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We must not forget development...

Without a doubt, our core task in the administration is day-to-day operations. It’s essential that we perform this work with a high degree of professionalism and reliability to ensure that the departments, schools and centres continue to run smoothly – for the good of the university’s researchers, students and not least the administration itself.

2018.09.27 | Arnold Boon

 

But if we focus exclusively on operations and neglect their development, we risk missing an important train that we’ll have to run really fast to catch up with later. We must develop our operations while we also perform our concrete daily operational tasks. Ideally. I know that this can be a challenge, because our daily tasks are often more urgent, filling the working day completely.

So how can we find the time and resources to continually develop our operations? As I see it, one obvious place to start is by ensuring that the development projects we launch have realistic goals. And what’s more, perhaps even limited to a few very simple goals.

In some cases, it can also help to set a shorter timeframe for the project. What are we going to achieve within the next three months? What visible results can we manage to achieve?

Not all development projects need to be large, comprehensive transformations. Their extent can vary, or they can be divided into smaller subprojects. In this sense, development projects are about the art of setting limits. And limits can also contribute to ensuring success. At times I’ve seen projects whose goals were too broadly defined and which lacked a definite timeframe, which has made them difficult to carry out.

In this connect, project management is a crucial keyword – and if your unit lacks the necessary competencies in this area in relation to a specific project, it’s important that both employees and managers develop them.

Another concrete tool which can contribute to better projects could be shared project rooms: dedicated workspaces shared by different units across the administrative areas and centres. Such rooms could provide a space for ongoing dialogue and for working on concrete projects intensely in certain periods.

Finally, I believe that an important aspect of giving development a higher priority is daring to drop certain tasks. We’re good at adding new tasks, but are we good enough at removing tasks? What determines whether we continue to perform a certain task must not be routine or tradition, but rather its value.

In this connection – as always – regular dialogue between management and employees is important. I would like to encourage all employees to review your portfolio of tasks once in awhile, and if there are tasks which can be done more simply or even dropped completely, to draw your manager’s attention to this. Or if you have other good suggestions on how we can create more time to develop our administrative services.

Performing our daily work professionally contributes to our job satisfaction. So do development tasks. So it’s not just important for the university that we reach a sensible balance between operations and development. I’m strongly convinced that it’s also important for you as employees. 

Fællesadministration
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