Talking about projects: UB’s strategic portfolio management

Students participate in 100 level chemistry labs in the Natural Sciences Complex in October 2020. Students demonstrate proper use of face coverings and other PPE while working in a research lab, in keeping with current guidelines.

A recently completed UBIT project involved preparing UB's classrooms for hybrid and remote learning by outfitting them with new conferencing and course lecture technology.

Published November 23, 2020

UBIT is committed to advancing the university’s mission by working with our campus partners to do the right technology projects, the right way, and in the right order. The first step is a conversation.

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Since joining UB in October 2019, I’ve been working with the newly formed Strategic Portfolio Management team to spark that conversation and to shine a spotlight of visibility on the projects that make up the UBIT Portfolio. And I encourage you to keep up with that conversation: visit our Top Projects page on the UBIT website to see our prioritized portfolio of top IT projects.  

We derive the value of our work from our process that ensures fair and equitable prioritization and resource allocation. Through a standard intake and project scoping process, all projects are assessed for strategic fit and alignment with the university’s strategic top goals. But, of course, these processes are easier said than done.

UB is inspiring in the diversity of its research and community. How can we honor that diversity by making sure we’re best serving everyone and meeting the strategic future needs of our students, faculty and staff?  

First of all, we listen. We involve people from our various Vice President/Vice Provost sponsor areas and meet with them monthly to determine which projects need to be elevated in importance. Most often, these projects are the ones with greatest impact, the ones that meet an emerging critical need, or the ones with the greatest visibility and reach across campus.

Without facilitating these critical conversations, it’s easy to imagine someone in one group building a great new technology tool on their own, only for someone in another group to find out about it six months later and say, “Hey! We could have used something like that too.” We want to encourage collaboration and limit duplication.  

As our process matures and evolves, we want to take these conversations to the next level. Critical to the success of a university as large and diverse as ours, particularly as it navigates uncertain times, is capacity planning—how big is our bucket of resources? How do we gauge when it’s full or overfull? Tough conversations like these aren’t easy—but they’re absolutely necessary.

We’ll continue with your help to build a nimble process that meets these goals and better serves the needs of our community. If you’re involved with IT project planning and management for your unit, I encourage you to review our intake process and learn more about what we do at buffalo.edu/ubit/projectintake.  

Done right, the work we’re doing won’t just add value to the university—it will break down barriers and shine a spotlight on what matters most to all of us at UB.

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