Project Updates

Culture Up-Close and the ABCs of ICT

One of the ABCs of ICT cards used to discuss culture and how changes can be made.

Farah Remtulla and Trisha Wilson (PMO) conducted a seminar that discussed ways to effectively implement change wherever it may happen - enterprise, department, office, or even home. Central to the theme was the importance of understanding culture and strategies for overcoming difficulties in changing that culture through the modification of attitudes and behavior. Offered as part of the Project Management Community of Practice (PM-COP), the session focused on the ABCs of ICT (attitude, behavior, and culture within information communication technology).

As background, one of the key focus areas for the PMO smart goals this year centers around applying more formal organizational change management strategies into their projects. The reason for this is that most projects are more about the people impacted by the project than the technology being implemented itself. Changing culture to adopt a new tool or process must be accomplished through buy-in from the people applying the change.

Ultimately, situations such as Google, where the public widely adopted the tool without a process managing the change, is the exception. "Most of the time people must be encouraged to adopt something new. Just saving money for Emory is not enough to inspire tool adoption. We have to get buy-in for a change to be smooth," said Trisha.

Farah and Trisha examined the ADKAR change model (awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement) and chose the ABCs of ICT as their method for leading the seminar. So far, they have focused on two aspects: behavior and culture. Looking at the overarching elements in use everyday, they found that often, the norm is resistance to change.

The seminar focused on ways to increase the acceptance of new services, products or processes implemented by projects in departments. These methods not only apply to project management but also to life. The tool they used to conduct their workshop was the ABC of ICT card set, which is a card game that identifies "worst" practices common to many organizations. Attendees were asked to identify the ones that most described their organization and then the group applied strategies for mitigating those practices. The card game has been developed by Gaming Works, an innovative company which designs, develops and deploys professional business simulations aimed at supporting organizational learning and development.

Culture is a product of values, symbols, heroes and rituals established within organizations over many years. Thus, culture is hard to change and it is easier to focus on identifying and modifying attitudes and behaviors, which can change more rapidly. By defining different types of attitude, behavior and culture and how would we describe Emory's culture, Farah and Trisha demonstrated how individuals shape the culture of an organization.

Three key messages from the session were:

  1. Breaking through the culture of 'just because' by asking 'why' something is very important
  2. While culture is hard to change, you can focus on attitudes and behaviors
  3. Don't let other monkeys keep you from the bananas*

* The Monkey story is an anecdotal tale where monkeys were taught that they would be shocked if they grabbed a banana from a pile. Over time, they quit trying to eat the bananas, even though the bananas were no longer electrified. As they would cycle monkeys through the group, the original monkeys taught the new ones to avoid the bananas as well until finally an entirely new group of monkeys were near the bananas, leaving them alone, and not knowing why. This tale demonstrates that people act the way they always do and often they do not know why.

The sessions on culture change were well-received and Farah and Trisha plan to continue to refine their message. Resistance to change is a constant battle for organizations attempting to develop and evolve. By examining the resistors and analyzing them, an organization can be better prepared to create buy-in for new things.

For more information about the PM-COP sessions or to have the presentation delivered to your department, contact Marisa Benson (PMO) at

OIT Adds Locations to the Fiber Network

A map of the current fiber ring. For more details, contact Perry Eidson.

The OIT Architecture group recently added the Johns Creek and St. Joseph's hospitals, the Perimeter location of The Emory Clinic (875 Johnson Ferry Rd), and the new combined Emory Hospitals Patient Financial Services Team office at 235 Peachtree St (Peachtree Center). This brings the two new hospitals onto the fiber network, offering very high speed data connectivity, upgraded and duplicated links to the Perimeter Clinic and high speed secure connectivity for the PFS team.

When Emory Healthcare began discussions with St. Joseph's about becoming part of the Emory Healthcare umbrella, members of the Architecture team recognized that extending the fiber network to include Johns Creek and the Perimeter clinic might finally be financially feasible with the St. Joseph's acquisition providing the critical mass.

A major drawback to adding Johns Creek to the network has always been the distance and associated costs to reach the facility. By designing a linear addition and adding St. Joseph's and the Perimeter Clinic, Emory was able to take advantage of existing vendor fiber backbones passing by all three facilities. The design called for a fiber pair leaving the Emory Midtown facility, going up to Johns Creek, coming back down to St. Joseph's with a spur over to the Perimeter Clinic, and continuing to the North Decatur Building on the main campus. This route was able to provide the desired redundancy. However, to reach these locations would require a fiber route of 90 miles total with a single hop from Midtown to Johns Creek of 50 miles!

To provide the degree of redundancy required to support these critical locations, each is fed from the core routers at Midtown and NDB. One 10G circuit each leaves Midtown for Johns Creek and St. Joe with the other 10G circuits leaving from NDB. Since the Perimeter clinic does not have the same requirements as a hospital, it is fed by two 1G circuits – one each from Midtown and NDB. Additionally, there is no DWDM equipment at Perimeter. It is fed via dark fiber from St. Joseph's.

The DWDM team of Norman Butler, David Topper and Perry Eidson (all of Infrastructure) felt that with the experience gained from the recently completed main fiber ring equipment refresh, all installation and commissioning could be handled in house. Due to the total cost of the multi-year fiber contract, the University Board of Trustees had to approve the project. When provided with the cost analysis showing a competitive cost with out-sourced comparable circuits, they gave their approval and the team began work. Equipment was installed, fiber connected and circuits turned up to the new data switches installed by the Network Engineering group. Services to the locations were cut-over with no issues.

While this project was underway, Billy Tice (PMO) came to the team with a new requirement for connectivity to a new location slated to house the Patient Financial Teams for all of the hospital entities. 235 Peachtree St was the location chosen. The DWDM team looked at several options and ultimately chose dark fiber from a new provider. The new provider offered a very competitive price and provided a second vendor offering competition for our fiber network.

As the maximum working distance for standard LX interfaces on data equipment is approximately 10K meters, the team felt that dark fiber from the 56 Marietta telecom hotel/interface location would work. Due to requirements for contract signing and a hard deadline for service installation, this project was compressed from both ends. Exacerbating the problem was a construction moratorium in downtown Atlanta from Thanksgiving through January 1.

While waiting for the fiber construction to be completed, the team worked with Engineering to extend 1G circuits from Cox Hall and NDB in a redundant manner to 56 Marietta. Connectivity was completed about 2:30 a.m. on a Friday before the move commencing on Saturday. Joe Johnson (Infrastructure) had everything preconfigured and when the fiber connection was established, the circuits came up with no problems.

The final distance following a somewhat circuitous route through downtown Atlanta was 4.4K meters, well within the specifications. These circuits provide all voice and data connectivity for this location, enabling the PFS teams to serve their customers. Pre-registration and Medical Records are also moving or have been moved to this space. Healthcare management personnel anticipate in excess of 350 people at this location providing consolidated, cost effective patient services.

These two projects provide cost effective, secure and highly available connectivity to very important Emory locations. By using experience gained in installation and configuration of the DWDM gear, the DWDM team was able to meet the time line constraints while controlling vendor costs. The end result is much improved connectivity and satisfied customers.

- Perry Eidson, Communication Architect, Infrastructure

Online Directory Self-Service a Nice Feature

The Online Directory can be edited by you! Just don't change your title to "Master of All I Survey"...unless it's true!

The Online Directory is where we search for Emory people, within both the University and Healthcare. All employees and students are in the directory unless a student has invoked FERPA (family education rights and privacy act). FERPA does not apply to employees.

What most people do not realize is that they can edit their own entry for display in the Online Directory. This self-service option is now available in ENID. Formerly, one had to submit a manual form to IT F&A to change an Online Directory entry. The Identity Management team worked with IT F&A to add this functionality to ENID.

After authenticating to ENID,  you can personalize your directory entry in the following ways:

  1. Select a preferred first and/or middle name (cannot change your legal last name - must be done through HR)
  2. Add an honorific (such as MD, PhD, RN)
  3. Choose a display title
  4. Set your business location (building and suite or room number) - must go to PS Self-Service for changes in home address
  5. Add telephone numbers - work and fax - must do cell in PS self-service (because this tracks emergency info). NOTE: if you are using your cell number as your work number you can put it in here
  6. Adjust your directory presence - as always, you can choose to suppress your directory information from being visible to people outside of Emory

For your Directory title, if you personalize your title and then change jobs, your new title will automatically update any personalizations. This data appears in Online Directory, the GAL (global address list), and in Emory Mobile (already mentioned above).

Please be sure to keep your directory information up to date!

- Anne Marie Alexander, Manager, Integration