Zoned out and lessons learned

I’ve been feeling a bit “zoned out”, due to a project I’ve been running for the past six months, at least now we’re in the home stretch with about two months left.  About six months ago I was tasked with yet another campus wide IT project.  This one is essentially a transition to private IP’s in each and every campus building.  Rolling users (devices), into Zones…hence the project name and the title of this blog post.  At this point we are about 80% complete with the assigned facilities, with some big migrations to come.  It’s my hope that we can complete this by October 1, 2010.  Note – when I was handed the project it was behind schedule and not going well, even though it had been active for 18 months.

Once I became involved it became apparent pretty quickly that gaps existed in the project plan..first and foremost, there didn’t seem to be much of a plan.  The biggest issue I saw was the expectation that our network engineers (yeah – I used to be one), would carry the burden of desktop support issues while each building was rolled to the new network.  That was the first and probably largest challenge we faced, and still do to some respect.  As that gap was identified, we worked with a number of the IT and desktop support groups from around campus to get them engaged and on board with helping in the deployment – not just to do the work, but help shape the process along the way.

A big win was getting a couple of field support folks o-loan to the project team to assist the areas of campus that don’t have their own IT support staff.  As it turns out we’ve also used them in areas that have field IT staff, to train and coach the others, in what amounts to a drastic change to the campus data network.  In many respects, as the project has evolved, it was also built capacity and hopefully raised some skill levels.  So, the engagement of the IT support staffs from units around campus served many purposes and has had outstanding results, remember, it’s not done yet.

The success of this implementation is really indicative of the team involved and the roles played – from the network engineering staff, to our on-loan desktop support, to Information Security, to the IT support in the various units.  It would have been impossible to move forward without this cross functional engagement.  Kudos to the team.


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