Area 51 notes, June 20, 2013

Present:  Mike Roy, Jim Stuart, Terry Simpkins, Chris Norris, Mary Backus, Carol Peddie, David Ludwig, Rebekah Irwin (via Skype) and Doreen Bernier.
Guests: Joe Durante, Joe Antonioli and Pij Slater joined the meeting to discuss the Communications Task Force Proposal.

The budget office approved an increase to the LIS operating budget is $400K for FY14.  This was less than our requested increase of ca. $615K, so we will need to pare back.

  • We will likely make reductions in lines for consulting fees, library resources, and some of the proposed new projects;
  • We will also investigate canceling certain service contracts we no longer need, but this may not be possible;
  • We are maintaining (actually, increasing slightly) our professional development line as this was heavily used in FY13 and remains a priority for LIS;
  •  Carol has made some preliminary adjustments for the directors to review and adjust as needed.

The Communications Task Force joined the meeting to discuss their recommendations.  Last year the task force distributed a survey to staff to identify concerns about how we  communicate internally.  The survey identified three themes:

  • too many tools and methods of communications/too much information
  • complexity of the organization
  • a significant number of respondents did not think there was a “communications problem” within LIS (this is good!)

The TF will present its recommendations in more detail for staff commenting at an upcoming all-LIS meeting, but to quickly recap:

  • they recommend a separate staff-only blog for required posting of agendas & notes from selected meetings of widespread or general interest (e.g. directors’ notes, managers meetings, etc.);
  • the current LIS blog should be re-oriented specifically for the broader Middlebury community.  Items may be cross-posted between internal and public blogs, as appropriate;
  • staff will be consulted about the TF proposals in general.  We will need to what meetings of general interest would be useful to include in the private blog, decide whether or not other topics that may or may not be strictly work-related should be allowed, etc.  The idea is that the blog should be useful to staff!
  • we should re-evaluate and revisit how these recommendations are faring in 6 months;
  • it may be useful to appoint an informal moderator to review the staff-only blog, answer questions, etc., at least initially.

The directors agreed with the TF request to present and discuss the recommendations at July’s all-staff meeting.

Chris presented an overview of Information Security Auditing SOPs, which involves automated pattern-matching to detect sensitive information inappropriately posted to, for example, middfiles/org.  The automated tool is not used on personal home directories or personal workstations unless requested.  Ian Burke is creating a document with detailed guidelines and policies.  When complete, he and/or Chris will present to the directors for further discussion.

The directors briefly discussed how LIS should prepare and train for emergency situations.  The US Dept. of Homeland Security has some training materials available which are useful and important but not for the faint-of-heart.  This discussion will be continued.

Jim lead the discussion regarding the current Change Management Policy and asked if standards should be established for minor vs major changes.  He also suggested we form a cross-functional team or other type of “change management board” to assist sharing change information across work groups and creating sign-off procedures.  This team would only be involved in major changes (e.g., new middfiles). We also discussed change management in the context of new services, not just upgrades or changes to existing services.  It was noted that the current form accommodates existing systems but not new systems.

Mike asked the directors to discuss the usefulness of this idea with their managers and workgroups and report back for further discussion.  Terry suggested that any discussion about forming a new team should be included in a holistic re-evaluation of the current teams, which is part of the directors goals for the year and will be reviewed at their next retreat.

Agenda for June AD Retreat

  • restructuring
  • goals
  • cloud strategy plan
  • teams

The June 27th AD meeting has been canceled.

Agenda items (so far) for the next AD meeting
Information Security Auditing SOPs (if document is ready)

Thanks for reading,

Terry & Doreen

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