Categories > Speaking & Presentations

2017 MISA Conference

Photo credit: Eric Chu via Flickr CC

Join Tony Schiebel and Dave McGarva at the 2017 MISA Prairies Conference in beautiful Kananaskis, Alberta from March 20th – March 23!

“The importance of innovation for municipalities has never been greater. Yet, in many jurisdictions, innovation is not systematically understood, supported or managed. As municipal managers, at all levels, work to address complex, multi-faceted issues and challenges, the capacity to design and manage innovation is increasingly seen as a core competency.”

 

 

MISA BC Learning – New Culture Needed to Deliver Value on Projects

One of the great things about speaking at a conference is the ability to attend the other sessions and use those speakers’ messages to reflect on your own thoughts. Recently, I had the opportunity to present the model that we developed for municipal collaboration at the Municipal Information Systems Association of British Columbia’s (MISA BC) annual Fall Conference in North Vancouver. As usual at these events, I had a great time (Dr. Strangelove played at the banquet. Awesome cover band! They can play anything and do it very well.) and I met some great people. However, from the whole event, I keep thinking about one slide from one keynote presentation.

The Inspiration

It came in a keynote presentation by David Eaves on September 16th, 2015. It struck me so hard because it encapsulates all that has always bugged me about traditional project management. I took a picture because I didn’t want to forget it. (Not sure if this is stealing? VSSorry if it is. All credit to Mr. Eaves!)

We have all been told that to run a good project you need a plan – defined start and finish, you need to spend the time up front – document those specs and for a project to be successful you need the 3 “on’s” – on time, on budget, on spec. I suspect that if you are building a house or a pipeline that makes good sense. We want predictability. We are bound by our reductionist logic that if I understand the components of a problem, the solution is predictable. If I don’t see the solution, I haven’t made the analysis granular enough. But in the world of public policy, and potentially application design, we may be missing the point.

I want to be clear. I am not suggesting that we don’t need to plan. A large part of my career has been developing strategic plans, business plans, project plans, plans to plan, but this is leading me to think that, while important, this is only part of it. In a complex space, solving complex problems we need to change our expectations and our thinking – problem solving by experiment.

The ‘Ah-ha’ Moment

Planning should be about setting direction and defining a description of success. And it should evolve through the course of a project so that we are able to learn, debate and adjust. Who should be learning, debating and adjusting? Obviously, the subject matter experts and technical experts that are delivering the project should be involved but what about the users? In a public policy context, the users are our citizens, our residents and they must be part of this experiment and the associated learning. Likewise for application users, we need more emphasis on design thinking, User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and reflection. learning

And above all, we need to stop binding the effectiveness of these projects with artificial or politically driven deadlines. Even when we meet these expectations, we need to be in it for continued development, constantly evaluating, learning and refining. Good project management principles still need to apply but let’s focus on phases using approaches like Stage Gating to manage risk and budget.

The Necessary Culture

So what are the cultural attributes that could pull this off? Obviously, inclusion. Get the users/stakeholders at the table and keep them there. Patience, senior managers have to look at workload and be realistic on what they can and cannot deliver. Courage, political leaders need to be in these initiatives for the long haul. It may be tough in a four year election cycle but that is the only way that we can change the mindset and meet these complex challenges.

Boy, that turned into a bit of a rant! Thanks David Eaves (@daeaves), I may have just learned something!

Free Web Clinics on IT Investment Decisions for Municipalities

Municipal Webinar(Source: Flickr)

Are you a municipal IT manager? Are your budget submissions done yet? Do you find it hard to evaluate, plan and budget for IT projects? Do you find it tricky to convince council that your IT strategy is the best approach moving forward? Well, we decided to launch a web series to help.

Our 4-part web series is full of information that will help you with IT planning, IT business cases and IT budgeting.

These web clinics provide practical tips and traps so that municipalities can get maximum value from their IT investments. Our web clinics are quick (20-30 min) and they are designed specifically for municipal IT managers in Alberta. The series includes:

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All four web clinics will be hosted by Tantus CEO Glenn De Roy. Hopefully, you will enjoy our web clinics as much as we think you will!

If you would like to register for one of our web clinics, please contact Dave at Dave.McGarva@tantus.com

RECAP: 2015 Corrections Technology Association (CTA) Conference

For the past 15 years, the Corrections Technology Association (CTA) has held annual conferences that bring together a network of professionals in the corrections industry from both the public and private sector. Aimed at taking the CTA and the corrections industry to new heights, this year’s conference was held in Daytona Beach, Florida and the theme was “All Systems Go,” with the main focus being new technology, innovation, and mobility.

Our Tantus team had a great time attending several presentations, keynotes, and TED talks. It was inspiring to see the innovative work that is being done by various correction agencies at the city, county, state, and federal levels. Check out #CTA2015 on Twitter for a roundup of conference presentations and activities captured by attendees.

In addition to attending various presentations and soaking in some Florida sunshine, our senior consultant Chris Young co-presented Alberta Corrections: Aligning Business with Technology with Lori Allen, Director of Alberta Justice and Solicitor General (Please see 2015 CTA countdown post for additional details). A huge thank you to Mike Bell of the Texas DOJ for the twitter shout out!

The presentation was very well attended and we were happy to see familiar faces in the audience and meet new ones. For those that were able to attend, we hope you enjoyed our presentation about business transformation, change management and training. Didn’t make it the live presentation? No problem – the presentation slide deck is coming soon!

If you have any questions about the presentation content or are interested in having us present to your team, please don’t hesitate to contact Chris Young at Chris.Young@tantus.com.

We look forward to seeing everyone at CTA 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona!

Countdown to the Corrections Technology Association Conference

Daytona Beach Welcome Sign

Photo Credit: Dennis Pires via Flickr CC

For the past 15 years, the Corrections Technology Association (CTA) has held annual conferences that bring together a network of professionals in the corrections industry from both the public and private sector. In order to share our knowledge and accomplishments while learning from our peers, we’re excited to be presenting at the upcoming 2015 CTA Conference taking place in Daytona Beach, Florida, on Monday, June 1, 2015.

Aimed at taking the CTA and the corrections industry to new heights, this year’s conference theme is “All Systems Go,” with the main focus being new technology, innovation, and mobility. In line with the theme, our senior business consultant, Chris Young, will be co-presenting Alberta’s Corrections: Aligning Business with Technology with Lori Allen, Director of Alberta Justice and Solicitor General. Conference attendees will have an opportunity to learn how Alberta Corrections has been able to take full advantage of their new Offender Management System (OMS) that was fully implemented in 2013. The execution of this system was highlighted in our 2013 CTA presentation, titled Implementing a Province-wide Offender Management System. This year’s presentation will showcase the transformation and change management efforts made pre and post go-live of the system. Our presentation will focus on how business transformation, change management, and training should be approached by the business in order to position the organization for successful adoption and ongoing benefits realization. Furthermore, learned lessons will provide valuable insight into key transformational areas that correctional organizations need to consider when implementing new technologies.

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Chris Young, Senior Consultant

Chris Young, Senior Consultant at Tantus Solutions
Chris Young, Senior Consultant at Tantus Solutions Group Inc.

With over 8 years of experience working on complex enterprise-scale projects in the public sector, Mr. Young is experienced in research, analysis, application design and implementation support, requirements gathering, business transformation, and quality assurance. Recently, Mr. Young provided business analysis and project support to the Alberta OMS project – a five-year, enterprise application and transformation project. He was a lead analyst for the project and worked closely with team members, vendors and clients at both the operational and senior management level. Chris was also responsible for the Alberta Correctional Services Division Business Transformation Project, which optimized the business usage of the offender management system.

In addition to Mr. Young and Ms. Allen, Tantus representatives also present at the conference include senior consultant, Jamie Reynar and CEO, Glenn De Roy. They will be available to discuss our experience and accomplishments, in addition to other activities we are currently undertaking in the corrections field.

Learn more about our work on the Corrections System Renewal Initiative here. If you have any questions about this presentation or you’re interested in learning more about our correction practices, please contact Chris Young at chris.young@tantus.com.

See you in Florida!

The Art of Collaboration

Did you miss our presentation on the regional collaboration initiative for shared technology service delivery at the 2015 MISA Prairies Chapter Conference yesterday? If so, don’t worry. We’ve brought it to you.

Is your municipality ready for a joint information technology project?

Dave McGarva, Managing Principal of Management Consulting at Tantus Solutions, co-presented The Art of Collaboration with Sabina Visser from the City of Lethbridge at the MISA Conference May 21, 2015 in Banff, AB.

The Art of Collaboration is a look at how Dave and Sabina worked together with the Prairies Chapter of MISA to help Alberta municipalities evaluate their readiness and potential for collaborating on joint information technology projects. Using the conference’s artistic theme, Dave and Sabina led the audience through their process of gathering data from the participating municipalities and building a relevant tool that would help these municipalities understand areas where they might be ready to undertake a collaborative project.

 

Want to learn more?

Do you have questions or would you like to learn more about our work with the Municipal Information Systems Association? Contact Dave at Dave.McGarva@tantus.com