Transforming the Way New Mexico Manages and Uses Education Data
UPD spent a year helping the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) Information Technology Division (ITD) design and implement a vision for organizational transformation that would realign its people, processes, and systems to deliver greater value to the students, communities, and stakeholders they serve.
As interest in education data and technology systems expanded within the agency, the NMPED ITD grew in size and complexity. However, the organizational structure needed to support this growth was built ad hoc, and project management procedures were inconsistently executed across teams and projects. As new work came in, ownership of that work was determined by staff availability, and not necessarily by what made most strategic sense for the successful execution of assignments. Further, the use of a singular staff member on multiple projects (instead of teams) meant a lack of cross-functional knowledge transfer within the organization, making regular staff turnover a significant risk to ongoing work. Lastly, NMPED staff in general were not coordinated effectively to scope and prioritize the application development and data requests inundating the ITD.
UPD started its work by completing a comprehensive organizational assessment and data diagnostic, looking at NMPED ITD’s people, processes, and systems. The assessment laid the foundation for dozens of improvements, most notably the following:
- Aligned the ITD Office for Optimal Performance
- Implemented a new Project Management Office
- Formed NMPED-wide Data Governance Committee
- Articulated a Strategic Direction for ITD
- Initiated New Ways of Sharing Real-Time Data at NMPED
UPD’s organizational transformation work effectively retained all staff positions and optimized their capacity to support improvements within NMPED ITD. In partnership with the client, a robust group of stakeholders were engaged to vet the solutions in order to ensure a sense of staff ownership before the project’s completion. Collectively, UPD and the client developed action plans for each strategic goal and provided week-by-week task and accountability details needed for successful implementation. The Project Management Office was established and the data from the project tracking tools are already being used to optimize workloads. In its first seven months, the new Data Governance Committee completed a charter and successfully mapped a new, consistent, and clear set of internal and external data request processes across the agency. Additionally, and as an extension of the organizational transformation, UPD created “use cases” and gathered requirements for a number of user interfaces supported by the agency’s new operational data store. The team also supported the NMPED policy office to create agency-wide performance metrics and a one-stop reporting interface to access real-time metric values in the interim few years while the operational data store is built.