Evaluation of Skillman Foundation

Type: Group Project | Evaluation of Organizational Records Management
Description: The Skillman Foundation (Detroit) is a non-profit organization that is committed to providing grants and other funding opportunities to educational initiatives to youth based in Detroit and surrounding communities. Skillman depends upon a shared hard drive (T-drive) for foundation-wide collaboration, but serious problems exist within its organizational structure. The aim of our project with Skillman was to assess the structural difficulties and make recommendations to help them foster technical operations that are more conducive to collaboration and efficiency. To address the issues associated with the T-drive, our team interviewed seven Skillman employees in both management and non-management positions.

Evidence from interviews exposed a general inefficiency and lack of coherent protocols in the T-drive organization, and a need to upgrade existing information technology. We also determined that folders should be renamed and/or merged to avoid confusion and organized by department to be stored properly, advocated for the creation of naming conventions, and proposed a three-phase plan for policy implementation. Additionally, we recommended an upgrade to the operating system or to introduce a third party software that can help with search and collaboration, all of which should be introduced with a foundation-wide training program.  Three of our seven interviewees explicitly mentioned that quality and in-depth training on the new system would be essential for foundation-wide buy-in.  Training should involve the use of an outside consultant to facilitate the development of a structured policy and training should be done in small, multiple group sessions in order to meet individual employee needs.

Organizational Cultural Model - designed and modeled with interview content drawn from three management-level employees at the Skillman Foundation. This model shows Skillman's communication flow, where the size of each circle correlates with the value/responsibility of each according to the managerial point of view.

Course: SI 501: Contextual Inquiry and Project Management
Date: Fall 2011

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