Unveiling a new PMO Concierge Model and more discussed at IT Leadership Team meeting

March 5, 2020

The Leadership Team met on February 25 to discuss the following projects and updates:

Reflections on the PMO Concierge Model

Michael van Emmenes and NiCole Schlagheck provided insight into a new Portfolio Management Office (PMO) Concierge Model which connects pillars, SLT support staff, pillar chairs, pillar points of contact (POC) and Project Management Office (PMO) POCs for enhanced communication and project delivery. The model has begun to enhance partnerships across Enterprise Applications and is cascading to all ITS areas, to clarify how to navigate PMO processes.

Michael shared his experience as a project manager (PM), and the feeling he and his colleagues have when projects are “in the red.” He understands that these experiences not only cause stress for the PM, they reduce a PM’s willingness to collaborate with the PMO. As he has become more involved in the Concierge Model as a pillar POC, he is focused on forming trusting relationships (e.g. hosting regular internal meetings, quarterly lunches, and more) to facilitate more effective collaboration with the PMO.

NiCole’s focus as a PMO pillar POC has been on reframing the way the PMO engages with Enterprise Applications PMs, including gaining a better understanding of customers, their environment, and any obstacles they may be facing. She believes that “the objective is to encourage a healthy dialogue so that, together, we can successfully deliver on projects.” Over the last few months, Michael and NiCole have hosted joint meetings to anticipate issues, ensure alignment, break down silos, and gain more clarity; these efforts have resulted in minimizing negative experiences along the way and have initiated a spirit of openness between PM’s, sponsors, and the PMO office.

Ensuring that the PMO Concierge Model continues to be a success, Apriel Biggs-Coker will host a Concierge kickoff for individuals to meet their PMO concierge partner and begin to benefit from these new partnerships.

Enhancements to VMware and Banner

Suresh Pandian provided an overview of how his Platform and System Administration team took on the challenge of managing Yale systems that were dependent on unsupported IBM hardware. Impacted systems such as Banner, DegreeWorks, Graduate Student Payroll, and IDS required quarterly patches to alleviate security concers; however, this approach was not ideal. Suresh’s team found ways to manage the risk and limit disruptions to the community, in the spirit of Service Quality, through a series of creative approaches including: 

  • Enhanced collaboration and communication among DevOps, including assigning a dedicated full time employee (FTE) embedded within the Banner team, to support migration and provide engineering support
  • Implementing performance testing with the new operating system (Linux) and virtual configurations, to ensure that there were no issues with the July 2019 migration

During this process, Banner was performing poorly and was inaccessible during a time of increasing usage (fall registration period), escalating the issue to a P1 incident. Additionally, performance was inconsistent as a result of co-stop issues in VMware infrastructure. In both cases, Suresh’s team evaluated how to take action, which included reclaiming 1,000’s of virtual cores recliamed from the DEV environment, adding more membory, reducing the over-commitment ration to 1:1, and more. Through his team’s efforts, January’s spring registration went smoothly and other work continues to ensure that risk levels remain low.

Next steps for the Workplace Survey

John Barden previewed results from the Workplace Survey, which were overall positive and reflect the great work completed over the last two years. In the coming weeks, the Senior Leadership Team will reveiw the survey results in greater detail, identify key themes and opportunities, and align initiatives to address them. There is potential to align some of the initiatives with the Climate, Culture, and Inclusion (CCI) Action Tams, which is a natural fit with CCI’s mission to drive initiatives which continuously improve ITS as a Workplace of Choice.

Ask John anything

John Barden answered the following questions from Leadership Team attendees.

When is the next Town Hall?

The next town hall is scheduled for May 21 and will combine town hall updates with a knowledge exchange, including a keynote speaker, breakout sessions, and a poster session.

What is the update on space at 25 Science Park?

I appreciate the challenges due to limited space and I am having ongoing conversations with Jack Callahan to find a solution. However, it is unlikely that we will be able to gain additional space in the next five to six months. In the interim, Cheri Ross is working creatively to pull out file cabinets, repurpose conference rooms, and more, to alleviate concerns. I am considering other ways to offer relief, while also being thoughtful about how to position IT for long-term success.

How is Yale preparing for a possible pandemic with COVID-19?

The CDC recently stated that it believes that COVID-19 will hit the US, although timing is uncertain. Every institution in the country is assessing what that means in regard to all facets of their mission. Yale is consulting its defined response for pandemics and ensuring that our plan properly addresses the challenges of this specific situation. In collaboration with senior leadership, IT is actively engaged in assuring our technology readiness in responding to the potential expanded healthcare delivery needs, and in support our students, faculty, and staff activities. 

Worth Noting

Cheri Ross provided an update on the renovation of the 25 Science Park Lactation Room, located on the 5th floor in room 575A. The space was recently expanded from one to two seats and the door was moved to the main hallway, near the elevators. Due to high demand, the room will now be used for lactation purposes only. All work is expected to be completed by the end of March 2020.

Once renovations are completed, additional details will be provided on how to access and schedule both seats (available by reservation only). Until the end of March, the space is available for one person at a time using the existing reservation process, which includes requesting an available 30-minute block of time for 25SP LACTATION RM 575A via Outlook. For questions, contact cheri.ross@yale.edu or 203-436-8259.

The next leadership team meeting will be held on March 25.

One IT at YaleService QualityWorkplace of Choice