Raw Data - IT@Cornell

Raw Data – CIT March 2011 Town Meeting
Question 1: What would make you feel more confident as an individual contributor working in the Cornell
environment? What do you believe would make CIT a more confident and effective organization?
Group A) The group believed that the following items fell in both the Individual and CIT areas:
Top ideas/themes:
1. Formal Education – e.g. degree program. Leadership does recognize importance, but it’s important to make the
time available for employees. A formal program that allows capacity to make this feasible.
2. Would like to see more staff involvement in key business decisions (e.g. changes in the organization, new or
changing services). Staff want to know that their opinions and thoughts are valued (would like people to avoid
making uninformed decisions). Want to be asked for their opinions.
Other ideas:
People who are IT literate (and understand it’s their responsibility and that it’s an expectation)
Want a safe harbor or environment to discuss technical issues or problems honestly without concern that there
will be consequences
Less micromanagement; want an environment where trust is an important element
Clear goals for CIT which can be translated into division goals, work group goals and individual goals (line of site)
An environment where the problem is presented and knowledgeable staff can work on the solution (not given
the solution). Shared decision making.
Cross-training between departments to aid in the architecture and design
More focus on Information sharing between groups and divisions
Remove the culture of “blame”
Silo reduction training
More management interaction
Customer surveys on how we are doing
Advertise our services
Choose better tools. Create a better evaluation process. If university could stop changing between new tools
every couple of months, it would at least give the impression of confidence in CIT as an organization
Improve general level of technical competence (could reduce finger pointing and cya)
Group B) Top ideas/themes:
1. Communication & Awareness of activities, priorities and goals not just up-and-down but across the
organization and divisions. People knowing their goals *and* the goals of others in order to understand
working relationships.
2. Common framework for improving ourselves (group and individual). Adherence to and honest evaluation of
Organization-level "performance review and development plan."
- set out goals that reflect both serving customers *and* improving our organization (both abilities of
individuals and abilities of groups to work together.)
- Reinstating training options
- plan, define, and schedule education time
- standard and centralized repository of *internal* documentation, e.g. CMDB
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Confidence means you know you can and are doing a great job and have well-satisfied customers. It takes:
- teamwork
- skills
- monitoring of machines and organizational performance
- visible process improvement goals
- a process that allows for time to do constant internal process improvement
- goal alignment
- a "balanced score card" taking into account organizational capabilities, internal satisfaction and customer
- specific goals and timelines for improvement
- setting priorities
- balancing project activities vs operational activities, possibly involving separated and/or dedicated
resources to each.
- knowledge of what all of us do.
- Knowing that if there is a "them," we ARE "them"
- consistent, robust application monitoring
- smoother collaboration among CIT units handling unplanned outages (No pushbacks, No CYA)
- consistent reliance on the HelpDesk as the single entry point for all Incident Reporting.
- realization of "There is No Them"
- Reduce parochialism
- cognizance of shared vision and goals
- support trust in each other
- recognition of contributions
- better communication
- improving CIT's campus image will improve our confidence
- maintenance of people and groups as well as machines/systems
- credit
- And then later, the group added:
- iPads
Group C) Top ideas/themes:
1. Decision Making: Empowerment, Authority & Responsibility.
2. Leading and Enforcing Standards Across the University.
EMPOWERMENT (and CLARITY of) <3 dots>
- Clear lines of authority and responsibility
- Better communication about organizational changes
- Be allowed to do my job
- Accountability / consequences
If we are empowered and responsible to do something then give us the authority needed (to do it) <4 dots - spanned
two headings>
- Get away from management by consensus
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Decisions made at appropriate level <1 dot>
Quicker decisions made
Open minded management support
Consider my opinions not in the context of CIT Services but on their own merit first
- Standardized AV and classroom infrastructure
- Overall CIT project support (construction)
- Formal tie to facilities construction management
- CIT to provide IT direction to/for campus <2 dots>
- Support or enforcement of IT standards
o Updates of IT standards
- Relating goals back to the strategic plan
- Clearly defined goals or organization and/or department or unit
- Organizational and individual
o Goals
o Objectives
o Communication
o Empowerment
- Skills / training to support job needs
Question 2: What can the CIT leadership group do to be sure that we hear about and understand the
opportunities and roadblocks you routinely encounter, so that you and your team members to be effective?
Group A) Top ideas/themes:
1. Have a contemporary mechanism to cultivate and communicate ideas to CIT Leadership
2. Make sure the process demonstrates genuine understanding (reflection before action)
The group that discussed Question 2 found that the group input, when categorized, resembled a process as follows:
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1. Mechanism(s)
to collect, record
& track
4. Act
Q2: What can the CIT
leadership group do to
be sure that we hear
about and understand
the opportunities and
roadblocks you routinely
encounter, so that you
and your team members
to be effective?
2. Acknowledge,
listen & validate
(hear and
3. Dialog,
conversation &
The specific sticky notes falling into each category illustrated above are as follows (they are recorded verbatim):
1. Mechanisms
a. How do we send ideas to CIT management?
b. We tried CIT forum… it didn’t really work.
c. In this day of social networking feeds, is there a way to maintain a continuous conversation on all manner of
d. How can anonymity be preserved when necessary or appropriate (“safetly”)?
e. What is the appropriate escalation path? Immediate supervisor?
f. Leadership needs to see beyond their immediate reports (leadership have a big picture view).
g. How can we ensure that opportunities & roadblocks are recorded and tracked?
h. Be the person who opens the gate, not one who holds it closed; if there are inter-department
communication problems, try to get both sides of the problem, don’t just write a CYA email based on the
info that one person brought you.
i. Are there occasions when a team member should be able to communicate directly with sr. management vs
relying on formal escalation paths?
j. How do we distinguish between individual opportunities & roadblocks vs process &/or team opportunities &
roadblocks? Are there different channels that are more appropriate for each?
2. Acknowledgement
b. Leadership should first repeat back what they hear without responding
c. Then, categorize:
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i. Worth acting on?
ii. Defer?
iii. Will not pursue?
iv. We don’t understand?
d. In the past, leadership has tended to respond rather than listen and show that they are listening.
e. Once CIT management “hears”, how do they show that they have really listened and understood?
f. Is there any mechanism by which we can confirm that leadership hears and understands?
3. Dialog
4. Act
We did not time to categorize all group input into one of the above. While with additional time, some may have ended
up in the categories above, it is also possible that some/most of uncategorized remaining items below are potential “use
cases” for the process illustrated:
Leadership needs a way to find out if a topic is widely viewed as an issue (or not)
We have been “on hold” for over a year. Although challenges may be understood, nothing will change until…
when? Ted says so? A re-org? Something else?
Every employee with a bachelor’s degree should be encouraged & supported to pursue a graduate degree.
Everyone without a degree should be encouraged likewise to get a bachelor’s degree.
Eliminate “micro-management” – allow people to do what they know needs to be done
Can we allow consultation without an account number (or activity code)?
When you go to a meeting, take a member of your group that is knowledgeable about the subject so you can
make an informed decision
Understand the impact of over-allocation of resources
Group B) Top Ideas/Themes
a. CIT Leadership must actively ENGAGE all levels of the organization through initiatives such as:
Task force to handle small immediate needs fast.
Random “cube drop-ins” to team.
Use Skip Level leadership (two way)
Devote a rotating “floater” position to uncover and escalate challenges/opportunities
b. Make staff development a top priority through initiatives such as:
1. Establish career tracks to boost morale
2. Spend $ for training opportunities
3. Define job descriptions clearly to reflect actual job
4. Hold all staff accountable equally
5. Develop better channels of communication
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Question 3: Is CIT a Learning Organization? What steps need to be taken toward making it one? Benefits of
Learning Organizations are:
Group A) Top ideas/themes:
1. Increase emphasis on and opportunities for sharing on a professional rather than task level. Best practices,
cross-learning w/in groups, lessons learned after projects.
2. Focus on management serving organization (not agenda), more authority to implement change (based on things
like professional expertise, lessons learned and task forces, etc.), and taking action.
I felt that some of the discussion centered on “why we are not” as close to a Learning Organization as we should be,
rather than “how can we become one.” On the two we sent in on the slide, I think we changed things to be more
“how” but we didn’t have specific action steps. Anyway, that’s just a bit of overview about the discussion.
1. Too much management, not enough administration. Management is about control, administration comes
from “ministry” which means serving. Serving both employees and the University. Management is a service
function and should not be used to enforce an agenda, but to further the good of the supervisees or
2. More people would benefit from proper training and they are not getting it. Management needs to think
about the good of the employee and the organization.
1. This can sometimes be a budgetary issue which can result from folks higher up the ladder not
valuing training.
2. Training increases efficiency and opportunities for advancement.
3. In addition to formal training, we need more cross-learning. (People in groups teaching their colleagues and
creating new solutions together.) People are stuck in bubbles. Not enough talking.
1. The cost recovery model groups can have this issue in particular, but it exists in many places.
2. Cost recovery creates a focus on the task at hand. Not enough time to innovate, improve, and
increase skills, share ideas.
3. Professional colleagues (in all units/groups) don’t have enough time or opportunity to converse,
share ideas, inquire, build new models, develop change solutions on a professional, rather than task
level. (Example: a group of developers wanted to get together for a “code party.” They’d solve a
problem as a group, coming up with diff. solutions, discussing, and then learning from each other.
Manager said no because would take too much time from project work.)
4. Change can cause fear about putting yourself out of a job with too much efficiency.
1. Cross-training can help people feel secure they are more than the job they are currently performing.
2. Lifelong learners are people who can be more than we are today.
5. Need to increase trust that we are a group of professionals, not just people who do tasks.
1. We all have responsibility. Not enough have authority and accountability.
6. Know difference between productivity and activity.
7. CIT needs to solve organization issues, such as implementing true incident management, problem
8. Do more things like this to draw ideas out of people who may be less comfortable sharing in their groups.
9. Do we have the organizational maturity to learn and grow? Means we can see where we are, where we
need to go, and MAKE the changes necessary to get there. (Action is essential and seems to have been
missing on past initiatives/task forces, etc.) The world is changing. Can CIT change? Not well enough at the
moment. Take forces and committees keep solving the same problems but solution aren’t implemented.
Decide. Act. Do.
Group B) Top ideas/themes:
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1. General lack of communication across the organization & lack of awareness about what other groups are working
on. This greatly undermines organizational effectiveness.
2. Lack of clear career paths
Employees do not have promotion opportunities: Leave the org. or stay put!
Without a sense of how to advance, there is no incentive to improve.
3. Current business models can be a barrier to effectiveness.
Group Composition: There were six members of the group. There were two pairs of group members that were each
from the same workgroup. Other than these pairs, none of the members regularly worked with any of the other group
members, and none of the group members (including the facilitator) had met all of the other members previously.
Two member of the group said that they had worked for CIT for less than two years, and two members said that they
had worked for CIT for more than ten years. After the discussion was over, one participant remarked that we had a mix
of IT specialists and generalists, each bringing a different perspective.
Target Exercise: After introductions, I gave a 90-second summary of what was meant by the term “Learning
Organization,” and I gave the group another 90 seconds to look the handout that Teresa had prepared. I then gave the
group sticky-dots to place on a target. A facsimile of that target is below:
How close is CIT to the target of being a
Learning Organization?
I noticed that it was the people who had worked for CIT for the least amount of time who said that we were closest to
the mark, and the person with the longest history at CIT placed us farthest out, but I did not remark that to the group.
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Group Discussion: After everyone placed their mark on the target, I went around the table and asked why they placed
the mark where they did. I wrote down the responses, after checking with each participant that I had captured the
essence of what they’d said.
Our discussion about barriers to becoming a Learning Organization was so engrossing, that we did not have much time
to talk about solutions.
Below are all of the comments recorded, arranged by general theme:
o CIT is extremely “siloed.” Within a silo, there is good cohesion, but we don’t know what’s going on
o No awareness of cross-division activity or goals.
o Lack of integration / communication across groups.
o Duplication of effort: Multiple groups doing the same thing, often using incompatible tools.
o Competitive work: Different groups re-invent the wheel
o Different groups have different feel & style, which can complicate working together.
o CIT is not effective at letting campus know what we offer.
o Lack of awareness of what’s going on across the organization.
o Lack of mechanisms and opportunities to learn about what’s going on in other groups.
o Lack of communication of real world goals of the organization: Formal goals documents aren’t enough!
o Published “strategic goals” are not seen as accurate descriptions of what is really important: just what
management wants to say is important.
o We need regular cross-divisional communications/forums beyond town meetings.
o Don’t understand the reasons behind some of CIT policies—hard to follow when we don’t know why.
o This kind of group discussion is very helpful!
 Personnel & Human Assets:
o We need fresh blood: Too many people have been doing the same thing for too long, and have a stale
o Employees need viable career paths and advancement opportunities.
o Without a sense that you can advance your career, there’s no incentive to improve—just keep the status
o Fastest way to advance is to take another position outside of CIT, and then get hired back at a higher
o CIT encourages personal growth (training), but it doesn’t have big-picture application.
o It’s hard to get experts together with the problems that need solving if the experts aren’t in the group
with the problem.
 Business Practices:
o CIT’s financial model limits group effectiveness: Some campus groups can’t benefit from our services
because they don’t have the budget to pay for them.
o There is a lack of shared vision: it’s hard to get feedback on system design, and it’s hard to report how
bad system design impacts performance.
o Hard to get agreement within CIT on system requirements, then when agreed, other groups can then
change what had been agreed upon.
I gave all group members three dots to dot-vote on the most important themes. I then summarized these themes in a
PowerPoint slide. I checked with the group before submitting, and we made a few changes before I sent it in. The slide
we submitted was:
Current barriers to becoming a Learning Organization are:
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1. General lack of communication across the organization & lack of awareness about what other groups are
working on. This greatly undermines organizational effectiveness.
2. Lack of clear career paths
1. Employees do not have promotion opportunities: Leave the org. or stay put!
2. Without a sense of how to advance, there is no incentive to improve.
3. Current business models can be a barrier to effectiveness.
Closing Out:
Several participants were very interested in trying to align our responses with the five characteristics of a Learning
Organization. I said that I would like to do that, but our format did not give us enough time.
Many of the participants said that they would like to continue this discussion, by taking it down a level and probing each
of the five aspects. I said that there may very well be an opportunity to do that in the future, but I couldn’t say for sure.
Several participants said that they found this kind of group discussion to be valuable, and hoped that management
would actually do something with this data. They said that this kind of forum should be done more often, to help CIT
staff members stay on the same page.
Group C) Top ideas/themes:
1. Remove silos everywhere
2. Training for advancement
The group agreed that CIT is not a learning organization, although some units do a better job than others in promoting
learning. These are the ideas we come up with on how to move closer to being one. The top two ideas were presented
to the larger group, the rest are listed in order of importance by the group. Picture attached is of the target exercise.
1. Remove silos
1. Silos exist within divisions and even across peer institutions
2. No incentive to remove them
3. Job swapping
2. Training for advancement
1. train for the job you want, not just for the job you have
2. certificates, PMI
3. can it be mandated?
4. can it be tied to goals, perf. evaluations
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3. Emphasis on shared vision
1. vision aligned with University's vision/goals
2. vision defined at CIT and division level
3. vision aligned with core competencies and provide training to meet them
4. Increase resources to support vision
5. Redesign work areas for better teamwork and collaboration
1. Open floor plan
2. project based
6. Promote trust
1. across divisions and units
2. shared jobs and cross-unit meetings (back office meetings)
3. cultural change
4. "Pulse" survey - IS division's response to lower scores on work place survey. Monthly check-in with
employees on what's working or not working well
Question 4: How can we better manage the interactions between CIT and our clients? Are there any simple
steps we can take right now to improve our relationships with clients? Is ‘client’ even the right word, or is it
‘customer’, ‘stakeholder’ or …?
Group A) Top two ideas or themes:
1. Foster culture of partnership (communication skills, approaches)
2. Remove obstacles to partnering with CIT (financial models, processes)
What’s getting in the way?
Cost-recovery model is a problem. Builds resentment. Have to bill for everything except travel. Even just time getting
to know each other.
 Not as responsive as we could be because we’re pulled in so many directions. Not clear on priorities.
 Tend to operate in a vacuum.
 Barrier to entry to gain access to our services. More difficult than it needs to be because of financial model and
processes we follow. Gets in the way of responding effectively. Have to spend time educating customer. Could
create readymade documents that explain the process.
 Appropriated side doesn’t have the limitation of the financial model or having to follow process for everything. We
have a threshold for when something becomes a project.
 With 100% of our time allocated, we can’t accommodate goodwill efforts and desires.
 Need more focus to match what’s coming in with what resources we have available.
 With too much to do, it feels like we have to do a marginal job to get it all done.
 Contention among experts, when they’re both right.
Terms we like:
Steps we can take to get where we want to be:
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Change cost-recovery model to allow for relationship-building. Provide better parity between provider and
customer. Find the right balance between what you bill for and what you don’t.
Understand their lines of business better. For example, the research area. CIT hasn’t partnered here as much as it
has in the academic and administrative areas.
Be embedded in a unit; see their day-to-day needs and how they’re met. Would be educational and give CIT valuable
Do fewer things, the right things, really well.
Set up and think of our interactions as a partnership. Go in with this mindset. Their ideas and directions are just as
valid as ours. Have to listen well, even if we don’t agree.
Define who we’re serving and what are offerings are. Include implicit and explicit offerings. Make sure our offerings
are informed. Need shared meaning. Find out where that meaning is and align.
Collaborate more as a university on priorities, values, and vision. So everyone has bought in, rather than having
something imposed on them. Could be an annual planning exercise. Would build trust.
Reduce friction within CIT and between CIT and partners. Partner so that groups that are strong in one area do that,
and then work with other groups to deliver the whole product.
CIT could become an enabler so more people could do it themselves. We don’t have to do it all in CIT.
Ways to enhance our creativity / innovation are critical for everything we do. Build in more research and
development time. We get stuck in “always done it that way”.
Need better balance with process. Define “small-scale” efforts that wouldn’t require process. For example, taking 20
minutes to use process for a 1-hour project.
When a customer comes with bad impression of CIT, take the time to work with them to demonstrate that it doesn’t
have to be like that. Have to approach this kind of effort thoughtfully.
Have customer meetings in their environment instead of scheduling them in CIT buildings.
Develop more conference rooms like B08 so we can do more videoconferencing and work more with off-campus
Create an intuitive way to pursue appointment with CIT expertise without needing a billing code.
Train people how to be effective listeners and go out to campus to find out what they want. Mere act of doing that
plants seed of different relationship with CIT.
Engage campus before we’ve settled on a plan, instead of figuring it all out ourselves (or thinking we have) and then
taking it to them.
Do more communication that doesn’t have an immediate tie to a deliverable. Communication for its own sake.
Use skills with customers to draw out what they want. Build trust.
At the IT Forum or a similar venue, do an event similar to the one we’re doing here. See what the IT community has
to say.
An annual forum or gathering of IT staff is very important to build collaboration and relationships around campus.
Have a food budget for customer meetings. Gesture of hospitality and ice breaker.
Increase CIT’s skill levels in negotiation, effective listening, the art of creative conversation, and the art of debate
(being able to articulate and defend both positions). “Crucial Conversations” mentioned as a good course.
Group B) Top ideas/themes:
1. All employees in CIT are educated about services offered.
2. Customer only has to go through 1 hop to get question/issues addressed.
 All employees in CIT are educated in the services that are offered. There is a website with the service catalog
and contact information for each service, which can be a reference point for customers, too.
 Customer when calling about a question or having an issue only have to be transferred one time and the
originating receiver of the call takes responsibility for ensuring the customer gets to the correct person/location.
o To make this happen, it was felt by the group that improved support tools and processes, including Help
Desk Support. EX: remote into a customer desktop to evaluate the problem
o Ability to accept request services through multiple avenues. EX: texting, web request form, chat.
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Streamline the process for the customer.
Collaboration among the clusters, colleges and CIT would be a must, so all the services would be
Measuring client/customer satisfaction on a regularly basis.
o This could be accomplished by a raking system or/and by setting up meetings with the customers.
o Comment: Customer satisfaction can mean very different things to different customers. Some
customers are never really happy no matter how hard you try to please them. (Difficult customer).
to look and be the professional!
Group C) Top ideas/themes:
1. Better involvement with stakeholders – listening, understanding requirements and involvement on both sides
2. Customer Service Training – consistency, tone, accountability, don’t drop ball
Answers to “What looks different in 2 years”:
Campus no longer frustrated with calling CIT (can find who they need to solve an issue)
Service providers [within CIT] understand communication paths to customers and also understand the message we
want to give customers
CIT [pro]actively goes to different departments before projects are started, then checks up during and / or after
CIT recognized itself as a service organization, not the center of everything (self-centered, “monopoly” are words
used to describe CIT)
CIT and customer goals & priorities are aligned; we are pulling in the same direction. CIT is a help, not a hindrance
Projects are STAFFED and funded appropriately FROM BOTH SIDES (with a discovery first), and support is planned
both during and after the project
CIT listened and understood what I want (from customer point of view): needs were elicited
Better job of trumpeting successes and using them as examples (like testimonials)
Increased level of communication – don’t “shove [solutions] down their throats” (Perception is reality)
The illusion exists[in 2 years] that clients “own” both HW and SW even if we don’t (CIT is humble and in the
Clients see CIT Departments working together without conflict
Consistent definition of customer (are internal CIT division customers?)
o Use of the service defines customer, not where they sit
When customer contact CIT, the CIT person takes a level of accountability to help solve the problem (AKA customer
More projects support faculty and students (the academic mission)
Actions: (top 2 are listed first)
Better stakeholder involvement (both CIT and Customer)
Customer service training (for consistency of manner, tone, presenting face of CIT, accountability
Don’t drop the ball
Consistency – “one CIT”
SDL needs to talk w/one voice to Custs [and CIT]
Customers needs better understanding of requirements
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Give ability to “roll their own” apps / serviced
Full lifecycle (the “Bun”)
Client or Customer the right word:
Doesn’t matter as long as it is consistent
Question 5: One of my metaphors for large organizations is that they sometimes seem to be driving to their
destination with one foot on the gas and one on the brake. To the extent this applies to CIT, what can we do
to take our foot off the brake? Are there some simple steps we can take right now that will take us in this
Group A) Top ideas/themes:
1. Embrace a more agile methodology
2. Enable peer communication across organization
I firmly believe that this sort of discussion is a necessary first step in moving forward towards enacting
meaningful change. My group had a lot to say of the barriers that are holding us back as an organization, I will
try to encapsulate and communicate as much as I can.
One barrier that was commonly agreed upon is that the governance process is too slow and baroque. There are
so many checks and layers that any decision needs to be filtered through, that progress occurs too slowly or not
at all.
We need to better align staff to meet the needs of the organization and the Cornell Community. Individuals
have become so specialized and compartmentalized and often retain complete ownership and control of a vital
service or system. There needs to be more cross training and agility to meet the dynamic needs of the
“It takes 40 people to make toast.” My group thought that this statement best expressed the reality that simple
changes and procedures are too weighted down by process, analysis and approval.
Instead of moving forward we wait for permission.
There is a lack of trust in the organization.
The lack of trust feeds into a lack of empowerment. Individuals feel compelled to justify their ideas and
Some roles and responsibilities are vague and not clearly defined. There exists a frustrating contradiction
wherein individuals are expected to deliver results without feeling empowered to do so.
There is also a lack of willingness to wipe the slate clean and start over. “Sometimes we keep building upon
flawed models instead of considering the possibility that we can create something altogether more functional
and cohesive by design.
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Individuals are often territorial and processes lack transparency.
There is a strong aversion to taking risks across the organization. Part of this is due to the fact that we maintain a
culture of blame and fail to support each other.
There is an unwillingness to commit adequate resources to the completion of a given project. Often times,
projects are begun but then sputter out before they are completed.
Project management in its current form is unwieldy and better suited for large scale projects instead of small
endeavors. Project management needs to be more results focused and be willing to commit to task the
appropriate amount of resources.
The solutions my group identified were the following:
We need to empower individuals to take risks. We need to move beyond a culture of excessive checks, where
people are free to express ideas without fear of reproach. There needs to be more inherent trust and crossteam support.
My group felt that it was important to dissolve artificial groups. The Cornell community sees CIT as a single
organization; it is only within CIT that we perceive each ‘branch’ as a separate and distinct entity. Often, the
solution we need to deliver to our customer/client requires cross-team cooperation. Any communication or
cultural barriers prove to be a hindrance.
My group also felt that it would be enormously beneficial if CIT could be housed under one roof. While we
understand that this is an enormous undertaking, the benefits reaped by the Cornell Community would also be
great. There is a lot of talent that is underutilized due to communication barriers of all kinds. By locating us
together we would gain a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of our colleagues. It would
allow for greater collaboration, trust and synergy.
Another area that my group felt we could benefit from is enhanced ‘peer to peer’ communication. This speaks
to the disconnect between CIT employees at the non-managerial level. While the group was unclear of a single
approach, this perhaps could be approached from multiple angles. Certainly a town-hall style forum such as we
just had does indeed help; other more involved ‘peer-lead’ workshops would help too. Perhaps there could be a
‘mentorship’ program where individuals can learn skills and develop relationships with another area.
Finally, my group thought it was important that CIT adopt a more agile methodology. We felt it important that
people be more cross-trained and flexible. There should be less ‘big red tape’ and more empowerment of
individuals at the ground level to enact the decisions that they see as necessary.
Group B) Top ideas/themes:
1. Clear process for how decisions get made (no is an ok decision), clear decisions and priorities that are
communicated and an appeals process that is time bounded
2. Becoming a results driven organization that is customer focused and tied into a strategic plan
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A staff member is authorized by SDL to
move forward on a project and later on
someone has a question or disagrees with
the scope of the project and instead of
moving forward the project just dies off.
Let decisions stick and make sure the decisions
and the decision process are clear.
Allow a period of time when people can object
and after that the project moves forward.
The person making the decision needs to be
People sign up for tasks and then they back
out, so the effort stops (e.g. once people
contemplate the time, energy and effort and 
that’s when they back out).
We are a “ask permission first” culture; we
have a lack of empowerment.
Figure out why people back out?
Give authority and accountability
Separate top performers from under performers
(the idea here is that sometimes
underperformers can slow or stop a project)
Have a strategic plan and align work to it
Enforce accountability and make it safe to
empower people
we settle to the lowest common
CIT is a consensus oriented organization (to
a fault).
CIT should deal with underperformers
People in CIT are risk averse
People need to know its ok to take risks; this
also will require staff to have courage.
People/Managers are territorial over
 We are more of a tribal organization and
that some people hold their territory
more important than the goal.
We need to become a results oriented
We need to think of the big picture
We need to have common goals
People in interim positions are afraid to
make decisions; the problem with this is
that often interim positions have lasted a
long time (in some cases) so decisions don’t
get made for long periods of time.
CIT protects our silos partly due to groups
shrinking over time but having more
We (CIT) have a fear of commitment
We need prioritization and then we need to
align our decisions with priorities.
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Groups will take ownership of their part of a
project however some projects require
Town Meeting Summary March 2011
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multiple depts. to participate and when
another organization doesn’t step up to
their part of the project the project doesn’t
get done.
CIT doesn’t make clear decisions, sometimes
just saying no or we will have to get to this
later is an acceptable answer.
Empowerment: staff don’t always know or
feel they can move on a project or not
SharePoint is a good example of a situations
where CIT has its foot on the brake and gas
Some members of the group wondered if
the ITGC process is slowing us down.
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Group C) Top ideas/themes:
1. Setting line of site (set strategic objectives and priorities, share with everyone, accountability and buy-in)
2. Set timeframes upfront (clear expectations)
Barriers list:
 Last minute scope change from customers
 Changing of priorities due to demands
 Lack of resources
 Internal politics
o "not my idea"
o "competition between groups"
o "unnecessary blocks put up"
Solutions list:
 #1: Line of site set
o Defuses politics
o No more "them"
o Would be good to have a mtg like this with the other IT folks to share
o Set strategic objectives, get buy-in, all should understand
o Set standard approaches
 #2: Set timeframes upfront
 Improve expectation setting and management
 Understanding of "good enough" in place. Stop the "polishing".
 Phased approach to projects (the ones that need more – things that weren't planned for try to get added in)
 A better way to do resource allocation and mgmt
 Clearly communicate our priorities and how they were determined.
 Accountability in place
SDL Question 6: What can CIT leaders do enhance the integration of CIT and IT in the Cornell community?
Top ideas/themes:
1. Directors build sincere relationships between themselves and campus executives.
2. Facilitate bi-directional knowledge sharing and resource sharing across IT organizations.
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1. CIT directors should build sincere relationships between themselves and campus executives. Supporting ideas:
a. CIT directors should each identify one or two units and strive to learn and understand the talents,
challenges, trouble points, and priorities of those units. Share what is learned with the rest of SDL.
b. CIT directors should take ownership and responsibility high-level relationship management.
c. As part of working on relationship management, CIT should identify where we don’t have existing
d. CIT directors should meet with unit leadership at the highest levels: “responsible executive” concept.
These executive level meetings would occur annually, be business-focused (as opposed to IT focused)
and contribute toward building trust between CIT and the executives’ organizations.
e. Take a buddy to lunch: CIT directors could also foster relationships by spending one-on-one time (lunch)
with service group directors. These would be unstructured opportunities to talk and could focus on
shared IT concerns as opposed to business concerns that are the focus of the “responsible executive”
In the realm of relationship management it might be a priority to identify orphan organizations
(organizations not represented in the current governance and communication structures such as ITMC,
the Security Council, etc.).
2. CIT should facilitate bi-directional knowledge sharing and resource sharing across IT organizations. A key
phrase shared in relation to the idea of sharing resources was “fluid leveraging of technical resources across
3. Address perceptions that have to do with the expense of CIT vs. its value. There is a disconnect between what
people perceive as the cost of the organization vs. what they actually get from it. Some action items that might
help address this include more transparency and clarity around CIT’s budget: what money goes where.
4. Solve the billing problem: The issue of doing the right thing with charge back so that members of the
community are encouraged to use central services and not develop the same thing within their own units.
(Moderator’s note: We didn’t have a lot of time to discuss this idea, but I think this is what the individual who
offered it was getting at.)
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