26th March 2014

London 2012 IT story told at #ucisa14

<p>Sun is shining in Brighton on the first day of UCISA 2014. This is my first conference of the year and I would say it has started with a bang.</p><p>The first speaker of the day was Gerry Pennell, Director of IT at the University of Manchester. Gerry is a newcomer into the higher education sector having only been in his position for 9 months; he was previously the CIO for London 2012, for which he was awarded the OBE in the New Year Honours List 2013!</p><p>He opened his talk with an inspiring video looking back and reliving the highs and lows of the Olympic games. He began with discussing how the job of bringing the London 2012 IT together differs from any other IT project, “You only have one shot with this” he said. “You have to get it right on the day and you have to deliver it on time”.</p><p>One of Gerry’s main ideals was having a team around him that are motivated; he has found that this is more powerful than having a team that is just focused on bonuses and commission. “The team need to have a common goal in delivering a quality project together and on time”, and they were also unable to implement a standard methodology for the project as the IT team that he brought together were from different sectors including sports and banking.</p><p>Because of his time working and delivering the Olympics, Gerry is now a firm convert to fixed deadlines. Working closely with suppliers and having good communication was paramount for his team. He believes, “If all of your team can get hooked on a deadline, it’s very powerful”. His challenge now is to get his new team at University of Manchester into the same frame of mind.</p><p>Gerry mentioned one of the main challenges that he and his team faced at the Olympics this time around was the introduction of smart phones and social media. In 2008 after the Beijing Olympics they had no idea what platforms would be available, so this was one part of the project that had to be held off for as long as possible until the market was clearer. They even had to leave the development for the apps until late in 2011.</p><p>Gerry concluded “there were challenges along the way delivering the IT for the games and there will be new challenges ahead at Manchester but my feeling is, if you can’t take a joke then don’t work in IT!”</p><p>So all in all it was a great way to start the conference sessions today, an inspiring and interesting presentation which you could take away and use in your own area of work. Maybe most of our projects are not as large or have such a strict deadline as the London 2012 Olympics, but maybe we could all do with looking at our projects with a new pair of eyes.</p><p>If you attending UCISA 2014 is week in Brighton , then visit the exhibition hall, grab a cup of coffee and have a chat to Jamie and Rob on the LapSafe® stand 36 and take a look of one of our newest, exciting and in demand products, the Diplomat™ LMS self-service tablet/laptop loan lockers..</p>

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