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Successfully collaborating and delivering results in a complex organization (final)


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My thoughts on the requirements for success in creating collaborations with and among independent IT service organizations within a research university.

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Successfully collaborating and delivering results in a complex organization (final)

  1. 1. Successfully Collaborating and Delivering Results in Complex Organizations. <br />June 15, 2011<br />
  2. 2. Organization<br />Background<br />Three stages of a successful collaboration<br />Planning the collaboration<br />Group meetings to plan a collaborative project<br />Executing the plan and delivering results<br />
  3. 3. Background<br />
  4. 4. Background (1): Complexity Defined<br />A complex organization has<br />Multiple sub-divisions or sub-organizations with independent authority and IT capacities<br />For example, a research university with multiple colleges having their own IT groups<br />By contrast, simplicity is having <br />one central IT organization that provides all needed systems<br />
  5. 5. Background (2): My Experience<br />Ohio has been called a local control state<br />State government does not control … <br />School districts<br />Public universities and colleges<br />Public broadcasting<br />I’ve spent 15 years helping to support state initiatives that seek to encourage collaboration among these organizations<br />
  6. 6. Background (3): Expanding Complexity<br />Decentralization and complexity will only increase<br />Three changes in IT are a factor<br />Pursuit of “velocity”<br />Service improvements expected at faster and faster rate<br />Loss of control over end user IT<br />End user IT environment shaped by forces outside higher education<br />Open innovation<br />Cannot pursue all technology opportunities alone<br />
  7. 7. Stage One<br />Planning the Collaboration<br />
  8. 8. Identify the focus of collaboration<br />Area of collaboration needs to be specific<br />“Decreased data center costs” not “Something in the area of distance learning”<br />Executive sponsorship is essential<br />If possible, choose areas where a common minimum capacity can be created not a limit to the capabilities of participants<br />
  9. 9. Determine what consensus will mean<br />You can’t please everyone<br />With 100 people, a 70% approval rate means 30% are ambivalent or unsatisfied<br />Fair consultative process is an essential defense<br />Don’t assume everyone will gain<br />Determine how much consensus is needed<br />Expectation of 100% consensus in a collaboration can get in the way of action<br />Must respect differing needs<br />
  10. 10. Consider alternative structures for collaboration<br />Consolidation<br />An executive decision has been made that there will only be one provider of a certain service<br />Collaboration may be limited to providing input<br />Co-operation<br />Multiple parties will provide parts of a solution <br />Co-ownership <br />Joint ownership and management of the solution<br />Co-investment<br />Parties to collaboration will pay part of cost<br />
  11. 11. Determine who to involve<br />Persistent groups are best<br />Trust persists and group can focus on interests of different sub-groups over time<br />Determine how end users and/or their representatives will be involved<br />Consult strongly interested parties early, before collaboration starts<br />
  12. 12. Stage Two<br />Group meetings to plan a collaborative project<br />
  13. 13. Recommendations<br />Don’t over prepare<br />People will believe outcome has already been decided<br />Ensure discussions have a positive tone<br />Counters aversion to risk and change<br />Remember need for reciprocity<br />Share information widely<br />Listen actively to all participants<br />
  14. 14. Recommendations (2)<br />Consider order of planning<br />Focus on outcomes first<br />Determine what a successful outcome looks like<br />Operations second <br />Determine how it will be operated or provided<br />Focus on governance last<br />Determine how it will be owned or governed<br />
  15. 15. Stage Three<br />Executing the plan and delivering results<br />
  16. 16. Results<br />All usual project management execution concerns are relevant<br />Preventing scope creep, etc.<br />Communicate, communicate, communicate<br />Maintain commitment<br />Publicly announce and recognize commitment to project<br />Have collaborative group persist through implementation<br />Deliver frequent milestones<br />
  17. 17. Questions?<br />David Barber<br />E-mail:<br />Can find …<br /> Slides at<br /><br /> More about me on LinkedIn<br /><br />