Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Administrative Computing Update

Yesterday Max (you remember Max?...Davis-Johnson?...Max From the Mountains?), well anyway Max had a meeting of about 20 people from around the University to give us the latest on the Regents Vanilla project (the project must be real, since if you Google "Regent's Vanilla" you'll find it). For those who weren't there, here's the rundown:

  • Max pointed us to the Tactical Plan for Administrative Technology to show us where he and the SIS replacement team will be communicating about the progress of the project.

  • He outlined the basic set of products we are currently planning to purchase from Oracle PeopleSoft as part of the Regent's Vanilla implementation.

  • Max also described the strategy for Project Organization and Staffing that we will be following, including the roles of the Executive and Functional Councils, the Project Management Team, the Implementation Team, the Core Teams, the Early Adopter team, the Service Team, and, my favorite, the SME's (Subject Matter Experts).

  • The Project Staffing Model gives the current thinking on how big the teams will be. For more detail, consult the Project Staffing Matrix, a downloadable Excel Spreadsheet that shows a projection of the time committments by month for each team member. The spreadsheet also contains names for some of the team members, some of which are confirmed, others of which express Max's unconfirmed desires. If you have updates to the spreadsheet, please contact Max by email and he will make the changes, since uploading Excel files to the wiki is a little cumbersome.

  • We discussed how far along in the University approval process Regent's Vanilla is. I said that we are still on the fence about formally briefing the Regents at the December meeting, since there are a lot of internal ASU ducks to get in a row first. Rich has been briefed though, and we are working to get the required documentation and budget in line. As much as I'd like to share the budget as a working document, the requirements of a negotiation with outside parties make us have to play that a little closer to the vest for now.

  • Mike Dickson, the self proclaimed resident skeptic, declined to bet me a case of Guiness that the project would not go off on schedule. I consider this a solid indicator that takeoff is imminent. :)

  • Max showed a project timeline too. It contains the major milestones and puts them against dates. Ambitious but doable is the verdict of reviewers so far. Are they just being kind one wonders?

  • Work is already underway.

    • We have a functional team evaluating the DARS decision, headed by Kristy Jacobs North. Essentially we are trying to decide whether to keep DARS as the degree audit system or convert to PeopleSoft's tool. Watch this space for further developments.

    • We are gearing up to begin defining ASU's Academic Structure. (Isn't the web great? You Google "PeopleSoft" "Academic Structure" and get back well developed hits like that?)

  • We are working with Oracle to arrange a series of demos of the PeopleSoft product for interested parties. A key component of the Regent's Vanilla strategy -- that will allow us to keep the cost and risk low, and complete the project quickly -- is to adopt the product largely unaltered. The demos give us a last chance to review the features and decide we'd rather keep playing with the hand we have. Max will be announcing the dates yet this week.

If there are other questions you have about the current status, please leave a comment or send an email to askUto.

As Johnny Cash would say, "I hear the train a comin'...its rolling round the bend".