Monday, August 23, 2010

Scope Shrinkage

Monday morning, I put in the final batch add of our staff in our SkillPort LMS.

No groups.
No increase in reporting capabilities.
Very little that actually met the requirements we so painfully gathered.

At least it is progress.

It is also incredibly disappointing.

So how did we get here?


Throughout the entire project, the senior business analyst has been struggling to create an accurate organizational chart from our enterprise system.

We were running short on time. The senior business analyst was not only struggling to automate the process, she was also pulled into a politically sensitive project that wound up taking all of the time she needed to work with us.

I called the Senior HRIS administrator to figure out how to get the information I needed to create the organizational structure manually. Mostly - position names.

I had the rough structure from the error report from our last test. My planned process - pick through the error report, find the errored position code in our enterprise system, create the new batch add group file. Once I have enough - add the groups and affected users. Pull a new error report. Repeat until I have all the groups in and the error report comes up clean. Figured it would be about 16 hours of monotonous administrative and spreadsheet tasks.

Right before I asked the HRIS administrator how to find the information I needed, I found it. And an unpleasant surprise....

We had 2 position codes for the University President.

Essentially - our "accurate" enterprise system had 2 parallel organizational structures. One for the old president and one for the new one.

The HRIS administrator heard me groan on the other end of the line.

Wendy - if it makes you feel any better...there is another project.

Please don't say "I.... M....." (No, I will not name the project. Some of us have turned it into a "drinking game" and I don't want to ruin the fun.)

Nope - this is for salary planning and merit pay. We have to have an accurate organizational structure for this to work. It all has to be done by Open Enrollment.

So if I can convince the primary stakeholder that waiting for this project to end will help us in the long run, we'll be OK.

She's involved in this salary planning project.

I GUESS that's good news.....


Thankfully, that primary stakeholder is Sally. I am convinced she is a saint - because anyone else in her position would have completely flipped. Especially as she has spent the past few months watching this project slowly shrink into nothingness.

I laid out the issues.
- We don't have a way to get an accurate organizational structure out of our enterprise system.

- Our top level has 2 position codes - the base of our organizational structure. If the top level has 2 codes (one of which is deactivated), how can we expect our organizational structure to be correct?

- The other project she is on is going to correct this issue.

- That other project is due about the time we do the upgrade in October.

- We are getting more sandbox time around then. (Such is the joy of hosted solutions - our access to a testing environment is at the whim of the vendor).

- If we put the users in, at least we can do assignments on the university-level to individuals, including course registration. So we at least gain a small something.

We took a look at our current timeline for all of the pieces of our project.

I think we can do this Wendy.


I'm very fortunate to be working with an understanding stakeholder.
However, I can't help but feel I have "failed" in some way.
Such is the risk you take when retrofitting a solution around pre-existing resources.

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