My director recently asked everyone in the department for their top 10 accomplishments for 2006, as the end of our fiscal year and reviews are approaching. Even though I’m leaving the University of Pittsburgh on June 30, I decided to submit a list anyway.
The list that follows is what I submitted:
- I introduced the idea of having several stand-up meetings each week to share what each team member plans to work on during the next day or two and to talk about any issues that have arisen. This has helped increase the communication between team members and has allowed us to identify where work can be shifted. It has also helped us identify problems with our process and correct them early, saving time and frustration later.
- I created a web team blog so that web team members can share ideas, resources, and solutions to common problems. This has been effective in increasing the communication among team members and has become a reference for useful sites and solutions.
- I identified a top web designer’s blog and asked if he would advertise our web developer positions. He agreed. This yielded zero-cost resume submissions that were more in line with the types of developers we were looking to hire. In fact, an offer is being made to a candidate I brought in this way.
- I became the project manager, a role that is outside the scope of my position, for the Department of Anthropology web site by establishing a strong relationship with the client through a firm understanding of the client’s content and goals. I used this relationship to work through many difficult issues and keep the site moving on track. The resulting site is one of which the web team believes to be one of our most successful.
- I introduced page description diagrams (PDDs) to the information architecture process. PDDs describe the content that will appear on pages of the site and indicate the hierarchy of importance of that information without the assistance of design. This has allowed us to develop better information architecture that aids in design that supports the goals of the content.
- I developed a reusable Flash application that uses an XML file to drive a random photo rotation complete with captions. The XML file can be updated by non-technical staff without going into Flash. This application has been used on many sites, including pitt.edu, the Office of Institutional Advancement, and the Department of Psychology, to name a few. This is just one example of the many reusable applications and scripts that I have developed over the past year to increase our options while keeping development time and costs low.
- I introduced sIFR to our arsenal of techniques for providing unique type faces in a medium where there are only a handful of fonts to choose from, given the limited number of universal fonts available collectively on users’ computers. This allows us to provide more professional solutions and more elegant designs.
- I discovered an open source web calendar in response to several client requests for such a solution. Because it is open source, there was no cost to UMC for the software. This calendar solution has been implemented in the Honors College web site and French and Italian Languages and Literatures.
- I identified Campaign Monitor, an email newsletter service designed for web developers, to send email campaigns due to an increasing demand from UMC client’s for such a solution. The service is very low is cost for us, and yet extremely powerful and professional. We have used the service for the Executive MBA program and plan to use it for a number of other clients in the near future.
- I redeveloped the code of the Department of English web site, as part of a realignment of that web site. The significance of my involvement was that I built the previous site in 2003 as a contractor for UMC, and was able to upgrade the site to the latest in web development standards in 2005, which demonstrates my commitment to improving the quality of services we provide.