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.

Resource Planning – Why it helps out

This blog post brought to you by Steven Kurle

On a quarterly basis, the Project Review Board (PRB) holds a two-hour project review meeting in which selected project managers deliver a 12-minute presentation about the current state of their project and the associated project deliverables. The audience for this presentation is the Strategic Leadership Team (SLT), which consists of all of our AVPs and Kelli Trosvig, our CIO.  At the most recent presentation on June 2nd, one of the risks that I highlighted for my project is the lack of formalized resource planning across our organization. This yielded a valuable dialogue on the subject and an opportunity to highlight what the key benefits and rationale are for doing resource planning in CSS. Currently, all of the UW-IT divisions have some sort of resource planning in place, but CSS and CI are particularly adept at making that information available to PMs and APMs. Why is this useful? Or, better asked maybe for you as the front-line employee, why do I have to fill out that big Excel spreadsheet every month?  A few good reasons come to mind with my direct experience in utilizing resource planning information, such as:

  1. Establishes a clear link of per hour time commitments from an FTE for a project that assists the PM in creating accurate budget projections.
  2. Develops a mechanism for the PM to negotiate with supervisors /managers and the employee doing the actual project work to have time set aside specifically for project work.
  3. Assists in establishing a hierarchy of prioritization of work, an example being the priority we set for projects themselves; a P1 project versus a P2 or P3 should win in the resource allocation wars.
  4. Helps keep deliverables on track and assists in completing work within the deadlines of the project. If a PM knows in advance of the due date for a deliverable that time has been allocated to complete the deliverable, it is easier than trying to go back and see if work has been completed past the due date when the next set of deliverables is coming up. In other words, it helps to avoid the domino effect of current work stacking up against your next set of project deliverables, therefore reducing or eliminating competing priorities and tasks.

CI has taken a few extra steps in this direction by having employees fill out an employee specific Google Doc that is then shared with the Project Management office and the Project Managers. This allows me, as an APM, to go in and make sure that employees are allocating time towards the project as expected in the Project Charter. It also helps to create a direct path of resource allocation discussion for the Project Manager with the employee and the Resource Manager (Supervisor). I can refer directly to the time that an FTE is entering on the resource sheet and we can get these estimates a month in advance, allowing us to get a reality check of how much “actual” time we can expect an FTE to work on our projects. As we enhance our resource allocation efforts as an organization, we will get better at time management, budgeting for projects, and create a clearer picture of where we are devoting our time and efforts. In talking with Maureen Noonan, a fairly new resource manager in CI, on leap forward day, she had some thoughts on why resource allocation is important:

  1. Helps employees make thoughtful commitments about all of the work they are planning for in the upcoming month.
  2. Enables managers and employees to quickly identify issues with bandwidth problems and workload balancing.
  3. Supports the negotiation process that I keep mentioning: if an FTE has two competing projects then it can form better discussions around how to allocate time to those competing projects.
  4. Gives UW-IT a snapshot of what types of projects and work we are doing and if we are concentrating our efforts on the “right” types of projects.

There’s still some work to do in the area of resource planning as we mature as an organization. For example, we need to start becoming more proficient at comparing our actual time spent on work versus our estimates. Additionally, we need to increase our engagement in standardizing resource allocation throughout UW-IT. Also, we need to begin to explore the idea of pre-project resource planning to ensure that the projects we are approving can even have the resources allocated to complete them. It’s not helpful for any project manager or employee to be part of a project that they have no available resource time to complete.  UW-IT and CSS and CI, in particular, have gotten a great head start on resource management. The value of you, the employee, filling out your monthly resource planning sheet is meaningful to our division. Thank you for your help as we move forward with this process.


CSS Leadership Blog – June 2016

HRP Integrated Service Center

Sometimes it feels the only constant we experience is change. The HRP Integrated Service Center is not going to land in CSS. Instead it will be housed (temporarily) in UW-IT Information Management. CSS staff will continue to play a key role in planning and designing the ISC and providing ongoing support for those HRP staff who will be licensed users in UW Connect. I appreciate all the effort CSS staff have put into this project over the last several months. While most of you can take this project off your radar, a few key people will continue contributing effort.

CSS Staff Taking on New Work

On occasion, CSS staff are asked by others within UW-IT to take on a new role or responsibility. Some examples of this could include a Process Owner asking a CSS staff member to be their Process Manager, or a Service Manager asking a CSS team to provide a deeper level of support for their service. In the majority of cases, these sort of requests represent valuable growth opportunities for CSS staff. It’s no secret, though, that taking on new work has the ripple effect of taking time away from your current responsibilities. Balance is key – as staff members, we need to be able to pursue these opportunities to expand our skill sets while simultaneously “keeping the trains running” in CSS.

To help maintain that balance, it’s important we take a consistent approach to evaluating requests for CSS staff members to accept additional work. CSS leadership is developing an acceptance criteria for CSS staff accepting new work. More details are forthcoming.

Machine Learning

The last week of May marked the kick-off for Project 2 of the Service Desk as a Service Program: Machine Learning. The effort is being lead by Steven Kurle as the Project Manager with Eric Kool-Brown, Mike Houlihan and Damien Koemans as the project leadership team.

The goal of this effort is to supplement the work of our routers by using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to route records to their appropriate fulfillment teams. Leveraging the Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Studio, the tool will “learn” where records go by matching previous patterns of manual routing and learning from its own mistakes via use of the UW Connect “Re-Route” button. Ultimately, AI may replace all manual routing. Until then, routers will train the AI by manually routing the mistakes. The project targets 80% of all records being routed by the AI as a realistic goal. The initial deployment should roll out as early as January 2017.

Knowledge 16

Three members of CSS attended the Knowledge 16 conference in Las Vegas, NV. There were opportunities to learn more about the platform from vendors and best practices established by peers and private industry. Daily lab sessions provided hands on training for every aspect of the tool. Another session focused on bringing non-IT teams into ServiceNow such as Physical Plant and Facilities Services and the challenges they faced in doing so. Almost every session discussed the need for strong leadership and good communication regardless of where the team was in the adoption cycle. The UWIT team that attended (Damien K., Cara G., David L., Mary M., Leetza P. and Joby W.) had the opportunity to meet and talk with other higher ed institutions using the tool and all shared anecdotes of their own experiences migrating to the platform both good and bad. The team learned a lot about metrics, reporting and the development roadmap. Expect a lot more emphasis on mobile technologies. If you’d like more information, please feel free to follow up with any of the attendees.

Professional Development planning

Planning for FY17 professional development and training is now underway. With their manager, staff should explore career building opportunities that also enhance and diversify the CSS skills set. Project management skills are always needed as are skills focusing on data analytics, technical writing, process development and improvement, agile and lean practices, critical thinking and an innovative mindset to help CSS stay ahead of our ever changing landscape. If you are interested in learning these skills on the job, let your manager know. It can be a great introduction to new concepts or to try a skill out without committing your career to it.  

Please work with your manager now to set you professional development goals for  Fiscal Year 17 (July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017).

Updated Rate Changes in Service Catalog

Preliminary rates have been posted by B&F to the Self-Sustaining Services and Rates page. Please review the rate card for rate changes affecting the services you support. As mentioned, these are preliminary rates, final rates will be approved later this month. In addition, all Service Catalog pages were reviewed and preliminary rates posted. If you notice a page hasn’t been updated, please let the Service Catalog Management team know by emailing help@uw.edu.


I Lost a Good Person

This man

I was 11 when he came into our lives. This man who started dating my mother and I didn’t know what to make of him. He could quake like a duck which always made me giggle. He turned everything into a pun which made the adults laugh. It would be years before I’d understand many of his puns, but they would continue relentlessly for as long as I knew him.


He married my mother a few years later. We’d been seven years without a father in the home and I had little understanding what his presence would mean. I wouldn’t call us a ragtag bunch of kids but we hadn’t seen much discipline through several formative years. His discipline didn’t come with a beating, which quite frankly was often wished for. No, his discipline came in the form of questions:

  • Why did you _____?
  • What were your intentions?
  • Did you get the outcome you desired?
  • What better decision could you have made?
  • What will you do next time?

This last question was the sucker punch. It meant you were committing to not making this, now rather obvious mistake again and instead committing yourself to a better decision next time. You see, a wooden spoon to the rump just leads to a few moments of pain and then it’s over. This line of questioning leads to improvement along with typically a couple weeks of solitude to contemplate the new improved me. These conversations with him always ended with the same statement: “You’re a good kid”.

As the years went by he taught me to drive, even when I drove his car into his boat. He walked me down the aisle at my wedding, he paced the floor in the hospital waiting room and held my babies’ minutes after they were born. My children are gown now and I’m wondering if I was half the parent as my step-dad. In many ways not but if I held true to even one piece of his parenting I would be better than most parents I know.

This man who dropped out of school in the 8th grade so he could work and support his grandmother and elderly aunt. All because his mother died in childbirth and his father abandoned him. He and his first wife raised three children along with about 35 foster kids, then he married my mother and raised 5 more. He would ensure all 8 of his children graduated college.

Sunday night my stepdad passed away. Old age finally caught up with him mere days before his 98th birthday. His final words to me were “You’re a good kid”. Any truth to those words is tied to his influence.