ongoing communication challenges associated with ESUP is conveying the scope and pace of the work underway. One way of capturing this is to take a closer look at the hours, number of people, and work product devoted to ensuring each phase of the program is successful.

Last week, for example, the leaders of the Student work stream shared the following:
  • Since the first Phase 1: Plan and Discover session on Oct. 24, the team has completed 76 of 78 scheduled fit-gap validation sessions, each of which ran two to three hours and yielded 6 to 7 pages of notes.
  • On average, 15 and 25 people attended each session, either in person or virtually. (The highest was more than 80.)
  • These sessions have resulted in more than 500 pages of Plan and Discover workbook deliverables that will serve as the foundation for the work of Phase 2: Analyze and Design.
In Phase 2, Interactive Design and Prototyping (IDP) sessions will move the discussion from “what” to “how,” as teams of stakeholders, subject-matter experts, and consultants re-examine each business process, compare it to best practice and the latest delivered functionality in PeopleSoft and associated systems, and decide how best to configure the process and system to meet business needs, improve operations, and reduce customizations and cost. These sessions will be more intensive than the Phase 1 fit-gap validations, but also promise to be more rewarding, as we begin to shape new ways of doing business and delivering on the University’s mission. Student IDP sessions will begin in February.

The HRMS project is also moving rapidly through Phase 1; its timeline is approximately four to six weeks behind Student. The HRMS team will spend the next several weeks conducting sessions on new PeopleSoft modules not currently implemented at the University, as well as completing Benefits, HR, and Payroll fit-gap validation sessions (some in conjunction with Student and Finance) and reviewing workbooks in preparation for Phase 2. HRMS is also planning IDP sessions, which are slated to begin in mid-March.

The other three work streams are at various stages of ramping up for Phase 1:
  • The Finance work stream is working on its project plan and communications infrastructure in preparation for launch this spring, while also taking part in relevant Student and HRMS sessions that impact EFS. 
  • The Portal work stream continues its planning and team-building activities in preparation for its Feb. 4 kickoff event (see below).
  • The EDMR team is attending Phase 1 sessions for Student and HRMS, fleshing out its own plan and team, and looking ahead to Reporting IDP sessions in the spring.
These staggered project timelines are part of the plan, enabling the program to coordinate across projects and implement in a timely manner with the most efficient use of resources. Kudos to all of the work streams for the hard work done so far!

Portal Charrette Lays Groundwork for Vision and Engagement
The Portal Leadership Team and Portal Project Team held a charrette last Monday to begin the work of collaborative engagement that will be the hallmark of the Portal project.  A charrette (sha-RETT) refers to a collaborative session in which a group drafts a solution to a design problem -- in this case the design problem is how to lead the portal initiative. The teams will continue their work this week in part two of the charrette, refining a draft of the charter and considering stakeholder engagement planning.  We are gearing up for kick-off on Monday, Feb. 4, from 2 to 4 p.m. on all campuses (invitation with sign-up instructions coming the week of Jan. 22). We'll be looking for input on the charter from the entire University community, and everyone is welcome!

Portal Team Launches Web Site; Other Work Stream Sites In Development
Portal now has a web site! Keep up to date with Portal happenings at z.umn.edu/portal, or by clicking the Portal tab on the ESUP blog. (If you are viewing the ESUP blog on a mobile device, click the drop-down arrow at the upper right on the screen to access the tabs menu, then select Portal.) The HRMS, Finance, and EDMR work streams plan to launch similar sites in the next few weeks.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

'ESUP_Program' Folder Renamed in Google Drive

We are preparing to introduce a reconstructed and more stable ESUP folder structure in Google Drive. In order to differentiate between the current folder structure and the new structure (which has not yet been released), we have renamed the current parent folder to "ESUP_Program_Old." 

Work stream project directors and teams should continue to use this folder structure until the new structure is populated and shared. Please share with your ESUP colleagues that "ESUP_Program_Old" is the current, working ESUP folder structure on Google Drive.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Weekly Update and Key Messages for the Week of 01/07/13

ESUP Sessions Resume This Week
Happy New Year from ESUP! After a well-deserved break, the ESUP team resumes a full schedule of sessions, meetings, and activities this week. As always, you can see what’s on tap for all the work streams by viewing the ESUP Consolidated Calendar on the ESUP blog at upgrade.umn.edu.

New Leadership for Technology, Change Management Teams
The new year has brought new opportunities for University leaders involved with ESUP. On Friday, Dec. 21, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer (CIO) Scott Studham announced that Sharon Ramallo will join his leadership team as associate CIO for enterprise systems, effective Jan. 3. Sharon has been leading the ESUP technology team as the University’s assistant program director for technology, alongside CCI’s Christopher Cameron. Mark Powell, who has been working as project director for infrastructure on the ESUP technology team, will take over as assistant program director with Christopher, and the three of them will work together over the next few weeks to manage the transition.

On Jan. 4, ESUP program director Andy Hill announced that Santiago Fernandez-Gimenez will become the ESUP’s assistant program director for change management, working with CCI’s Georgi Frye to lead ESUP change management, communications, and training efforts. A long-time University staff member, Fernández-Giménez believes that ESUP is an opportunity to build a strong foundation for future innovation, both technologically and socially. “I’m excited to jump into this challenging role,” he said. “I plan to reach out to the University community, try to ask insightful questions, surface differences of interest, and challenge us to find creative solutions that allow us to more fully leverage our enterprise infrastructure.”

Please congratulate Sharon, Mark, and Santiago on their new opportunities!

Mark Your Calendars for the Portal Kickoff!
With much of the project coordination underway, the Portal workstream is ready to introduce opportunities for the involvement of all University stakeholders. The Portal kickoff meeting will explain the portal project, identify ways that all interested parties can get involved, and be the start of creating the portal as a University collaborative effort.  This event will take place on Monday, Feb. 4, from 2 to 4 p.m. -- an email invitation with more details will come soon. There will be at least one location to attend on every campus. We hope you will join us!

Student Work Stream to Host IDP Orientation
The Student work stream will host a two-hour Interactive Design and Prototyping (IDP) orientation session this Thursday for its functional steering committee members. The session is similar in scope to the IDP training held for ESUP team members before the holiday break. Each work stream will hold similar training sessions as they get closer to IDPs and the Analyze & Design phase. For more information about IDPs, see this “What is IDP?” blog post.