Prioritizing system integration projects
Southern New Hampshire University shares tips for allocating resources
- SNHU has one team focused on platform and another on enablement
- C-suite team meets monthly to prioritize projects
- Ask “What’s next?”
Toby Carroll, Director Development and Integrations, Southern New Hampshire University
We use a process that splits our team into two groups. So we have a platform team, or a product team, that focuses mainly on developing the SNHU bus APIs and configurations.
Then, we have what's called an enablement team. That enablement team works more like a consultant group. They go out and work with the various stakeholders in the university, and they fill gaps. And they understand how to use the bus to the best visibility or if we have to build something or develop something special in order to make whatever software they're trying to present to us work.
How the priority is set was a big challenge for us, and this is one that we had to find a way around because like most places, priority is set by the person who yells the loudest.
We found a way around that by getting all of the things in our backlog in a list, and we meet with these C-level executives, the people who represent all of our different stakeholders, about seven or eight of those folks, and we do a phone call. And we start this halfway through every month, and they set the priority to tell the integration team what's the most important thing to do next.
We don't ask necessarily what's the order. We ask, “What's next?” And so we come up with a list of 25, 30, or 40 items. And we take that back to the team, and we say, OK, here's the priority. And we have a cutoff date.
Instead of us making that priority decision, we're pushing that priority decision back on the stakeholders and the representatives of those stakeholders. So our team doesn't have to make the priority decision. The folks who are driving the business, who understand what's most important, makes that decision.
And then we let them know what we have available for resources. So we can't do all the projects at once, as much as most folks would like us to. We have to say, we have this much capacity. We have 600 hours of development time a month. We'll use that any way you want us to, but you have to tell us what's most important for our business units.