Telecommuting Is About More Than Just The Technology

We’ve hit the golden age of telework, with myriad options to work remotely from a broadband-connected home, a hotel, or a cafe on a mobile device. The explosion of cloud and mobile technologies makes our actual location the least important aspect of connecting with our applications and data. And there are more and more reasons to support working remotely. Per Reuters, the state of commuting is a “virtual horror show”, with the average commute costing the working poor six percent of their income. It’s three percent for more wealthy Americans. And long commutes have negative impacts on health and stress levels. Add to this the… Read More »Telecommuting Is About More Than Just The Technology

Why I Hate Help Desk Metrics

Photo: birgerking Tech support, as many of you know, can be a grueling job.  There are a huge variety of problems, from frozen screens to document formatting issues to malware infestations to video display madness.  There are days when you are swamped with tickets.  And there are customers that continually broaden the scale from tech-averse to think-they-know-it-all. I’ve done tech support and I’ve managed tech support for most of my career, and providing good support isn’t the biggest challenge.  Rather, it’s keeping the tech support staff from going over the edge. In our nptech circles, it would be natural to assume that having good metrics… Read More »Why I Hate Help Desk Metrics

Working With Proposal Requests Collaboratively

Okay, I know that it’s a problem worthy of psychoanalysis that I’m so fascinated with the Request for Proposal (RFP) process. But, hey, I do a lot of them. And they do say to write about what you know. The presentation that I gave at NTEN’s conference in March focused on the process of developing and managing RFPs. I made the case that you want to approach a vendor RFP very differently than you would a software/system RFP. I pushed for less fixed bid proposals, because, in many cases, asking for a fixed bid is simply asking for a promise that will be hard to… Read More »Working With Proposal Requests Collaboratively

Debating Proper Project Management Discipline

I just had a fun, spirited debate on Twitter about the definition of a project. It started when a friend of mine tweeted this: #ProjectManagement for Beginners (re: #1, remember that project has a fixed duration) 5 min video @projecttipshttp://t.co/jVKHP8UXdH — Norman Reiss (@nonprofitbridge) April 24, 2014 Now, my team at Legal Services Corporation recently finished a project (at least, that’s what I call it) to redesign the Find Legal Aid lookup on our website.  I blogged about that effort, which was kickstarted by the DC Legal Hackers, on LSC’s tech blog.  A few things about this: There was no deadline. It was something that… Read More »Debating Proper Project Management Discipline

Three Ways To Make Sure that Your Next Big Software Project Is A Success

This post also appeared on the Cloud for Good Blog in April of 2014. Buying a new fundraising CRM or replacing your finance and HR systems are big investments with critical outcomes. These are the types of projects can have a huge impact on your ability to accomplish your mission. Poorly planned, chosen and deployed, they will do the opposite. If you’re grasping for a cautionary tale, just look at the recent Healthcare.gov rollout, or the worse related stories in Maryland and Oregon. But successful implementations happen every day as well, they just don’t grab as many headlines. How can you make sure that big software… Read More »Three Ways To Make Sure that Your Next Big Software Project Is A Success

NTC Summary 2014 Edition

I’m back from the 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference.  This one had some real high points for me, and a few things that made me a little sad, but I think I might have learned more than I do most years and I had a simply great time with old and new friends. Here’s a  summary of highs, lows, and links: This was my longest conference (of the nine I’ve attended): I met up for breakfast with some good friends at 8:00 am  on Wednesday, and I was one of the last people at the hotel at 6:00 pm on Saturday. The IT Leader’s Roundtable that… Read More »NTC Summary 2014 Edition

Career Reflections: My Biggest Data Fail

This article was published on the NTEN Blog in February of 2014.  It originally appeared in the eBook “Collected Voices: Data-informed Nonprofits“. Peter Campbell of Legal Services Corporation shares his biggest data fail, and what he’d do differently now. This case study was originally published along with a dozen others in our free e-book, Collected Voices: Data-Informed Nonprofits. You can download the e-book here. Note: names and dates have been omitted to protect the innocent.  Years ago, I was hired at an organization that had a major database that everyone hated. My research revealed a case study in itself: how not to roll out a… Read More »Career Reflections: My Biggest Data Fail

Where I’ll Be At The 2014 NTC

NTEN‘s annual, awesome Nonprofit Technology Conference is (obviously) my favorite annual event.  No failure on the part of other cool annual events, like LSC‘s Technology Innovation Grants conference, Halloween and my birthday; they’re great events as well, but they don’t have over 2000 attendees; four days of jam-packed networking, collaboration and education; and the inspired antics of Steve Heye. If you read this blog regularly, there’s a good possibly that you’re already booked for the event, and I look forward to seeing you there. Here’s where you’ll be able to find me: Wednesday, 3/12: From 1:00 to 4:00 I’ll be leading the IT Leaders Roundtable… Read More »Where I’ll Be At The 2014 NTC

Notes From Here And There

Long time no blog, but I have good excuses.  Moving cross-country, even with a modest family of three, is no picnic, and we are now, over 13 months since I was offered the job in DC, starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Since summer, I’ve been frantically house hunting and, since December, busy relocating (for the third time) to our new, tree-laden home in Reston. This, however, doesn’t mean that I haven’t been writing or totally neglecting my nptech duties. So here are some things to look forward to: #ntcbeer. First and foremost. The annual Nonproft Technology Conference runs here… Read More »Notes From Here And There

How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The RFP

This article was originally posted on the NTEN Blog in January of 2014. Requests for Proposals (RFPs) seem like they belong in the world of bureaucratic paperwork instead of a lean, tech-savvy nonprofit. There’s a lot that can be said for an RFP when both sides understand how useful a tool an RFP can be – even to tech-savvy nonprofits. By Peter Campbell CIO, Legal Services Corporation Here’s a safe bet: preparing and/or receiving Requests for Proposals (RFPs) is not exactly your favorite thing. Too many RFPs seem like the type of anachronistic, bureaucratic paperwork more worthy of the company in Office Space than a lean, tech-savvy nonprofit. So… Read More »How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The RFP