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CIT Launches Project Management Office, Services Portal to Improve Access to Technology – The Oberlin Review

Last January, the Center for Information Technology opened the Project Management Office. The office will coordinate large-scale IT projects and handle details such as budgeting, planning and communications. The agency’s first project was the updated Services Portal, which launched the week of March 25. The new portal, accessible to students at Oberview, provides an updated interface for students to request services from CIT and the Office of the Dean of Students. IT Project Management Director Heather Spellman said the goal is to expand the portal to allow students to request services from other university offices as well.

Spellman said CIT has been trying to implement the Project Management Office over the past year. She said the Agency improved efficiency as it took over responsibility for project management from those working on the project.

“Project management principles are something we’ve used informally since we’ve been doing project work,” says Spellman. “But I think the complexity (and) volume of the IT projects we’re working on now require a more formal project management office and some people dedicated to project management.”

The Technology Project Size Guidelines available on CIT’s intranet website define a project as any action that requires more than 40 hours of work by CIT and may involve more than one campus office. Actions that require less work and involve only one campus office can be requested via the services portal. Projects must be requested using a separate form through which the application is reviewed by the Project Management Office and the CIT Chief Information Officer. For projects that require more than 1,200 hours, an additional distinction is made between a large project.

Spellman emphasized that facilitating communication was an important role for the Project Management Office. She said all projects should have a detailed communications plan in place that identifies the stakeholders – or students and teachers affected by the project – and how relevant details of the project can most effectively be communicated to them.

“Some projects – certain groups don’t really need to be aware of it until it’s almost time to do it,” she said. “Other stakeholders need to know this from the very beginning. Some people want to be communicated with in regular meetings, some through the Campus Digest, some through direct email communication.”

Spellman said the updated Services Portal was created to enable greater security and replace the outdated interface. Currently, the Office of the Dean of Students is the only campus office outside of CIT that can be accessed through the Services Portal. Students can apply for Fund Application 1835 via the portal. Spellman said Human Resources is the next office CIT hopes to add to the services portal.

“Our goal with the Services Portal is not just to introduce another tool, but to provide a comprehensive solution that addresses the fragmented nature of our current IT support system,” according to CIT’s intranet website. “This platform is about integration, automation and efficiency, making it easier for everyone to access the services they need in one place.”

On CIT’s intranet, those with an Oberlin login can monitor the progress of technology projects, including the Services Portal. Through the interface, students and teachers can see which projects CIT is working on, what stage these projects are at and what goals they want to achieve.