This is from a email I really wanted to send to a client but felt might be taking it a little too far:
As a final note that isn’t really here nor there, but it completely underscores a problem that I’ve recognized in this industry for years. IT departments, for whatever reason, are really driven by faculty concerns, which IMHO, are often misinformed. The issue is there seems to be this force that is often overly conservative and apprehensive about change. There is this constant push back against moving any new innovations out the door. Over time, years, eventually, students/faculty and others start complaining about the pace of innovation, and why hasn’t their system moved forward at a faster pace. I find it very ironic, because IMHO is appears to be the same people who created the snail pace in the first place. What’s even more ironic, is that the originally risk adverse culture ultimately, leads to a far more disruptive and risker process of switching systems. I don’t know if its a problem of leadership at various places within higher ed that created this problem, or that faculty just have too much power/influence, or maybe they are just old fogeys and talk about how they remember when bread was 25 cents a loaf all the time, and time will eventually fix this issue.It seems in the case that this same force is once again at play stalling a X.X.X upgrade that could happen sooner rather than later, and I think this unfortunate. What I really don’t understand is how real cloud providers like Canvas are breaking through this dynamic? Because there you don’t have any control over when and where the upgrades happen irrespective of whether there are cosmetic changes or not. How can they being doing so well, when the experience in our world is that most organizations behave pretty much like yours? It’s very confusing to me.Do faculty not use google, facebook, mobile apps, or any other SaaS cloud based services that can change under their feat at any moment, how do these faculty handle that? Do the see a new button or user experience in gmail, faint, have a heart attack, go on sabbatical for a week to recover? How does that work?
At the end of the day, I’ll assume this is all about managing client expectations, how you establish the engagement will work from the start. If you follow through with what you say and consistently re-message the engagement message, the path of trust becomes wider and things move along smoother. I still think there are unique political structures and people problems in higher education that make change difficult. There is an awful lot of consensus decision making and group think that ultimately slows things down and leads to poor overall outcomes.