An Expert Installation Team Tackles, Solves a Long-Standing Problem
A year ago campus computer users who requested connection to the campus network could expect to wait up to a year or longer for their service to be installed.
Today, the turn around for new requests is eight weeks or less and the target is to keep it under four weeks for normal requests.
This remarkable success was registered by manager Monica Mack and her Network Connection Services and Physical Media Installation teams.
Since the inception of the campus data network in 1984, its rate of growth has increased every year. From 1992 to the present the size of the network more than doubled.
This growth includes new buildings such as Soda Hall, the Haas School of Business, the Doe/Moffitt Library addition and Valley Life Sciences renovation.
The growth in network demand caused frustration and requests for special priority, which further aggravated the situation others.
After trying all the usual and some unusual approaches to improving this situation, Mack and her teams were asked to make a special one-time effort requiring long hours and creative strategies to eliminate the backlog of service requests.
Here's how they did it:
Those who had service requests in the queue as of Aug. 15, 1994, were asked to be patient while the two teams organized the entire list of requests into six geographic areas.
Each campus area was to include roughly equal numbers of requested network connections. A work group leader was assigned to each area to develop the best strategy for handling its particular set of requests.
In some cases it was best to assign additional staff to perform the installation "in house." In other cases trained temporary personnel were brought in to augment the staff. In a few cases a single contract was let to perform the installation in all locations within an area.
Each case was handled differently both to expedite the work and to gain experience with alternative strategies for dealing with such large numbers of requests in a short time.
The target for completion was Dec. 31, 1994. As it happened, the backlog was completed by the end of January 1995.
During the six months of this project, 376 applications for network service were completed representing 3,383 connections, including 325 "moves." This pace was close to twice the normal workload.
Lessons learned from this project have helped staffs of Network Connection Services and Physical Media Installation keep pace with the normal flow of new service requests.
The staff of Network Connection Services who worked on the backlog elimination project are Terry Clark, John Crowley, Flemming Larsen, Eric Orrett and David Pardini. The staff of Physical Media Installation are Arno Kolba, Al Aponte, Kevin Carroll Ricky Fried, and Mike Mazaika.