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ADVANCING RESEARCH COMPUTING ON CAMPUSES: BEST PRACTICES WORKSHOP - Facilitation: Best Practices on the Front-lines with Researchers - Researcher Engagement

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ADVANCING RESEARCH COMPUTING ON CAMPUSES: BEST PRACTICES WORKSHOP - Facilitation: Best Practices on the Front-lines with Researchers - Researcher Engagement

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This workshop will discuss what it means to be a facilitator; best methods for outreach, engaging, and assisting researchers; and practices for effective education and training. It is intended for individuals considering facilitation as a career, those new at facilitation, and experienced professionals.

This workshop will discuss what it means to be a facilitator; best methods for outreach, engaging, and assisting researchers; and practices for effective education and training. It is intended for individuals considering facilitation as a career, those new at facilitation, and experienced professionals.

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ADVANCING RESEARCH COMPUTING ON CAMPUSES: BEST PRACTICES WORKSHOP - Facilitation: Best Practices on the Front-lines with Researchers - Researcher Engagement

  1. 1. Researcher Engagement Sean Cleveland (seanbc@hawaii.edu) ARCC 2016 March 22, 2016 Champaign-Urbana, IL
  2. 2. Topics Covered Engagements & Activities Engagement Meetings ACI Plans Tools for Managing Engagements
  3. 3. Engagement Engage verb 1. occupy, attract, or involve (someone's interest or attention). 2. participate or become involved in. One of the main duties of a Facilitator is meeting with researchers in order to better understand their ACI needs and to help them select the appropriate resources and approaches
  4. 4. Engagement This meeting is your opportunity to build a trusting, two-way communication relationship with researchers through interpersonal connections Put a face and personality behind the resources
  5. 5. Engagement Activities • Implementing one or more ACI resources for a project • Attending initial and on-going meetings to discuss a researcher's projects, goals and roadmap • Collaborating with a researcher on a portion of their project related to ACI, to enable their use of a resource near-term • Transferring knowledge that leads to a researcher’s effective utilization of resources • Developing long term plans as part of a larger ACI plan, • Consulting with a researcher on aspects of a project for which the Facilitator has domain expertise
  6. 6. Engagement Differs From Assistance As a rule, tasks done on behalf of a researcher without their direct involvement would not be considered engagement.
  7. 7. ACI-REF Engagements >1250 Engagement consultations in the last year
  8. 8. Finding Engagements • Requests for access to ACI resources • Training workshop follow-ups • New faculty on-boarding sessions • From an issue related to use of a ACI resource • Referrals from others IT (personnel, departments, etc) • Networking at events
  9. 9. Engagement Meetings - Prep: Research Review of any existing ACI plans and previous issues/support tickets if available Review of the lab website and recent publications Background review on the current technologies in their field, and what local resources are already provided for such research.
  10. 10. Engagement Meetings - Prep: Questions What are your current research projects? a. What are the timelines of the projects? What hardware resources are you currently using for computation? a. Do these meet your computational needs? b. Are there things you cannot do with your current resource that you would like to? (E.g., can you evaluate all the data you want to at the scale you want?) a. Are you interested in using other resources? (E.g., our local cluster or national resources.) What software programs, packages, etc. are you using for your research? a. Are there existing issues/limitations with the current software? b. Is there software you would like to use? Is there a reason you are not currently using it?
  11. 11. Engagement Meetings - Prep: Questions What resource are you using for storage? a. How much storage are you using? b. How much storage will you need? Are there any roadblocks to the use of computation resources in your current research? a. Network issues? b. Knowledge/expertise? c. Hardware? Where do you see your research going in the future?
  12. 12. Engagement Meetings - Prep: Resources • List of local ACI resources available for researchers to use • External ACI resources that exist outside of the group to which the Facilitator • List of contact information of personnel for specific resources or services
  13. 13. Engagement Meetings - Conducting 1. Be interested and positive 2. Take notes 3. Actively listen 4. Identify roadblocks 5. Describe the resources 6. Make a plan 7. Engage others 8. Explain technical jargon 9. Research first, ACI second
  14. 14. Engagement Meetings - Concluding & Follow-up Review the actionable items Set expectations on the items to be done by each party For example: “I will email or call by the end of next week.” “The system administrator is going to setup an account on the cluster by Thursday and will email you the account login information.” “I’ll send you an email by the end of the day summarizing everything we’ve discussed and links to the web pages we went over today so you can get started as soon as you’re ready.”
  15. 15. ACI Plans An ACI plan provides a framework to incorporate ACI resources into a researcher's workflow. It essentially is a project management document for you and the researchers.
  16. 16. ACI Plan - Should Do The Following: ● Capture the requirements for a researcher’s utilization of ACI resources ● Organize the approach the ACI team and researcher will cooperate on ● Define the actionable tasks for both the ACI team and the researcher ● Document the current state of an ongoing engagement ● Provide historical documentation of progress ● Capture a timeline for major milestones These plans should be personalized to the researcher's goals, timeline, background and not a one-size-fits all
  17. 17. ACI Plan - Areas Can be Formal and Informal but should cover > 1 of 4 major areas: 1.Access to ACI resources 2. Technical Roadblocks 3. Education 4. Expertise Partnering
  18. 18. ACI Plan: Formal Organization Documentation Docs/Spreadsheets Project Management Tool Ticket System Communication Email Follow-up Meeting
  19. 19. ACI Plan: Informal Organization For the more straightforward engagement - simple is … simple. Email Help Tickets
  20. 20. Tracking Engagements Why bother? • Provenance • Roadmaps & Progress • Scaling • Distribution of work • Trend mapping
  21. 21. Attributes A Tracking Workflow Should Support • Organization – materials, notes, progress, email/communications • Centralized – one location for everything - ideally • Access – group shared access, role based? complies with institution policies • Search – full-text across all content, tags can be helpful • Reminders – support future tickets or reminders to follow-up • Works for your team – fits into existing workflows and preferences
  22. 22. Tools for Tracking Engagements and ACI Plans Email Ticketing Systems Spreadsheets Project Management Tools (Hawaii Redmine, Utah JIRA & Basecamp) In house solutions or custom (Harvard & Wisconsin in-house)(Utah Redcap)
  23. 23. Testimonials Ahhhh ! You have made this resource so very useful that it is now hard to have it down for 10 days ! That's a testament to your success, All the best Erica ------------------------------------- Hi Sean, I just wanted to drop you a quick note that we have been extremely happy with the node and the progress thus far. I was speaking to my post-doc Eric Crandall this morning and he wanted to pass along what a pleasure it has been to work with you on our transition to the node, and how well it is performing for us. Eric has been working with a couple different campuses in the ****** system to date, and said that working with you has been the easiest and most helpful experience he has ever had with a compute cluster to date. Thanks so much for all you do to assist with our work! Aloha, Rob
  24. 24. Questions - http://aciref.org - http://aci-ref.github.io/facilitation_best_practices/

Editor's Notes

  • As a rule, tasks done on behalf of a researcher without their direct involvement would not be considered engagement.
  • By the end of the meeting the Facilitator should have good comprehension of the researcher’s work and goals and devise some form of an ACI plan, whether it is formal or informal. Prior to concluding this or any meeting, it is important to review the actionable items which, in this case, are within the ACI plan that the meeting has produced. A review will focus everyone on the tasks ahead and set expectations on the items to be done by each party. The practice of reviewing is key, as individuals may otherwise leave a meeting with widely varying ideas and expectations about future outcomes. Furthermore, we recommend a pattern of discussing the tasks and a timeline. For example:

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