Re-wiring the IT department: 6-month update on building trust

A little short of six months ago, we laid down an energy line (an idea we borrowed from the creative folks at Behance) to monitor the work we do in the IT department.

Here we are now:


The maintenance taks, in blue, haven’t moved much–that’s the nature of maintenance, I suppose. I’d like to see more creative tasks (in green) which are under-reported here, as are the fires (in pink) the team has put out since school start in September. Really, the problem is we feel disinclined to stop work and write out an index card partly because we’re busy, partly because we’re modest.

But it’s not a trivial exercise. We’ve made working transparently a core value in IT and that practice has helped earn the department considerable goodwill. When I arrived at Mulgrave last fall, the team had never in its history come together to talk about strategic planning, which is surprising given the central importance of IT in contemporary schools. There was just no way anyone here could see letting all the IT support leave campus at the same time. Yet a week ago I was able to ask the faculty and students for a half day to take the entire IT team off site for a much needed retreat.

We got away yesterday, even though the school had an important function that afternoon which normaly required IT to be on standby. The message from faculty and students: you leaving is an inconvenience and we understand your need to plan together to build what we need for the future. So, off you go.

In return, of course, we have to show we spent…I was going to say our time, but it was theirs we took..their time profitably. I think we did. We were able to clarify for the team the strategic plan of the school, translate that into goals for the department for the next three years and map out specific, critical objectives for the next six months. We recorded all of this on a 10m mural we’ve posted in the IT department and invited everyonbe to stop by and ask any questions they like. (I’ll share this in another post soon.)

–frrom a culture of “Yes, but…” to one of “Yes and…” in under six months. I like that. Thanks to everyone involved.


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