IT Leadership Team discuss "Ensuring Fairness" goal, major incident recap, and more

February 6, 2020

The Leadership Team met on January 29 to discuss the following projects and updates: 

Progress Made on CCI Goal and Opportunities to Get Involved

Debra Houle shared three updates related to the Climate, Culture, and Inclusion (CCI) task force’s goal of “ensur[ing] fairness of opportunity”:

  • Nearly all ITS managers have completed the Creating an Environment of Mutual Respect (92%) and Unconscious Bias (94%) training. Managers also completed commitment documents, to remind them to put their learnings into action. Half of ITS staff have also completed the Unconscious Bias training. All managers and staff are required to attend Unconscious Bias Training by June 30, 2020.
  • CCI team members will attend upcoming department team meetings to provide helpful tips and resources and will follow up with team managers three months later to provide support as needed.
  • A community gathering will take place on Thursday, February 6, from 3:00—4:00 p.m. at 25 Science Park. This gathering will feature diversity and inclusion activities, networking, and snacks—including an opportunity to bring snacks representing your own culture.

CCI is recruiting a co-chair and action team participants. Managers are encouraged to support staff who are interested in joining. Learn more about CCI and contact to get involved. 

A Story of Major Incident Management

Lisa Sawin reflected on a recent opportunity to serve as duty officer during a P1 incident (INC1655520) related to infected shares on Storage @ Yale. She described her five-day experience overseeing the incident in a series of steps—from working with teams across IT to identify infected computers (namely at the School of Public Health and Facilities) and pinpointing the virus’s activity to restoring, rescanning, and utilizing creative approaches to speed up the process—resulting in the restoration of access to files. She also recognized the importance of on-the-ground support, namely collaborations with Distributed Support Providers (DSPs) and the ITS Help Desk as knowledgeable points of contact in a confusing situation for customers and to keep local leadership informed.

Reflecting on the experience of working together, Lisa Sawin and Kay Ratanasaka (the Storage @ Yale service owner and incident contact), made suggestions for duty officers and collaborators managing a P1 incident, such as: 

  • Utilize tools like Microsoft Teams to collaborate and stay connected, particularly over weekends
  • Set up a physical “war room” or command station (e.g. rooms 445/446, near the Help Desk) to maintain smooth communications
  • Consider what level of detail you should include in your messages to stakeholders, to minimize panic or reduce security concerns
  • When an incident involves multiple services, be sure to clarify which service owner(s) are managing the content

Ultimately, Lisa and Kay expressed how supported they felt by IT colleagues across the organization, and how meaningful that support can be during a major incident. 

A Journey to Better Events Management

In preparation for the Schwarzman Center’s opening in September, IT was asked to amplify Yale’s convening power. Franz Hartl recalled that he and his team were motivated by the goal of Service Quality to identify an events management system that would work for the entire Yale campus, including Schwarzman, resulting in the selection of EventBrite. Following the Schwarzman Center’s pilot of the system, an enterprise license may be purchased (pending FY21 funding) to make the system available to the entire Yale community.

Kim Miller provided an overview of the research conducted prior to selecting EventBrite, including: 

  • Identifying over 14 event management tools that are actively in use
  • Working with their vendor, Four Kitchens, to prepare, review, and approve interview scripts
  • Interviewing 26 event managers/events personnel
  • Consulting the Yale Events Advisory Board to identify university-wide stakeholders
  • Distributing a Qualtrics survey to over 400 people

Kim shared that users want a centrally-supported system that is free and easy to use, integrates well with other essential applications, and more. Eventbrite is the global platform that can support Yale’s current needs and, if an enterprise license can be purchased, it will offer enhanced functionality and may also allow the retirement of other tools. 

Ask-me-anything Session with John Barden

John answered a number of questions ranging from space concerns to the new structure of the Operations Town Hall. Highlights include: 

  • Regarding concerns around space, Jack Callahan is actively reviewing the spaces that Yale owns or leases to evaluate options. Part of the reason there has been an increase of activity at Science Park is because space is an issue across campus—not just at Science Park. There are a few measures underway to make more space, such as pulling out filing cabinets, but these are temporary solutions. In the interim, and in response to the increase in staff at Science Park, John is working with Steve Murphy and Chief Higgins to address security coverage for this area, which will be modified in the coming six months.
  • Concerning Scott Strobel’s appointment and its impact on IT, John mentioned that Scott recognizes that IT’s approach to supporting the community is effective and heading in the right direction.
  • About Sexual Harassment Training requirements, John confirmed that this is mandatory and encouraged everyone to complete their requirement.
  • Related to the new Operations Town Hall structure, John conveyed that Jack continues to work on reducing silos and integrating operational areas. The new town hall structure allows leaders from each operational area and their direct reports to develop community across these units.
  • As for FY21 projects, John responded that he will continue to focus on reducing the number of IT projects it tackles each year, which will allow staff to have ‘more runway’ and time to complete key initiatives. This will require rethinking and realignment to ensure that there isn’t too much on the list (at present, the list represents double the number of approved projects from last year).

The next leadership team meeting will be held on February 26.

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