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Growing and changing

I have reorganised Development Services for the new academic year.  Instead of two large teams, one for software development and one for software configuration, we now have five software teams aligned with the main administrative units of the University.  We have also taken on new staff: six new people joined Development Services this month and we have three more on the way.

This is not change for the sake of it, although I do believe in moving people around occasionally.  For one thing, the old structure was becoming too unwieldy, particularly in the student & academic area where we had one dedicated sub-team sharing a manager with the more general configuration team.  To grow the section, we needed more teams and more team leaders.

Another reason for change was to create teams that work closely with particular partners.  The idea is to simplify the scheduling of projects throughout the year, with the team leader and programme leader working together to schedule a steady stream of work.  Also, the developers in each team will build a deeper understanding of their area, which will enable them to build better systems.

I also aim to develop the leadership skills of my more senior staff.  This is perhaps most obvious to outsiders in the appointment of three new team leaders but I also plan to encourage other staff to take leadership roles by establishing technology forums.  These forums will share knowledge of particular development technologies, tools or methods, working across all the development teams and with our colleagues in production management.    To help me further, I have also formally appointed two deputy heads of section.

This reorganisation has been a lot of effort and it is to the staff's credit that they have handled it with no disruption to our ongoing project work.  I really expect this to improve the way we work and I will look to see how our partners react to it.

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