Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Space, SSB and George

Early start yesterday for a UEB/HoDS meeting (I should include a glossary shouldn't I - University Executive Board, Heads of Departments). One of the main discussion items was Space. I have to resist the temptation to always add The Final Frontier.  Specifically teaching space. Have we got enough, do we need to use it better?
Lots of data provided, including the different patterns of teaching (Monday mornings and Friday afternoons aren't popular), and the number of rooms booked which aren't used.  Discussions centred around how we can change our systems to improve efficiency of use, and what cultures need to change. Lots of very constructive discussion ranging from central timetabling to extending the teaching day. Lots more discussion to come as we cannot keep building more space.

Also yesterday we had a Business Continuity Steering Group where we  had a demo of our new Incident Contacts system, and a debrief of the incident simulation of a couple of weeks ago. Some headlines coming out of it include the need for "sub plans" to have in case of an incident - how do we evacuate a building safely without using fire alarms for example, or how do we cancel and rearrange exams. 

Then yesterday afternoon was our Service Strategy Board. As usual, a full meeting. In fact all meetings yesterday were full, not one less than two hours. But, all useful and interesting. SSB had a presentation on our Incident Procedure which has been revamped. Some of the key points to come out of the discussion included:
  • Front line support are a vital part of the process. We need to integrate the helpdesk and service catalogue, and complete our  Service Level Agreements (SLA's).
  • We discussed target resolution time for typical low-medium-high level problems which will be in the SLAs
  • We're introducing more regular reporting on incidents and the following reviews
  • One of the major areas of discussion was around out of hours incidents which are often the hardest to manage. Our new  incident contact database will help but we do have an issue with customer expectations of  24/7 suppor.
  • Major incidents will continue to be  handled by a team, with an identified incident co-ordinator, working with the University incident management plan as appropriate. 
  • We also noted that the Service Manager for the area is key to strategic decisions and needs to be involved in all incident teams.
A good discussion and the revised plan will now be subject to further consultation before being finalised in the New Year when we'll start a period of training and awareness raising. 

Lots of other good stuff in the Service Managers highlight reports and project progress documents. I was pleased to note the continuing success of the creative media suite in the IC, and a recent session for 40 students in the production of creative media was fully booked within hours. You can read about in the IC blog here.
We looked at several new project proposals and approved one of them - which can be summarised as Getting out of uSpace  (uSpace is our collaboration software which we hope to be out of by end of next year).  Others will be subject to further discussion and prioritisation.

And the most exciting thing to happen yesterday - I adopted a new cat. George. He's huge and furry. Does he look like a maine coon to anyone?

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