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  • MCCCD Reduces Technical Debt Through Project Oversight

    Who is MCCCD?

    Maricopa County Community Colleges District Office, (MCCCD), is a higher education group serving over 10 accredited colleges and more than 220,000 students each year in Maricopa County, Arizona.

    Since 2013, MSS Business Transformation Advisory (MSSBTA) has worked with MCCCD and the Information Technology Services (ITS) division. ITS is responsible for supporting the academic and administrative mission of MCCCD by providing reliable, accessible, and secure enterprise systems and infrastructure.


    Maricopa County Community Colleges District

    10 higher education institutions located throughout Maricopa County

    220,000+ students; 10,000+ employees

    The Challenge

    The District office owns and maintains a complex network of onsite systems that integrate into the core Microsoft Identity Management System (MIM). Back office systems such as ERP applications, Student Information System, Gmail, college domain servers and in-house proprietary applications are all interdependent, and most on servers that are outdated creating significant technical debt. Without these critical identity services, the business would fail. A plan was created that broke down the work into three phases:

    Phase 1: Target systems that were unstable
    Phase 2: Identify servers at end of life and upgrade or replace
    Phase 3: Optimize current assets in future transformative phase

    In each phase the challenge was to identify which servers to upgrade or replace, how to do it without causing any disruptions to any other interconnected system/s, and with an already constrained team.

    How MSSBTA Helped with Technical Debt

    When MSSBTA was engaged to work on this sizeable project, it was affectionately named Project Endor by the site CIO to represent the critical Star Wars “Battle of Endor”, the daunting but winnable battle. MSSBTA worked with the District IT team and leadership to identify and prioritize which systems fell within each phase, and the solution and upgrade paths for each.

    As the project lead, MSSBTA provided Leadership, Governance, and Accountability for all work teams including vendor partners and sub-contractors that were engaged to support very specific uplifts in each phase. In the last phase, work was broken down and organized into four separate work streams with assigned team leads to help expedite what remained.

    In addition to detailed project plans, MSSBTA consultants created and maintained an executive-level roadmap throughout all phases to give leadership visibility into the status of all active, in-flight work.

    Technical Debt Reduced

    As a result of MSSBTA’s project leadership and guidance, MCCCD district office reduced their technical debt, installed systems that are robust, stable, and can integrate with more modern systems throughout the enterprise.

    Maricopa County Community College District now has a healthy backbone and infrastructure that allows them to focus more on optimization efforts instead of firefighting unexpected downtimes. It also allowed them to pivot to unexpected COVID-19 innovations and related process changes.


    Project Management, Prioritization, and Plans

    Executive-level Roadmap