Today, December 1st marks the pivotal time for CIO’s. It’s time to check performance on your current plan and make any mid-year adjustments. It is also a time for CIO’s to begin laying a foundation for your FY13 agenda. Higher education CIO’s and many corporate CIO’s know Christmas is the FY12 half way point with only a few weeks before FY13 planning begins.
Based on the calendar this year and the typical winter break schedule, it appears most CIO’s will have only 12 work days to get anything serious done before everyone disappears for the holidays. So I thought I thought a list of the CIO 12 Tasks Of Christmas would be a good blueprint for checking progress on FY12 obligations and preparing yourself for FY13.
- Top 5 User Pain Points: Review help desk performance reports and trend data. Select one of the Top 5 issues and form a 30 day SWAT team to attack the issue with a goal to eliminate the root cause or cutting call volume by at least 50%. Task your managers for action plans before Christmas on the remaining top 4 issues that will eliminate or reduce call volumes and give them a target goal and dates.
- Review FY12 Budgets: As a management team review financial reports for each cost center’s performance year to date (YTD) using actuals versus plan and any variance greater than 3%. The review should also include revised forecasts for projected year end and any proposed adjustments. Each cost center manager should lead the reporting for their budgets.
- Mid-Year Annual Report: Prepare an abbreviated annual report covering the first half of FY12. Focus on 2-3 bullets for status or results to bring things current since your latest annual report. Focus on financial reports, performance data for user facing services, and status of key initiatives. This needs to mimic the format of a concise annual report that focuses on what your users and non-IT customers care about. NOTE: if you are on a calendar year just wait and we will do an actual annual report complete with financial reports.
- PPM Performance Status: As a management team review the YTD project portfolio performance. Focus on big picture performance of the portfolio using actuals versus plan for starts, progress and completions based on your annual statement of work. Review forecast of planned work for starts and completions developing action plans for critical projects that might be in jeopardy or require change orders. Communicate findings and action plans with any interested persons.
- Strategic Plan: Review progress on institutional strategic plan commitments and the entire IT strategic plan or any sub-plans. Emphasize progress on goals and consider any adjustments that are needed.
- Staffing Review: Task your management team with creating a single forced ranking of the IT staff which must be a consensus. Then review the result with your team and their rationale for the rankings. More importantly, discuss the action plans for anyone ranked as not meeting expectations and the plans for recognition of these exceeding expectations. This is not a mid-year review of staff, it is a mid year review of your managers to ensure they are taking ownership of their team members success.
- All IT Meeting: Schedule and all IT department meeting. Focus on accomplishments and success. Speak to the role failure plays in innovation and learning. Share the highlights from your 12 Tasks of Christmas. And, give serious consideration to a new tradition of an ugly sweater contest. (Here’s me last year)
- Rounding: Rounding is a concept taken from healthcare where caregivers conduct regular ’rounds’ to check on patients health and comfort. Here you schedule 20-30 minute meetings with the leadership (your peers and one level up) to reconnect on your relationships and to be sure their aren’t any unresolved issues. Bring your mid-year performance status report to leave behind. This is a time for them to talk and you to listen. Have your managers do the same.
- Priorities: Refocus the top 3-4 priorities for the department and for you personally. Communicate them, reinforce them, track them.
- Learn One, Teach One: Set aside and plan a day, probably one of the in-service days before the Spring Term, for an IT in-service retreat. Every IT staff member must give a short lesson on an innovative use of technology. This should be lessons in how someone solved a problem using technology, not about the technology specifically. The benefits go beyond knowledge sharing and include IT staff experiencing the faculty perspective in a very small way.
- FY13 Planning: Finalize the FY13 planning process with your CFO and IT Governance Committee. Prepare communication materials for the budget planning process and FY13 project proposals and capital requests. Be sure your portfolio management systems is ready to receive new requests.
- Vendor Summit: Schedule a vendor summit which will bring together all of your IT vendors, the OEM’s and their VAR’s, into one room at one time. You are going to share with them the the big picture of what FY13 looks like but include specifics on the big rocks and little rocks you need help with. Challenge them to do more than they are today. To collaborate on busting one of your rocks or maybe just moving it out of the way. This is not a time to ask for free stuff or discounts, you are looking for who is really your partner on the big stuff. Partner with your CFO or President who might also deliver the kick-off message. Do this early enough so it can feed your FY13 planning.
That’s an ambitious agenda. But these activities will pay huge dividends for you in the near term and farther out. Your focus on the financial reports will be an important preparation for FY13 budget planning and the mid-year performance status report will be a great foundation for a full annual report later on.