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Corralling Institutional Knowledge by Recycling the Workforce Corralling Institutional Knowledge by Recycling the WorkforceOr What I Had to Learn to Stay.

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Presentation on theme: "Corralling Institutional Knowledge by Recycling the Workforce Corralling Institutional Knowledge by Recycling the WorkforceOr What I Had to Learn to Stay."— Presentation transcript:

1 Corralling Institutional Knowledge by Recycling the Workforce Corralling Institutional Knowledge by Recycling the WorkforceOr What I Had to Learn to Stay Employed!!!

2 September 2004  Merger of legacy staff from DHS (including “shadow IT”) and HHSC  Overlapping applications maintained by staff with a hodge podge of tools including Unisys COBOL, Access, Websphere, Oracle, Sybase, and proprietary tools  75% of staff were mainframe programmers  Direction to complete migration off mainframe

3 Mainframe Programming at DHS/HHSC  Staff were knowledgeable about business areas supported  We needed to retain the business knowledge while moving forward  Many staff had expertise limited to one core function – batch, DMS vs. RDMS, screens  Skeptics resisted change because we would “never get off the mainframe”

4 Like a brush fire in the west – only two choices

5 Saddle up and beat the storm… Or stay behind……….

6 Management Concerns  Staff had to make transition to new world  Budget was limited as was time  Overcoming resistance to change  What if some people simply could not convert to new tools Tenured staff with program knowledge that would be lost Tenured staff with program knowledge that would be lost What would happen to these staff What would happen to these staff

7 Retooling – or Rethinking

8 Transforming Staff  Knowledge transfer by staff augmentation contractors and state staff with current skills  Voluntary self improvement/education  Formal classes (St. Edwards)  On-line self paced courses (MindLeaders)  Organized lunch and learns  Informal classes

9 Informal Classes/Knowledge Transfer  Contractor to one or two staff  Very targeted subjects such as relational databases and data modeling  Very targeted work related to current projects – exercise actually project work

10  You give me your lunch hour, I’ll give you one hour of my time  Originally designed for one team, expanded to others Lunch and Learn

11 Meet Michele  Michele works hard for her yearly cruise  Experience on financial and payroll systems replaced by PeopleSoft  Had understanding of the interaction of HHS programs (Medicaid, Finance, etc)

12 Michele’s Observations  “It has been a busy 2 1/2 years, since migrating from the mainframe to open systems”  Mainframe knowledge was routine, repetitive  Open systems is a constant learning experience  The transition to data center services adds complexity to the learning process  Has attended 80 hours of JAVA classes  Appreciates the lack of file size limitations of mainframe programming – had to guess file size and allocate appropriately  Has increased her analytical skills  Has independently coded a JAVA program for a large system and program is in production

13 Meet Jeff  Jeff would rather be riding any day  Experience on batch processing on mainframes back to punch card days  Thought a mouse was what you fed cats and snakes

14 Jeff’s Observations  From first programming job in private sector using punch cards and magnetic tape drives – has 27 years on mainframe  Mainframe used fewer tools – primarily COBOL and ECL/JCL – and lots of file dumps for troubleshooting  Web environment uses multiple tools and objects  Many free tools are available to help the developer  There is more than one way to complete a given task  Team efforts are more effective  The Internet provides so many resources for debugging and learning

15 Meet Lucius  When not programming, Lucius likes to go to car shows  Was a C++ programmer that transitioned to COBOL and back  Experience as a computer operator at a bank

16 Lucius’ Observations  Works on a major system that has always been “a grizzly bear of information and size”  Had spent time programming parts of system in MS-SQL– change of direction to Java  Self-enrolled in night classes in Java  Java “felt” like C++ helping him transition  Was able to compare Java code to mainframe code for testing  Likes getting confirmations when processing completes and text messages from program problems that are detected earlier

17 Sudip ---Nareen--- Niranjan  Sudip likes to Hike and play Indian Classical music  Nareen spends his free time with diapers  Niranjan enjoys table tennis and action movies

18 Examples  Provided day to day knowledge transfer  Helped staff grasp concepts of client server and the various layers  Concepts of multiple users accessing the same data  Avoiding duplication and understanding normalization  One on one database and data modeling concepts  Formal classroom lunch and learn  Formal one–day class in Java Server Faces

19 Outcomes Management Concerns  Staff had to make transition to new world  Budget was limited as was time  Overcoming resistance to change  What if some people simply could not convert to new tools Tenured staff with program knowledge that would be lost Tenured staff with program knowledge that would be lost What would happen to these staff What would happen to these staffReality  One staff member applied and transferred to non- programming job  Several staff have moved to non-coding functions – testing, documentation  Lunch and learn, Mindleaders, self education help stretch dollars  Staff have adapted and management recognizing where skills are more easily transformed


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