FSSC Fosters Team Work; IT Projects No Longer Disappear into 'Black Hole'
Communication is so important, but it can be challenging to keep everyone on the same page. We have an easy way of doing that now, and it has been eye-opening how much we’ve been able to accomplish.
- Jason Dudley, AVP for Information Technology
When the global pandemic forced U.S. colleges to shift to remote learning within a matter of days, the IT department at Florida Southwestern State College was flooded with requests from students, faculty and staff. “There’s no way we would have survived the pandemic without TeamDynamix,” says Jason Dudley, associate vice president for information technology at the college.
From Surviving a Pandemic to Doubling Project Efficiency
Many students and even faculty members didn’t have the technology they needed for teaching and learning remotely. Florida Southwestern State’s IT team set up a technology checkout system using the ITSM functionality within the TeamDynamix platform, allowing students and faculty to request laptops and other necessary equipment by filling out a Service Ticket. The faculty had several questions about how to use Zoom and other applications to connect with students remotely.
“We posted a number of FAQs to our TeamDynamix client portal for remote support,” Dudley says. “We started directing faculty, staff, and students to the client portal to search for answers to their questions. Self-service reduced inbound IT service requests by at least 25 percent.” Even so, the college’s IT staff fielded twice as many requests in March as they normally handle.
“Our tickets doubled, and yet we were able to manage them all without any issues,” Dudley says proudly. While he attributes much of this success to the professionalism of his IT staff, having a high-quality IT service management platform (ITSM) also played a critical role. “There’s no way we would have been able to do that with any other system I’ve used before,” he says.
Our tickets doubled, and yet we were able to manage them all without any issues.
IT projects no longer disappear into a “black hole”
Florida Southwestern State’s experience with TeamDynamix actually began with the Project Portfolio Management (PPM) module in 2018, before the college added the IT Service Management component the following year. Before acquiring TeamDynamix, “we were not very efficient at completing projects,” Dudley admits.
“We approached them with more of a firefighting mentality. Whatever projects we heard the most complaints about would be the ones we would focus on.” Each department within IT managed its own projects via spreadsheets, and there wasn’t much communication between departments. “The group responsible for managing the college’s ERP system might have been waiting on the programming group to do something, but the programming group might have had a backlog of projects,” Dudley explains.
“There were a lot of silos in IT. No one really knew who was working on what.” This made effective resource allocation difficult. “We weren’t maximizing resources within IT to make sure we were meeting the needs of the college,” Dudley says. They tried a few other web-based project management tools but found they were lacking. “They were geared more toward businesses, and they didn’t give us the flexibility to establish the workflows and approvals we needed for a higher-education environment,” he says. When he heard about TeamDynamix from a colleague at another college, he realized it was the solution he’d been looking for.
With the TeamDynamix ITSM and PPM single platform approach, Dudley and his staff have full visibility into all project work as well as tickets, incidents, and problems. All work can be viewed in one place and resources allocation across this work is in one place. In his words, IT projects no longer disappear into a “black hole”; instead, there is full transparency. College personnel can submit project requests through the TeamDynamix client portal.
Dudley and his staff have created a scoring system within the platform that helps college leaders understand how mission-critical a project is. This gives them a formal project intake framework that can be leveraged in high-level stakeholder discussions.
“I meet with the other vice presidents on-campus quarterly,” he says. “I provide them with the list of projects that have been submitted through TeamDynamix, along with a scorecard for these projects and we use this scorecard as one of the driving factors in making decisions as a team about which projects we should move forward on and in what order of priority.”
Since implementing TeamDynamix, “we’ve become much more efficient at completing projects,” Dudley notes. “Our project completion time has stayed consistent; however, we’re now able to complete twice as many projects in the same time. In our most recent analysis, we have a 60-percent increase in the number of projects we completed over a six-month period.” A reason for this increased efficiency is that Dudley and his colleagues can allocate IT resources more strategically. “Now, we can see who’s working on what,” he says. “When we get a new project request, we can allocate resources that might be idle to get that project moving.”
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