Strategic Advocacy in HigherEd

I work for the central IT department of a non-profit higher education institution. HigherEd has a number of unique challenges in itself. For one thing, a good number of our IT projects are internal, which means either a new product (websites, applications, software, etc) or a new service (Identity Management, Printing, Computer Labs, etc). It’s virtually impossible to gauge the success or failure of a new project by simply using monetary metrics. In the corporate world, the first measure of success is usually the return on investment. In other words, is this project profitable? But in HigherEd, there really is no bottom line, therefore gauging success based on profits and losses is nearly impossible. So how else can we determine the success of a project? The next metric for success is usually time and budget. Did the project finish on time and within budget? For those readers who may not be familiar with working at HigherEd, resources are limited, time is relative, and budgets are immutable. So when you have all three forces, headed in opposite directions, required in order to successfully complete a project, chances are, the project will fail.