Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Report Card for 2012

A year ago, I set out my resolutions for 2012. Here’s my report card.

What I said I would do: Write more. Use both blogging and twitter as a part of my overall leadership and communication strategy for the IT organization I lead at the University of Georgia.

What actually happened: My performance was inconsistent; sometimes I would write a new blog each week and tweet daily, but in some months – not much happened at all. Earlier in the year, I was asked to start contributing my blog The Accidental CIO as a part of EDUCAUSE Review Online, which is a great platform and opportunity to spread some of my ideas. Over the next year, there is an opportunity to contribute more. My grade: C+

What I said I would do: Reduce costs. Start my organization down the path to taking 5% out of our cost structure over the next 12 months, while increasing productivity so as to not reduce service quality.

What actually happened: Although we have not had the chance to actually tally up the score for this year, my sense is that we achieved at least 2/3 of this goal this year, particularly by eliminating or drastically reducing some maintenance costs. The problem – increases in other maintenance contracts and state budget cuts took up most of these savings, leaving less opportunity to invest these funds in new strategic endeavors. My grade: B+

What I said I would do: Design and develop a new HR model for positions, career ladders, and professional development and lay the groundwork for implementation of this plan in 2013.

What actually happened: Nothing. As we were proceeding to acquire some consulting assistance to launch this project, we were waved off by our internal HR office, who asked that we pause this project until they lay the groundwork to shift their system it to a broadband model. My hope is that we can pick up this work in 2013. My grade: Incomplete.

What I said I would do: Nurture and develop individual leaders and groups to support the new student system implementation at UGA, so they are prepared to lead our University into what will undoubtedly be a very challenging and demanding three years.

What actually happened: This is proceeding fairly well. Over the last month, along with colleagues overseeing the project, I have had the opportunity to sit down with key leaders and review the progress of the project. I remain very impressed with how the leadership at multiple levels are taking ownership over key issues and grappling with them fairly well. The biggest concern I have over the next year is the workload itself, and I will be investing my efforts at limiting scope of the project over the coming year, so that each individual working on the project has the best opportunity to be successful. My grade: A.

What I said I would do: When it comes to both our technological infrastructure and our internal processes and procedures, we are being held back by complexity and bureaucracy. Those reporting to me will be encouraged (and held accountable) to make significant gains in this area in 2012.

What actually happened: In many of our areas, particularly around enterprise architecture and system integration, we have made some very significant gains in this past year. We have implemented CAS for single-sign on, performed some very significant processing cleanup in the identity management area, network engineering is proceeding well, and in the next six months, we will begin investing in upgrading network switches in buildings across the University. Our Boyd data center is also looking pretty bare, as we have decommissioned racks and racks of equipment as technologies such as virtualization take hold. On the process and business side, there remains more do to – but I am very pleased with the work to revamp our inventory processes in order to be more timely and accurate. My grade: A.

What I said I would do: Lose that last 15 pounds I have been working on for the past three months.

What actually happened: It’s been a year of ups and downs, and it looks like I will end 2012 about 5lbs lighter than when I started the year. That sounds pretty good, until you consider that in the summer I was 10lbs lighter. Oh well. Both Gail and I have never been healthier and we are blessed to be able to live and enjoy very active lifestyles. My grade: B-.

What I said I would do: With my wife, find meaningful ways to become active in our new community.

What actually happened: Mission accomplished – Gail and I have become very active in Green Acres Baptist Church in Athens, and have taken advantage of the opportunity to make many new friends this past year. Later in the year, we were asked to serve as a deacon family and I was ordained in November. My grade: A+.