CSS in Fiscal Year 2018

Every July begins a new fiscal year at the UW. The driver is a new budget set for the twelve months from July 1 to June 30. As you may have guessed, our budget this year is smaller than last year. Due to overall University budget cuts we lost some staff positions. Fortunately we were able to take those through current vacancies. CSS is not alone, some UW-IT Divisions took even larger cuts.

We also use the fiscal year to set goals for CSS and to prioritize efforts we will focus on in the upcoming year. These efforts are designed to move us forward by increasing maturity in our work processes as well as the services we provide to our customers. In preparation for this planning, the CSS leadership used the June Leap Forward Day to assess our current situation, strategize, and develop our plans for FY18. It was a day of discovery for all of us.

Based on your feedback, we identified the type of leadership you are expecting in CSS. We understand you want leadership that is communicative, transparent and takes ownership for their actions. You want managers who are considerate, listen to you, and trust your knowledge and capabilities. We want to meet your expectations and will do so via the following actions:

CSS leadership approach

  • Communicate via
    • All hands meetings
    • Blog posts
  • Transparent
    • Be honest
  • Take ownership
    • For moving CSS forward
    • By owning our learning moments as well as our successes

CSS Management approach

  • Being considerate in our words and actions
  • Listen to staff via
    • Meetings
    • Conversations with staff
  • Trust staff knowledge and capabilities by
    • Giving staff opportunities to learn
    • Providing professional development opportunities within your role
    • Helping you identify career paths through annual performance reviews and goal setting
    • Delegating new work to you for growth opportunities
    • Providing downtime in your work day for you to learn
  • Hiring the best, most experienced staff

CSS Staff approach

  • Being engaged in your job
    • Talking with your manager and understanding how your own job responsibilities are contributing to the overall effectiveness of CSS, using the SoaP as a conversation starter

In previous years we published a Roadmap of goals and initiatives (FY16 and FY17 are available on the CSS wiki), but this year are using a new approach. We selected a “Strategy on a Page” (SoaP) format because we liked both its brevity and clarity.  The intention of a SoaP is to identify Drivers requiring change, Outcomes we want to achieve that address the Drivers and the Initiatives needed to reach the Outcomes.

The FY18 SoaP DRAFT is available on the CSS wiki. In September your manager will meet with you to discuss the SoaP and collect your feedback. By early October we will publish a revised SoaP which we will use to guide our efforts through June 2018. We look forward to hearing your thoughts both on the content of the SoaP and this method versus the roadmaps from previous years.

A SoaP is considered a living document. On a quarterly basis, the CSS leadership team will modify the SoaP by removing completed items and replacing them with emerging ones.  As your managers meet with you to discuss the SoaP, they will also discuss your role and their expectations of you this year.

Thank you for all of your hard work and I look forward to another great year with all of you and what we’ll accomplish together!



CSS Service and Process Role Descriptions

Everyone has a role to play in how UW-IT services and ITSM processes are supported within CSS. Some staff incorporate multiple roles within their job responsibilities. It’s not uncommon in a meeting to hear, “with my service manager hat on”. In CSS, we’ve allocated staff resources to provide support for roles such as ITSM Process Owner & Manager, along with staff who are Process Team Members supporting multiple ITSM processes.

We’ve also allocated staff resources to provide support for roles such as Service Offering Owner & Manager for CSS owned services. All of these roles are critical to how CSS delivers quality customer support. Knowing the responsibilities and expectations of a given role helps to define success.

As part of our Continual Service Improvement efforts the following guidance has been posted on the CSS wiki under the Service Management heading. There are links to the CSS SO/SM Role Definitions and the CSS PO/PM Role Definitions. These guides were developed within CSS as a companion guide to the SMO Role Definitions which has precedence. The guides provide specific information on duties, expectations and How-To’s. Staff who have these role responsibilities are expected to utilize the guides in their ongoing service or process support. The intent is to help CSS staff be successful in their role as a SO/SM for a CSS service or as a PO/PM for a CSS owned ITSM process.  

These guides will likely evolve over time due to changes related to both service and process support. Please feel free to use the comment section for any feedback you may have.

If you’re interested, there is a similar companion guide which has been developed for ITI Service Offering Manager Responsibilities which is linked from the SMO Role Definitions page under the Service Offering Manager area.

CSS All Hands Meeting on May 3, 2017

Please note we’ve changed the name of our semi-annual meeting from CSS Town Hall to CSS All Hands Meeting. We are also expanding topics and presenters to incorporate more staff across all of CSS. These meetings are one way for CSS staff to assemble and hear details on what we have accomplished and what’s ahead. I appreciate some staff will not be able to attend in person. I have made accommodations to both live stream the event and capture the recording for review at a later date. Both the live stream and the recording will be available on the Panopto platform, a link to access both will be sent to everyone shortly before the event begins. Please work with your manager so you can attend as frequently as possible. A final agenda will be posted prior to the May 3d meeting. I look forward to seeing many of you at the CSS All Hands Meeting!


Request Prioritization Project

As many of you know CSS has been leading the effort to improve customer responsiveness across all of UW-IT through the Request Prioritization project currently underway. The stated goal is to identify and prioritize all incoming requests and respond to customers in no more than nine business hours 85% of the time. While this is largely a cultural change, there are specific deliverables that have been developed to assist us in hitting our goal.

Prioritization Guidance

Much like the Incident Matrix, the Request Prioritization Guide provides specific scenarios to assist service teams in identifying when and why priority may need to be raised on a specific record. The guide is available now, KB0024729.

Simplified Request Form

As I am sure you’ve noticed, the form for requests has already been simplified. The drop down menus for Urgency and Impact have been removed and replaced with a single Priority drop down which you set directly.


While not part of the Request Prioritization project, a suite of new dashboards are being developed as part of Cara’s ITSM Reporting Enhancements project. This project will provide Business Service Owners, Service Owners and Managers and eventually resource managers with the ability to monitor the health of their services to make sure we are hitting our goals.

These tools collectively will allow us to build maturity into our services by identifying areas of improvement and forecast resource allocations so we may quickly respond to our dynamic environment.

What does this mean for you?

It is incumbent upon everyone to work with their resource and service owner/manager to establish the criteria for setting priority for a specific service. Due to the nature of our business, it won’t be the same for every service. The guiding principal is “how quickly will the customer need to know about the status of their request?”. Additional guidance can be found in KB0024729.

While this change may seem overwhelming, it is surprisingly not. UW-IT is collectively meeting this target 86% on average across all business services, and that is great news but the work is not done. Our goal is for every business service to meet this target rather than an average of all services.

If you would like to discuss this change further or would like additional information, please let me know or send a question to help@uw.edu and a member of the request fulfillment team will respond in nine business hours or less.

CSS Metrics 2016

2016 was a busy year in CSS! One of the most important ways that CSS provides value to UW-IT, and ultimately to our customers, is by being the primary resolution point for many of the requests submitted to UW-IT. Below are a few numbers that illustrate the extent to which we fulfilled this vital role in 2016.

Volume of Requests

  • 202,815 UW Connect request records were closed by UW-IT in 2016; 107,186 (53%) of these records were closed in CSS Assignment Groups (CSS AGs).
  • 71,122 (54%) of the request records fulfilled by UW-IT were in CSS AGs; 131,751 of the total request records closed by UW-IT represent fulfilled requests (where close code is “complete”).

In 2016, one of CSS’s primary goals was to provide a positive and responsive customer experience. To help achieve this goal, CSS piloted the creation and implementation of standards for time to first response. During 2016, several CSS AGs (the number varied over the course of the year between 18-22) measured how quickly they responded to customers, with a goal of achieving a first response within 2 business days of request creation. CSS AGs achieved this standard for 90% of records. Based on the success of the CSS pilot, UW-IT is in the process of adopting new standards for first response across the organization. In the fourth quarter of 2016, we measured how many requests had a first response within 1-business day, in order to establish a baseline as new standards are implemented. CSS achieved this standard for 88% of our fulfilled requests.

First Response

CSS First Response in 2 Business Days (2016)

  • 90% of all Fulfilled Requests in CSS AGs (18-22 AGs tracked) achieved this standard

UW-IT First Response in 1 Business Day (Q4 of 2016)

  • 85% of Fulfilled Requests across UW-IT achieved this standard
  • 88% of Fulfilled Requests in CSS AGs (all 34 AGs) achieved this standard

In 2017, UW-IT will be adopting priority-based standards for time to first response. Based on the work we have already done in CSS, I am confident we will continue to be exemplary leaders in this effort to provide a quality customer experience.

Note: CSS AGs refer to 34 assignment groups, as identified by CSS managers, where the majority of the records are regularly handled by staff in CSS. UW-IT refers to all records within the organizational group “UW-IT” in UW Connect, CSS AGs are a part of the UW-IT organizational group. The data presented above, refer to requests that enter the system as simple requests; they do not include structured requests.

Caring for our staff

Like many of us, I grew up in a family who gave nicknames to all of the children. Mine surprisingly, was given to me by my younger sister who found it difficult to pronounce Karalee, as she was just learning to speak. So, she shortened it to Kare and my family has called me that since. Along with endearment of course, nicknames can come with a lot of kidding, especially once your friends hear it. So everyone teased me, saying “Kare cares”…and you know what? They were right! I went on to major in Sociology with a focus on Social Change, as I knew my passion was working with groups of people, helping them realize their potential, and subsequently advancing society.

The foundation established in my youth continues to this day. I care deeply about the people in my life and those needing advocacy. In particular, I care about helping individuals realize their dreams. As such, caring about the staff in CSS is one of the most enjoyable elements of my job. I’ve assembled a leadership team who shares my values and collectively, we are actively pursuing several efforts. Today’s blog focuses on these efforts.

Hiring the right staff

CSS managers are developing a set of Core Skills we feel every member of CSS should have. These build on the UW-IT Organizational Competencies. We developed interview questions to identify candidates strengths in these areas as well as professional development opportunities to help current staff strengthen these skills.

Onboarding staff to achieve early success

We created a program we call 3 in 30 to guide new employees through their first 30 working days (6 weeks) of employment in CSS. It is designed to immerse our newbies quickly into UW-IT’s culture and organizational structure while providing networking opportunities and actual projects to complete. Being able to connect with people who can be instrumental to your success as well as work that allows you to demonstrate your value are both critical to empowering and retaining new employees.

Challenging work

As a leadership team we are constantly looking for ways we can automate and/or eliminate repetitive work to give you more capacity to learn new skills and take on new challenges. New responsibilities, especially those that challenge you, contribute towards increasing your knowledge and expertise, and make us stronger and more valuable as an organization. Proactive lifelong learning helps keep your skills relevant as technologies change. Each of you also become more marketable should you look for advancement outside your current position.

Professional development

UW-IT allocates funding for employees to increase their knowledge and advance their skills. Staff are empowered to find learning opportunities that align with skills CSS needs and I encourage everyone to work with their management team to take advantage of this benefit. I strongly encourage you to be proactive in the planning of your skill acquistion and not wait for someone else to plan for you. While many people like to attend conferences out of town we realize just as many prefer to attend classes locally. The key is to take action and learn something new, bring your knowledge back to CSS and share with others.

Social time

It is important we take time to pause and socialize with one another. Our workloads are so heavy that months fly by and we don’t have time to stop and connect. UW-IT hosts a winter holiday party, a summer BBQ every year as well as golf and ski events. Less formal but of equal entertainment are the DIVE (“Drink In Various Establishments”) events. These social events provide opportunity to disconnect from the work, enjoy each other’s company, and connect on a personal level. CSS is hosting our winter holiday party on Dec. 21st, 11:30-1:30 in the visitors dining room. We’ll have great food, contests, prizes and an all around great time. You can sign up here:


Time off

In my opinion, one of the greatest perks of working for the UW is the generous leave we are granted. I believe that disconnecting from the daily grind recharges us, helps us become more focused in all aspects of our life, reduces stress, and improves quality of life. Personally, I always have an upcoming vacation on the books. So, I’m taking the week between Christmas and New Years off. No trip out of town, I’m just going to sit by the fire and read a couple of books, spend a few days snowshoeing in the Cascades, and maybe paint a room in my house. Most importantly, I’ll take time to review my 2017 calendar and plan my next vacation in April. And I’ll continue that pattern all year, taking a week or so off every 3 to 4 months.

I understand how easy it is to feel buried in my workload and taking time off will put me too far behind. When I catch myself feeling that way, I remind myself it’s likely the most important time to take a vacation. Time away could help you get things in perspective. When you return, you may feel recharged and realize some of that work causing you stress is much simpler than you thought, could be delegated to/shared with someone else… or maybe doesn’t really need to get done at all. Be open to the possibility that the fear of getting behind in your work could be far worse than any catch-up effort you’d actually need to do.

In closing, I want to thank all of you. Thank you for being here, for contributing your great ideas towards improving CSS, and working as hard as you do to help our customers. I wish all of you a very happy holiday season.


CSS Leadership Blog – November 2016

CSS Town Hall

The most recent CSS Town Hall took place on November 3, 2016, and over 40 staff were in attendance. If you missed the Town Hall, the presentation slides (and other materials) are available here.

This session focused on the Fiscal Year 2017 Roadmap for CSS and our progress to date. CSS areas of focus for FY17 are Customer Experience, Operational Excellence, ITSM Process Improvements, Staff Development, and Success Metrics. In her opening remarks, Karalee emphasized the importance of providing an exceptional experience to all of our customers–everyone in CSS contributes to how our customers think and feel about UW-IT and the support and services we provide. Customer experience goes beyond customer service, to look at the cumulative effect of all interactions with UW-IT over time. Improving the UW-IT customer’s experience must be treated as a team sport, involving the coordinated participation of cross-functional stakeholders across UW-IT Divisions.



A group of CSS staff traveled to Anaheim in late October for the annual EDUCAUSE conference. Karalee and the Business Intelligence and Analytics team (Cara, Jeff, and Shea) delivered a pre-conference seminar called “Understanding Your Customer’s Experience: Journey Mapping and Data Collection” to a packed and engaged room of higher education professionals. Attendees were led through a variety of hands-on activities intended to help an organization kickstart the process of assessing and improving their customer’s present-day experience. Cara also presented on a panel discussing how UW-IT uses the EDUCAUSE Core Data Service for Peer Benchmarking.

The group also had the opportunity to take in a variety of informative and thought-provoking sessions from noted thought leaders and higher education peers. Highlights included Susan Cain’s keynote talk “Quiet: How to Harness the Strengths of Introverts to Change How We Work, Lead, and Innovate” and Brown University’s presentation on communicating IT change from a customer-focused standpoint.


WD-40’s Learning Obsessed Culture

In any given industry, market leaders often find themselves the last to identify and seize opportunity as the industry begins to change. This is known as the “paradox of expertise;” as we get better at learning we transition from learners to knowers and our ability to adapt stagnates.

Garry Ridge, CEO of the WD-40 Company, identified this situation immediately when he began working for the company. While the brand itself was ubiquitous, it only had one product and its market was limited to the USA. Ridge changed the culture by asking a simple question: When’s the last time you did something for the first time?

Learning to be comfortable with the phrase “I don’t know” and understanding that learning moments are either positive or negative but never bad was the key to their success (stock has tripled since Ridge took over). Developing a culture where failure was safe, giving everyone permission and personal responsibility to seek information on their own, to discover and to create is what turned them around. While CSS is not in manufacturing, our world is changing and the rate of change is constantly on the rise. We must adapt by identifying and seizing new opportunities. We must know and be comfortable with the fact that tomorrow won’t be the same as today, and that is a good thing.

The full article is available here. We’d love to hear your feedback and insights. Feel free to leave a reply on the site.

CSS Leadership Blog – October 2016

CSS Roadmap

The CSS Roadmap for Fiscal Year 2017 is now posted to the wiki. As a division, our main focus continues to be improving the customer experience. In particular, we will be strong advocates across UW-IT to help staff at all levels gain greater awareness of the end-to-end customer experience and to better understand customer journeys through UW-IT. A better customer experience is also the end goal of our other areas of focus for Fiscal Year 2017: Operational Excellence, Process Development and Improvement, Staff Development and Success Metrics. Review the roadmap for details on projects and related efforts in each of these areas, as well as specific ways in which all CSS staff play a vital role in achieving our goals in each area.


Technology Service Center and User Consulting &Support Merger

As mentioned in Karalee’s email, CSS has kicked off a mini-reorg, merging the TSC and UC&S. There is considerable overlap in the support these teams provide for a wide range of services. We believe this realignment will provide considerable efficiencies as well as improve the overall customer experience. We all look forward to this new arrangement and ask everyone to please be patient with us as we work through the details.


CSS Town Hall moved to November

Due to unforeseen scheduling conflicts with UW-IT’s Town Hall, UW-IT Leap Forward Day efforts and various training programs we decided to give ourselves some breathing room and move the program to November. Expect updates on the FY16 roadmap and where we are headed for FY17, among other topics.


Leap Forward Day

Speaking of Leap Forward Day, many across UW-IT participated in a first of its kind program to develop an artifact known as a Strategy on a Page (SoaP). SoaPs support and document the business strategy for a Business Service. Karalee is the Business Service Owner for Customer Experience Management which was the strategy many of us from CSS worked to develop during this event. The initial strategy documents can be seen on the wiki sites:


Email Modernization – Exchange Online now widely available

All UW students, faculty and staff now have access to Exchange Online, Microsoft’s email and calendaring service, which is part of the Office 365 suite of tools.

To activate Exchange Online, users simply need to change their UW Email forwarding to “Forward to UW Office 365” on their Manage UW NetID Resources page at: https://uwnetid.washington.edu/manage/?forward

Note: This will result in all NEW mail going to/from Exchange Online but will not, in itself, move mail history from Deskmail or other systems.

UW Medicine users

UW Medicine users wanting to know if they can move to UW Exchange Online/Office 365 while still following UW Medicine guidelines should visit the following page:

Transferring stored mail from Deskmail or elsewhere

For information about how users can copy their UW Email to Exchange Online, see the IT Connect page “Manual migration to Exchange Online” at:

Individuals wanting assistance in transferring their stored mail can arrange to have their UW Email copied to Exchange Online for a flat $25 fee (charged to a UW Budget Number) by filling out the form at:

More information

Visit IT Connect for additional help and information about Office 365 and Exchange Online at


Enterprise Service Desk

The Enterprise Service Desk service (project name –  Service Desk as a Service) has been announced to campus IT Directors and Deans. Customers are already contacting the Service Center for more information. Right now we are monitoring demand and looking for an anchor customer. Production support for this service will likely begin late winter quarter.


CSS is planning for a new CSS Consulting Service in FY 17

Efforts are now underway to plan for a new CSS Consulting Service to be offered in FY17. The new service will provide a mechanism for CSS staff to structure our response to customer requests for assistance in many different circumstances. It is hoped this will provide a way to leverage our limited number of staff hours available for this kind of work yet continue to provide excellent customer support.  The service parameters can be found (here). More details will be made available soon.

Putting Customers First: Measuring Time to First Response in CSS

cssinfographicYou receive a phone call, or a REQ is assigned to you in UW Connect. At the other end of that request is a customer needing something from you to help them do their work and fulfill their mission at the UW. Consistently providing quick and accurate responses to every customer shows we respect their time and are a partner in their success. CSS implemented a two-business day target for time to first response. I want to take a moment to talk about why we set this target and how it helps us better serve our customers. Ultimately, the reason we strive to meet this standard is for our customers–because we value the customer experience.

One of the critical success factors UW-IT identified during the implementation of UW Connect was timely response to customers. The University-wide Transforming Administrative Programs (TAP) initiative has also set prompt communication as a customer service standard for all administrative units to meet (including UW-IT). In other words, both UW-IT and UW leadership clearly identified the ability to quickly respond to customers is vital to our success. By measuring time to first response, CSS is demonstrating our commitment to meeting that standard.

In your daily work, it is imperative you understand the ultimate goal of the two-business day response target–to serve the customer. Our target does not mean we have up to two business days to respond. Rather, as an organization, we manage our work and staff resources so we can meet our target over 90% of the time. For most records on most days, this target is reasonably achievable. The times when it is difficult indicate unusual circumstances that need attention–and our metrics help us identify and respond to those times and minimize their impact on customers. As we become more efficient and improve our operations, the target we aim for will shift. Indeed, for many customers the two business day time frame is too long to wait for what they need. Whenever possible, we should strive to help them sooner.

For most records we have done just that. Since implementing the two business day target, we have responded to over 50,000 records within CSS and have met our target 90% of the time. More importantly, 71% of customers have received a response within four business hours; 83% within a single business day. Going forward, your goal is to provide an initial response to a customer accurately and as quickly as possible. Your communication should provide information of substance, by letting them know how their record will be handled and what they can expect as we work towards resolution. Working together we will provide a positive and responsive experience for our customers.

While specific targets will change as we advance as an organization, the goal of serving the customer remains constant. It is what motivates all of us to excel in the work we do.


CSS Leadership Blog – August 2016

CSS Professional Development Plans

Each unit in CSS has created a professional development plan. The following is to share within the division what each units/group has for their professional development plan.

Business Intelligence & Analytics


  • Seek out opportunities that expand our knowledge in useful areas (analytics, ITIL, organizational change) and/or help us keep up to date on current trends in Higher education
  • It is also important to seek out opportunities to showcase the work we are doing in CSS, UW-IT

Communications Solutions & Relationship Management


  • Increase knowledge in Service Management, Business Relationship Management, and Customer Service
  • Continue to learn new protocols, programming, and design in networking and telephony technologies
  • Develop and apply critical thinking, analytical, and problem-solving skills in a complex technical environment


  • Continually improve the customer experience via thorough and meaningful communications
  • Develop holistic end-to-end business processes that reduce errors and delays, minimize handoffs, and increase efficiencies
  • Improve request fulfillment intake methods to collect information that is more useful

Computer Operations


  • Ability to perform work in a variety of I.T. disciplines
  • Apply an analytical approach in complex and dynamic settings in which the information required is not always immediately available or complete
  • Develop a constructive and critical attitude towards continual service improvement
  • Building a culture that includes the value and reward of professional development


  • Ability to “switch gears” from a customer centric interaction to a process and tool driven event monitoring and support
  • Continual improvement in all aspects of communications for both internal and external customers
  • Proficiency in executing ITIL processes, specifically incident and problem management and request fulfillment
  • Using OpEx as a feedback mechanism towards continual service improvement leveraging existing processes and tools
  • Participate in an environment of learning, teamwork, communication, and positive employee morale

Technology Service Center

The overarching goal for FY17 and likely future Professional Development Planning will be to focus on the maturation of our Subject Matter Experts (SME) in the Technology Service Center (TSC).

  • As we have reduced the total number of minds available in the TSC we are asking our Full Time Employees (FTE) to know more than they have had to in the past
  • The burden of knowledge is being carried by fewer people and as such, we need to become more efficient in how we manage our processes that leverage these various subjects; our SMEs make that possible
  • We have prioritized our training where we can maximize our efficiencies and where our need is greatest

User Consulting & Support

  • In order to better collaborate in efforts that reach across the entire unit, develop unit leadership and strategic thinking, by encouraging people in leadership positions to take training and expanding experiences in small groups, rather than solo
  • Maintain leadership in support of emerging technology by developing specific lacking technical skills, especially around new and emerging technology such as Windows 10


Improvements to the Knowledge Management Process

Throughout the 2016 fiscal year, the Knowledge Management (“KM”) process team focused on improving the Knowledge Base application in UW Connect – making it easier to use, and getting it to better facilitate our work in UW-IT. That work continues in the 2017 fiscal year, along with a number of other efforts aimed at showing how KM can help make our everyday work just a little bit easier.

With that, here’s a summary of the KM process team’s FY17 objectives:

Establish a Vision and Guiding Principles.

  • Define a vision statement to clearly articulate the outcome that all KM activities should aim for.
  • Define Guiding Principles to enable the vision statement.

Maintain what we have.

Define structure and operational guidelines to keep what’s already in place well-maintained and functional. Some of the ways we’ll accomplish that include:

  • Improve the KM Process Guide
  • Implement a web-based form for requesting a knowledge article from subject matter experts
  • Publish a Knowledge Base Best Practices guide

Begin to develop an understanding of the KM activities UW-IT performs outside of UW Connect.

Examine the necessity and roles of our other KM tools to help UW-IT strategically define its SKMS. How we’ll get there:

  • Start by examining and continuing to strengthen KM’s existing integrations with other Processes; look for additional integration opportunities.

Drive the establishment of robust self-service knowledge resources from customer needs and preferences.

How we’ll get there:

  • The “Customer Journey Discovery” project was approved by the PRB for FY17.

Contact the Knowledge Management process team with questions or comments via help@uw.edu.


Expanding ‘Types’ of Knowledge

The outcomes of the UW Connect Tuning Project identified a gap in our documented knowledge – we sometimes lack a reliable, easy-to-find source of experience-based guidance when making a decision. That experience-based guidance is typically known as a “Best Practice,” which wikipedia defines as:

A method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by other means or because it has become a standard way of doing things.

Best Practice articles, located in the Knowledge Base application in UW Connect, are intended to complement our documented FAQs; both are designed to support the Process Guide.

  • Process Guide – The design and workflow of the process in its ideal state
  • Best Practice – The “when and why” the work should be performed in a specific way
  • FAQ – Step by step instructions used to accomplish your task

The Service Management Change Advisory Board (CAB) has approved these definitions for more information about them, see KB0023878. To see these definitions in action, and as an example of a Best Practice guide, guidance on  creating knowledge articles is now available in KB0023886.

CSS Leadership Blog – July 2016

Good Customer Service Can Lead to Bad Customer Experience

Scenario:  A service planned for deprecation was not yet ready for customer communications. Documentation did not exist and no resources were available for the customer to find out more.

In an act of great customer service (and best intentions), we informed a customer of the intended change and advised they take action now to avoid a problem later. The customer misinterpreted great advice and having no resources to fall back on for additional clarification, publicly escalated the perceived problem through local channels which made their way back to UW-IT, via the President to Kelli. The result was several senior leaders  scrambling to resolve a problem that didn’t exist.

The lesson here isn’t straightforward and is difficult to apply universally, but extremely important; sometimes the best intentions have unforeseen consequences. In this scenario our natural tendency and desire to help, the thing that makes us great, got ahead of the official messaging and caused a problem. When we are communicating formally through UW Connect or on the phone, it is important to make sure you are talking to customers about what is available today and discuss service changes and roadmaps only after official messaging and documentation has been provided. In the ever changing environment of technology, it is imperative CSS staff exercise critical thinking skills, carefully analyze situations, and proceed with actions that will maintain or improve UW-IT’s brand identity and the customer’s experience.

COPS/TSC Joint Training

This past June the Technology Service Center (TSC) and Computer Operations (COPS) held their first formal joint training session for full time employees (FTE). As many of you know the TSC has been hosting training sessions for students quarterly since time immemorial. With the transition from a primarily student based Service Desk to an FTE based Service Desk complete, it was time to refocus our efforts. The session was broadcast live via Panopto so students and staff that remained to man the phones could participate virtually. A recording was also made for following up on select topics after the fact.

This session marks another milestone in further integrating the TSC and COPS into a 24x7x365 Enterprise Service Desk. Future sessions are scheduled for every two months and will be open to other members of CSS that care to participate. For more information or to provide future topics, please contact Nick Whelan or Darlene Lowe.

The Value of an AARF – Dawn Cullerton

I was recently invited to attend an AARF by Andy Ward. My first thought was, what is an AARF? The acronym for AARF means After Action Review Follow-up. I have heard the acronym on many occasions and thought that it did not affect me, so I really did not need to know anything about it. I was completely wrong! Attending the AARF was a such an informative valuable experience.

In an “After Action Review Follow-up,” a team of people get together and take a close look at a process or an incident that did not go as planned. In the AARF, they meticulously review what led up to the incident or process failure. They identify contributing problems to the issues and then provide solutions to improve the process or incident. There is so much value in having the AARF team, in part because you come away with best practices. It’s also an excellent opportunity to review all the issues, not just the obvious ones, and learn a process that you are unfamiliar with. This was a valuable and measurable way to learn a new process.

Exchange Online General Availability

Microsoft’s Exchange Online service will be available to all UW students, faculty and staff starting later this summer. Exchange Online integrates fully with Office 365; when you log into Exchange Online using the Outlook Web App, you can move easily between email, calendar, OneDrive (for Business), Word and Excel Online and other tools by clicking the “waffle” in the upper left corner. Once Exchange Online is generally available, all UW students, faculty and staff will be able to set Exchange Online as their primary email service simply by adjusting their UW Email Forwarding. This contrasts with the current model which requires a recognized local/departmental IT support team submit all requests for Exchange mailboxes, and provide initial support for use of Exchange by all the users of those mailboxes. The new model does not require a local/departmental support team be involved, though folks are still encouraged to consult with their local support team where such a team exists. We expect the CSS Service Center and User Consulting teams to see an increased number of questions about using UW Exchange Online and we hope to expand the number of related “KB” articles.

Reminder about changes in timesheet recording

Unit heads sent out information about changes in timesheet recording.  In brief, the “901” (indirect/overhead) allocation codes will no longer be available to most people in CSS. You’ll need to use specific project or service codes instead. If you have difficulty assigning time to a specific allowed area please ask for help from your manager or unit head.